Necessary Wayleaves- leave to reform?

The Necessary Wayleave regime for new power lines has been through a period of consultation and the amended provisions came into force on 1 October 2013. We summarise the material changes the landowner or statutory undertaker should be aware of.

The necessary wayleave regime is a procedure under the Electricity Act 1989 allowing a statutory undertaker to apply to the Secretary of State for a wayleave where there is a proposed new power line, or a landowner has served notice on the statutory undertaker to remove an existing power line.

Following a short consultation period, two new sets of modernised rules have been introduced - The Electricity (Necessary Wayleaves and Felling and Lopping of Trees) (Hearing Procedures) (England and Wales) Rules 2013 and The Electricity (Necessary Wayleaves and Felling and Lopping of Trees) (Charges) (England and Wales) Regulations 2013. The new provisions came into force on 1 October 2013 and the main amendments are as follows: 

  • An application fee of £34 is payable per wayleave. 
  • The Planning Inspectorate will now have scope to carry out wayleave orders on behalf of the Secretary of State. A daily rate is payable by the statutory undertakers for the Planning Inspector’s services and travel and subsistence costs are also payable. 
  • The default period of 15 years for validity of a necessary wayleave remains although, if requested, longer or shorter periods can be considered.

A voluntary code of practice on wayleave negotiations was considered as part of the consultation but, due to potential problems with drafting, monitoring and enforcing the code, this has not been included in the 1 October amendments, although the position will be kept under review.

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