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What are Land Rights, also known as Wayleaves?

Our friends over at Northern Powergrid put us together a blog to help you understand Land rights, also known as wayleaves, and why they’re not actually the end of the world.

Northern Powergrid are the people who manage the electricity network that powers everyday life for more than 8 million people across 3.9 million homes and businesses in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.

Put simply, we make sure the electricity you buy from your chosen energy supplier gets to you safely, whenever you need it.

Land Rights, or Wayleaves as it is sometimes referred to, involves a process for securing the consents and permissions from third-party land owners, where a customers proposed connection crosses land in someone else’s ownership.

Why are Land Rights important and can they be disruptive?

If the new connection you’re applying for will result in your distribution network operator (DNO) having to cross someone else’s land in any capacity, Northern Powergrid, or the DNO for that area, will need to get the consent of that landowner before they can lay any cables and connect the supply. These Land Rights can be difficult to acquire in a timely manner as they can be hampered by the pace at which the property owner wishes to respond.

Another factor which will need consideration is the need to agree a reasonable compensation settlement with the landowner. This sum is usually contained within quotation which is provided to the customer at the start of the application process. However, if the land owner requires an excessive settlement, this may be referred back to the customer.

If the landowner demands a high sum, this can lead to extensive delays and increase the costs to the customer applying for the new connection. In circumstances like this the customer may need to come to a private arrangement direct with the land owner, or request for another route which avoids the problematic area of land.

Are there ways around having to deal with landowners directly?

Northern Powergrid and other DNOs do have statutory rights to acquire consents, but the process currently takes up to two years to complete and can cost in excess of £40,000. This process is also uncertain as the Inspector from Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) who listens to the case is not mandatorily obliged to grant the consent needed.

What is the solution?

Whilst the industry continues to lobby the government to review the current process, customers applying for new connections are still being held up by instances like this. However, Northern Powergrid has a very high success rate at securing consents, in most cases by speaking to landowners directly and coming to a mutually agreeable settlement to allow the connections to be made. The vast majority of Land Rights are acquired within 160 days of a job being raised and only a very few need to be cancelled or re-designed. The best thing to do when you become aware that a third-party consent is required, is to open up a positive discussion and dialogue with them to smooth the delivery of the consent.

 Find out more about connections and who delivers your electricity Home Page | Northern Powergrid.

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