Farmers who have telephone wires running over their land will get additional payments backdated to 2004 after a deal secured by the NFU and the Country Land and Business Association.

The agreement with Energis, now owned by Cable & Wireless, will see farmers get an extra three pence for every metre of fibre optic cable they have across their fields from 2005.

The five-year deal will increase by one pence per year until 2009 when the rate will be 39.5p per metre.

Robert Sheasby, NFU rural surveyor, said the agreement would ensure a fair value is paid to farmers for rights over their land.

Oliver Harwood, CLA chief surveyor, said: “Most of the Energis network is carried on overhead electricity apparatus, and the new rates will be paid in addition to existing electricity wayleave payments where optic fibres are attached and are in use for commercial purposes.”