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The question of whether owners of land can claim compensation where high voltage power lines cross their land seems to be something that is being asked more and more, especially in the current climate where money is tight and alternative sources may be available.

Electricity network operators have compensated owners in the past where permanent high voltage power lines / poles / pylons run over, through or under their land.  The relevant pole / pylon has to be on the property itself, or the wires must run directly over, through or under it so as to (in the case of overhead lines) at least “swing” and “sag” over it, and not just be near the property, to be entitled to compensation.  It is a one-off payment, so if compensation has been paid before it can’t be paid again.  The claimant just needs to contact the relevant electricity network operator (not the electricity company) to find this out.  There could also be something buried in historic wayleaves or other deeds to document compensation, so you should get in touch with us to find out if this is the case.

To make a claim a claimant can either: contact the electricity network operator directly; instruct a specialist claims company (and commission will be payable here); or employ a chartered surveyor (with a fee paid upfront).  Compensation is based on how much the lines / poles / pylons devalue the property, and so is negotiable and will always require chartered surveyor input if a claimant wants to argue the case.  There is no fixed compensation scale, although the baseline seems to be 1.5% of property value.  It could be higher or lower though, depending on a subjective assessment of the lines / poles / pylons and their impact on the property.  It can also take up to 18 months for compensation to be agreed and paid, although again the norm seems to be about 6 months.

This is fine if a claimant is looking to keep hold of a property and make a claim during this time.  But what happens if a claimant is looking to sell their property, and fast?  In this instance, a claimant as seller would have to disclose any claim to a buyer which would then put the buyer on notice, although any buyer will surely see from inspection.  And of course, we have no idea how long any claim will take / whether it will be successful / the amount of any compensation.  A claim is unlikely to be wrapped up quickly and so the claimant may be timed out of a claim as they will have sold by then, with any benefit of any claim ultimately passing to the buyer unless the parties can agree for the benefit of the claim to remain with the seller or shared, which would seem unlikely.  This makes things difficult as it might be something a buyer will be interested in because they could get some money out of it, but at the same time a seller will not want to highlight the cables as this may mean a buyer starts focussing on price a bit more.

Contact Mark Sabey  msabey@gilsongray.co.uk to discuss.

The information and opinions contained in this article are for information only. They are not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon or considered as a replacement for advice. Before acting on any of the information contained in this blog, please seek specific advice from Gilson Gray.

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