Telecoms consultation proposes changes for landowners

Landowners who have telecoms equipment on their land, or who could have in the future, should act now to avoid losing valuable income and control over development.

A consultation on the Electronic Communications Code proposes broad-reaching changes to telecoms operators’ rights. Some recommendations were in landowners’ favour, but others were potentially detrimental to the value and control of their land, said Kary Withers from solicitor Clarke Willmott.

For example, the consultation proposes that payments for telecoms sites be based on the principles set out in section five of the Land Compensation Act 1961.

This would assume a “no scheme world” and disregard the importance of a site to the national network.

“This could potentially devalue existing sites and provide nominal rents for future sites,” said Mrs Withers.

“Further, it is proposed that all telecoms operators should have a statutory right to upgrade, share and assign their telecoms rights regardless of the terms within a lease, which would mean landowners have far less control over their property and unlimited equipment could be placed on a site at no additional rent.”

In landowners’ favour were proposals to make it easier for them to require apparatus to be removed, and clarification of their rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act, she added.

Landowners should submit their responses to the consultation by the end of September.

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