Blog: Do you know what infrastructure runs across your land?

Midlands Rural Surveyor John Greenshields takes a look at infrastructure and how it can affect what you do with your land

As we all hunker down for winter, many will be reassessing the year that has been. A year which has seen rural business hit hard from many angles. However two major shocks this year have been energy prices, and weather. As we seem to have either been in drought conditions or subject to wet and windy weather. As such members have been taking steps to build their resilience and we encourage members to do so.

As energy prices have greatly inflated members are looking at renewables. On the weather front, movement has been slower but we recommend that steps are taken to improve water storage capacity, primarily through the use of on-farm reservoirs. Both of these ventures will include members who will be involved in the process and may even dig the trenches.

You should always ensure you know what other infrastructure may be in the ground and to be cautious when undertaking ground works. So it may be a timely opportunity to refresh what existing infrastructure there is around the land you work before embarking on improvements. As no one wants to get caught out while installing new infrastructure. But it goes further, as it includes routine jobs such as spring in the new year. You do not want to hit underground cables, or worse gas pipelines.

So members can search LinesearchbeforeUdig or contact your local service providers to see if you can get maps of their respective utilities.

It may be of use, to know what causes the most incidents so that we can avoid making the same mistakes. Although it is worth being mindful that the hazards for CLA members may vary from those in an urban environment. With the resultant difference in figures being reflected below, such as the presence of jackhammers and the number of footpath (inc. pavement) incidents.

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Incidents by equipment used
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Incidents by location

But it is always worth remembering that we must not forget to look up to the sky. Hopefully, this is before coming across overhead lines rather than as an afterthought. As it can become easy to fall into complacency when moving around your own patch. But never allow yourself to ignore risks if you are travelling with extendable arms, spouts or are in new equipment which is taller than before. However irrespective of these, one should never assume that overhead lines don’t sag or become detached.

It is always important to be vigilant, as you don’t want to hit even a BT Openreach wire and have to deal with the outcome and no connection. At worse they are electric wires, potentially high Voltage wires. We recommend that members familiarise themselves with the below links.

Third party guidance for working near National Grid Electricity Transmission Equipment

Key contact:

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John Greenshields Rural Surveyor, CLA Midlands