‘Telecoms compensation code needs update’28th June 2012
Compensation guidelines for landowners forced to accommodate telecommunications equipment such as mobile phone masts urgently need clarifying and updating for the digital age, according to the Law Commission.
Dating back nearly three decades the current guidelines, which allow network providers to install and maintain equipment on public and private land while setting out compensation terms, were designed with landlines in mind rather than mobile phone, broadband and cable TV equipment.
Project leader Professor Elizabeth Cooke said a modern legal framework needed to be set up to allow landowners and providers to negotiate, with disputes settled quickly and efficiently. She said the current code and case law on the subject were unclear with a perception that landowners could charge unrealistic prices for housing the equipment.
The Law Commission’s consultation paper on the issue proposes resolving disputes in the Upper Tribunal’s land chamber rather than in county courts with landowners compensated using a method similar to the one used in compulsory purchase cases.
Professor Cooke said: “Our aim is to bring greater clarity to the statutory framework and enable issues arising under the code to be dealt with more efficiently and proportionately,” she added. Reform of this area of law is becoming increasingly urgent.”
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