24 June 1998
Compulsory purchase rules up for review

By Catherine Hughes
THE GOVERNMENTS advisory panel looking into the contentious issue of compulsory purchase will meet for the first time next month to try and simplify the current system.

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) said there is plenty of evidence to show that the current system is not working, so by pulling all interested parties together, small changes within the current legislation can be made to make the whole process easier.

It hopes to come up with a code of practice by December. The move follows the blight review report at Christmas regarding the channel tunnel rail link where it was realised that compulsory purchase covered a range of issues, claimed the spokesman.

NFU President Ben Gill is delighted that the government has decided to review a system which affects farmers where land is needed for schemes such as roads, rail lines and communications networks.

“The current system is considered both archaic and unfair,” he said. He also welcomes NFU member Michael Seals appointment to the panel who farms in Derbyshire, and co-chairs the Property Industry Group, pioneered by the NFU and the CLA.

“He has played a key role in putting across the need for a review of compulsory purchase procedures,” he said.

“We see Michaels appointment as a way of further ensuring the concerns of NFU members are well represented and the momentum for change which has been signalled by the minister is maintained,” he said.

Mr Seals said there are currently 43 different acts covering compulsory purchase which date back 150 years.

“The aim of the panel is hopefully to get a complete reform and create one single all embracing scheme,” he said.