The Energy Act – What Does it Mean for Landowners


The Energy Act 2023 received Royal Assent at the end of October with the aim being to lay the foundations for an energy system fit for the future.

This is the most significant piece of energy legislation since 2013 and will doubtless be followed a raft of secondary legislation to set the detail behind it.

This enormous undertaking by Government will strengthen energy production and security, whilst supporting delivery to net-zero and along the way, and hopefully provide more affordable household bills.

Whilst the Act incorporates many matters, it felt useful to pull out those that would be of interest to landowners, in that it is their land that will provide the network of routes for all forms of energy from where that energy is created, or stored, to where it is used.

The new Act will require access over large areas of land, and in part, rural land, as significant volumes of cabling and pipework will be required to make the new and improved energy system operate. This means legal, regulatory, licensing, and procedural matters will all have their place in making this happen.

As a precursor to this, we are seeing a significant growth in the number of renewable energy scheme proposals coming forward, which of course presently, are projects becoming stuck in the system with a lack of access to the Grid. Nevertheless, they are still being negotiated in preparation for Grid availability and when that happens those operators doing deals now will be in pole position.

The projects seen at present are predominantly for solar and/or battery sites but it seems turbines are also starting to make a comeback.

It is proposed through the new Act that governance and ownership of the electricity and planning function will be brought into the public sector through a new public entity to provide the detailed Codes for the operational responsibility for Electricity and Gas transmission and distribution. A landowner however, will still have to deal with the utility provider requiring access over land along their chosen route and likely they will have statutory powers to do this.

With this in mind we can expect to see a great deal more cables and pipelines over the landscape in the coming years which will necessitate every landowner taking good advice as to the statutory requirements, but also what accommodation works are required whilst the provider is on your land, then claims for damage to land, crop loss and reinstatement that will all be due.

If you are approached by a renewable developer, or a statutory utility provider, make sure you seek professional advice … and sign nothing without it.

As ever, we are happy to discuss this or any other land related matter with you.

Julie Liddle - Director, PFK Rural 

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Wednesday, 17 July 2024