Fibre-optic cables have been a key component in the roll out of reliable broadband to expanding areas of the UK. Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of the Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is promising to deliver superfast broadband and local full fibre networks to the nation.

Philip Hodgkin MRICS FAAV, an Associate at Greenslade Taylor Hunt, says, code operators have been writing to landowners seeking their signatures on written consent forms that allow them to install and thereafter maintain and repair network communication equipment on privately owned land.

Typically the letters make no mention of recompense to the landowner and have threatened the use of compulsory powers through the Electronic Communications Code.  The letters fail to state that landowners are not legally bound or obliged to sign the paperwork.

There should be a payment due to the landowner for agreeing a Wayleave, often paid annually but this does vary.  Greenslade Taylor Hunt have been in communications with code operators seeking reasonable recompense on behalf of their clients who are entitled to compensation.

If financial payment is not your priority, landowners can negotiate other variables, such as the route that the cable is laid or connections being made available to the property that it passes through. Landowners will also require sufficient reinstatement clauses and other site specific matters to be addressed as well as reasonable professional fees to be paid by the code operators.

Whatever your priorities are, it is important that you know what you are signing up to and it can be invaluable to have an agent represent and negotiate your position to produce consistent terms for all affected landowners in the area.

Greenslade Taylor Hunt recommend that landowners carefully consider any requests of this nature that appear through the letterbox and would urge them to seek professional advice – of which reasonable costs incurred should be reimbursed by the code operators.

For more information, advice or to book an appointment please call Philip Hodgkin MIRCS FAAV at the Chard office on 01460 238383, Graeme Biffen MIRCS FAAV in Tiverton on 01884 243000 or Robert Stone MIRCS FAAV  at Burnham-on-Sea on 01278 765588.