Sponsored: Wayleave Agreements

Lucy Back, Director at Sworders, says there are a number of factors to consider before entering into wayleave agreements
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We are regularly being contacted by National Grid and Broadband providers including Airband and Truespeed to request access to clients’ land. This can be to upgrade existing equipment or to install new equipment to boost the current network.

The utility companies will often initiate contact by providing their standard agreement for such purposes, encouraging landowners to sign up immediately without further negotiation. However, there are a number of factors to consider before entering such an agreement.

Areas for negotiation include whether the equipment is overhead or underground and where the poles, stays and cables are actually positioned to minimise disruption. Whilst the utility company will have mapped the most straightforward (and cheapest) route for them, it is often possible to work with them to alter this to a route more suited to a landowners’ needs, whether due to cropping, access or simply the visual aspect.

In addition, particularly for broadband, it can be an option to have further properties connected which were not initially included, potentially adding to the value of those properties, particularly for letting, which can be advantageous for landowners. The wayleave payments would not be made for equipment serving those properties if in the same ownership but the installation will often be free of charge.

The timing of the work can also be discussed in order to try to cause the least damage – the utility company will be keen to limit the compensation payable for crop loss and time incurred in dealing with it.

Similarly on payments, there are nationally agreed standard rates for poles, stays, junction boxes and underground cables etc but these are not always immediately offered so it is important to check the landowner is being offered the best deal and negotiating if not. Agent’s fees will also usually be paid by the utility company so it is worth taking professional advice on this matter to ensure the best position all round is being agreed.

For more information contact Lucy Back at Sworders.

If you have any queries and would like advice from our Rural Advisors, please call the CLA South West office on 01249 700200.