North East farmers losing out on pylon damage compensation

A study suggests the usual method for weighing up one-time only payments from electricity distributors does not consider all relevant factors

Robert Moore, Rural Practice Surveyor at George F. White
Robert Moore, Rural Practice Surveyor at George F. White

New research by land and property specialists George F. White has revealed that landowners could be owed thousands in pylon damage and disturbance compensation.

The majority of electricity pylons are in place under a temporary right - known as a wayleave agreement - between the landowner and the electricity distributor.

The landowner receives an annual payment, which is deemed to reflect the detrimental impact on agricultural activities that pylons create.

However, distributors may alternatively offer one-time-only payments to obtain permanent rights to keep pylons on the land, which many landowners may accept without realising how much extra compensation they are entitled to.

Robert Moore, a rural practice surveyor at George F. White, said: “Our research shows that, overall, the compensation amount payable should be much higher than the current amounts being issued for permanent rights.

“Electricity distributors often capitalise annual wayleave payments, meaning landowners receive a one-off imbursement that, as our research has revealed, is a lot less than what they should be getting.”

The research focused on a four mile stretch of pylons around a town in the North East, assessing seven registered land titles.

George F. White looked at how the land title as a whole was affected and, through understanding how the legislation works in practice, calculated compensation payments for the loss in value of the land, producing a figure considerably higher than what would be produced from capitalising annual payments alone.

The business claims the capitalisation method - which looks at rental income combined with risk-based factors - fails to explore the impact pylon apparatus has upon assets such as dwellings, leisure facilities, minerals and land with development potential.

In the case one land title - featuring arable land, residential and commercial property - for example, the capitalisation approach would produce a figure of £15,697.

When the diminution of value in property assets was considered, the potential compensation payment amounted to more than £230,000.

Mr Moore said: “There is nothing within the legislation that states capitalising annual wayleave payments is the set way to assess compensation.

“By doing so, the landowner fails to benefit from being compensated for the actual loss in capital value and that includes failing to address the impact of pylons on residential and commercial property as well as development opportunities.

“In simple terms, if there are two identical houses - one with a pylon in the garden and the other without - the one with the pylon is clearly going to be worth less. It is this loss in value which needs assessing.

“We urge landowners who are considering granting permanent rights to electricity distributors to consider very carefully whether the offer on the table is truly reflective of the loss in value to the property as once a permanent right is handed over and a compensation amount agreed, it’s too late to look back.”

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