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SJP Law Solicitors in Hull and East Yorkshire

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Do you have land affected by offshore wind farm cables or pipelines - for example the Hornsea Project Four or other projects?

Do you have land affected by offshore wind farm cables or pipelines - for example the Hornsea Project Four or other projects?

Since 1852 SJP Law has acted for landowners. During this time we have advised landowners on many infrastructure projects, from gas caverns and pipelines to electricity cables and power plants, from wind farms to carbon capture projects.

In the last decade, due to our location and the demand for renewable energy we have been involved with many of the offshore wind farm projects off the Yorkshire Coast and further afield.

It is very difficult for landowners to know what best to do when faced with the prospect of their land being dug up for a cable or pipeline to be installed. In addition, with larger infrastructure projects, having a compulsory purchase notice served on you is a daunting experience for anyone.

Currently, Hornsea Project Four is an offshore wind farm project going through the pre-application phase for a Development Consent Order (DCO). If obtained, the DCO then allows the development to proceed. While the offshore wind farm would be located approximately 65km off the Yorkshire Coast, it will have an impact on land in East Yorkshire.

Ørsted (the developers of the wind farm) aim to bring the electricity onshore near Fraisthorpe to a substation near Cottingham. While the Hornsea Four Project will mainly involve electricity cables running through land, we can assist with any form of infrastructure project affecting your land.

How we can help?

In the first instance your land agent will negotiate the heads of terms on your behalf. With any work we undertake we work closely with your professional team. Often we will liaise with the land agents during the negotiation of the heads of terms.

Once the heads of terms are finalised the developer’s solicitors will provide the relevant draft legal documentation.
The form of documentation varies depending on how the developer wishes to deal with the project.  Generally you will enter into a preliminary agreement to bind your land for a few years whilst the developer carries out various surveys on your land and obtains planning permission. Sometimes it is during this initial period that the developer will actually lay the cable or pipeline.

During the term of that agreement there will be a certain trigger event where you have to enter into a longer term, or indefinite, agreement with the developer, for example when planning permission is obtained or when construction is complete. Again, what that form of agreement takes depends on the requirements of the developer; sometimes this will be a deed of grant of easement, other times a lease of the land.

All projects raise different issues due to the nature of the specific area of land and how the development is to be fulfilled. We negotiate the wording of the documents working heavily with your land agent. Such projects can have a drastic impact on your land. Not only will the surface of the land change but careful thought needs to be given to practical consequential issues such as drainage, contamination and crop loss. Depending on the heads of terms negotiated, some of the key points for any form of cable or pipeline easement or lease are:

  • Limiting the disruption of your use of the land, so you can continue to farm.
  • Ensuring you receive proper compensation for disturbance, crop loss and loss of entitlements.
  • Having procedures that the developer has to follow to protect your land drains.
  • Limiting the damage and impact on the rest of your land.
  • Restrictions on what the developer can do on your land.
  • Having reinstatement provisions, so that the land is put back to a state you are happy with.
  • If the land is not reinstated correctly, a compensation mechanism or procedure for the land to be reinstated.
  • Limiting who a developer can assign the project to in the future.

We fully understand the impact these projects have, due to our experience in being involved with infrastructure projects for many years and having a team who are themselves from farming families and backgrounds. We have found the latter experience invaluable, as we are able to understand the practical challenges the projects present for landowners, rather than focussing purely on legal niceties.

If you have land that may be affected by an infrastructure project, whether you are the freehold owner or a tenant, and would like further information on how we can assist you please do not hesitate to contact Holly Gibson on 01904 928726

Holly Gibson

Please contact Holly Gibson on 01904 928726

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