New campaign addresses rights of farmers eroded by telecom companies

New campaign addresses rights of farmers eroded by telecom companies

Following the enactment of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the ‘new’ Electronic Communications Code came into force on 28 December 2017. The revised Code was introduced to provide a range of measures said to make it easier to allow network operators to roll-out infrastructure on both public and private land. 

Since that time, we have experienced a trend of operators being opportunistic, relying less on what two parties may reasonably agree for lease terms, and relying more on forcing agreement on landowners.

There are even examples of operators who have allowed farmers to help them achieve planning permission, having initially promised open market terms only then to withdraw their offers upon grant of planning permission and reducing the rental offerings (in some instances) by over 95%.

This is not what the Code had intended and paradoxically will only serve to slow mobile coverage down if this type of behaviour goes unchallenged.

It is widely known that Telecom operators sell their portfolios. Significant increases in profits are achieved by operators relying on Code powers to reduce the rent that they pay farmers for their sites. This profit is achieved at the cost of the landowner.

Protect & Connect  are campaigning for a fair deal for the people and companies whose land is used by telecom companies whilst promoting the desire to see both sides working together to speed up the rollout of 5G across the UK. Protect & Connect calls on UK government to revisit broken legislation and scrap new proposals to grant telecoms companies even greater powers.

The Protect & Connect campaign is chaired by former MP Anna Turley, backed by APWireless, the largest UK owner of properties underlying mobile network cell sites – which include mobile phone masts and antennas located on rooftops.

Baileys and Partners have been working with APWireless on both this campaign and on other site-specific negotiations in order to both safeguard our client interests and speed up the roll out of high-speed digital networks in Wales. 

How we can help 

  • Professional Advice and Representation – Landowners being approached by site operators should seek professional advice immediately. Reasonable legal and professional fees are normally covered by the telecom operators therefore our service need not necessarily come at the landowners cost.
  • Negotiating the best outcome for our clients – We are experienced in representing our client’s needs and ensuring that the best possible outcome is achieved when negotiating Heads of Terms.
  • Take time to understand the implications – We will ensure that you have the information advice and full support required to make an informative decision.
  • Farm management advice – We can provide advice on wider farm management relating to the telecommunication premises, such as such as advising on Basic Payment Scheme, potential tax implications and preparing damage and compensation claims. 

Please get in touch to see how we can help

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