Landowners urged to show strength when National Grid pile on pressure

Matthew Fletcher, 3rd May, 2018

Leading specialist, Matthew Fletcher, has revealed that landowners/developers/farmers ‘still don’t know their own strength’ when it comes to National Grid pylon damage and disturbance - years after a ‘groundbreaking’ test case

In 2013, Gosschalks were instructed to seek compensation for Arnold White Estates from the National Grid after an overhead line prevented the building of a housing development on a plot in Bedfordshire. An expert valuer acting for the National Grid had valued Arnold White’s loss at just £250,000 but the actual damages secured was £5,829,477, establishing an important point of legal principle.

The landmark case was handled by Matthew, Partner and Head of Commercial & Construction Litigation at Gosschalks. Five years on, he still believes that many landowners could be better represented:

“This was a case that was described as a ‘game-changer’, and it certainly has been on a number of occasions since. However, I still feel there are many other landowners punching below their weight - or not even punching at all!

“Typically, when National Grid apparatus, such as pylons, directly cross private property, landowners are entitled to one-off or annual compensation payments in exchange for land use and access for maintenance.

“In my experience, compensation should often be much higher than the current amounts being issued - certainly for permanent rights. Electricity distributors often ‘capitalise’ annual payments, meaning landowners receive a one-off payment that is often a lot less than they should be getting.”

Matthew believes this method fails to explore the impact pylon apparatus has upon assets such as dwellings, leisure facilities, minerals and land with development potential. He continues:

“Landowners need to start looking at compensation claims for much wider issues including damage and disturbance, crop loss, land potential and reinstatement. Only then can you really decide whether the offer on the table is truly reflective of the loss in value. This is so important, as once a permanent right is handed over, there is no turning back.”

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