back to article OFT makes special exemption for bumpkins' wayleave charges

Getting faster broadband connections in rural areas remains a bugbear for many of the locals who live in the harder-to-reach parts of Blighty. So clarification from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on competition law relating to wayleave rates has been unsurprisingly welcomed by landowners in the countryside today. The regulator …

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Just how much is paid for these wayleaves ?

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Re: Just how much is paid for these wayleaves ?

a pittance.

I think the net loss to the landowner when I undergrounded 600 m of 11KV that crossed over my house at second storey level - so I could BUILD a second story - was about £250 p.a. More than made up for by the fact that he can now plough straight across and harvest straight across the field without knocking down any poles, and use grab loaders without risk of electrocution.

However in this case the 600m included a dog leg to take the cable away from farmland down a track and onto the road verge. Because undergrounding on farmland is bad news. Subsoil ploughing and mole ploughing to enrich the soil and create better drainage goes very deep, and laying field drains even deeper.

In fact cable/fibre laying across farm land is not nearly as simple as it sounds. The machinery as I said goes deep enough to be in range of buried conduits, and above ground plenty of kit the farmer will use is capable of being raised well above ground level. So whatever cables are laid are an inconvenience to the farmer. The better place to play cable is along or under access roads, or public highways.

I haven't been following this story, but the involvement of the NUT and CLA is very good news. Nothing would be worse than imposing a solution on landowners the way the public rights of way have been imposed - here there are two footpaths that are dutifully sprayed off every year to provide certifed muddy rights of way, duly marked, straight across fields - and these are never used, because the parallel farm tracks are made available by the landowner and are far more suitable for walking. I asked the landowner why he didn't 'get te footpath moved' - a sharp intake of breath 'and get the Ramblers Association accusing me of trying to close a Right Of Way, have protestors all over my land, and end up spending £50,000 in legal fees and getting my tyres slashed? No way. You walk on my tracks all you want, your dogs can shit anywhere they want - its not public land, and it do the crops a power of good, and let those fools in the Ramblers Association mark up their paths that no one uses. Sleeping dogs, boy, sleeping dogs".

Most landowners I know would be neutral to positive to getting little or nothing in wayleave PROVIDED that their needs to farm the land are addressed, and they are consulted with about suitable routes and provided the contractors don't leave a mess behind. I've got am 11KV line running under my land, but the electricity grid sat down and talked about where best to put it and its been mostly fine there.

Id be perfectly happy to have copper or fibre buried under it provided it was beyond any digging I might do. I'd be upset if they strung it over the top though.

rental income that is peanuts is no compensation for making it awkward to do agribusiness or ugly to look at..

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Bugger all, I have two poles with supporting wires and 144m of underground stuff, 63 quid a year, and they can gain access and arse about as much as they want. Compare this with openreach's charge of £123 to a service provider who wanted to rent one sub-duct in the main duct under the land or 175.20 for one line rental.

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Wait wait wait... so OFT want farmers and country land owners to either charge them for permission to plow up their land and lay cables down under normal commercial rates or waive the rates altogether for a solitary broadband connection? Hilarious.

If it was me, I'd want the right to have the top-end broadband connection completely for free in perpetuary (for ever), which means for example if someone like BT introduces ultra-high-speed fibre in the future, I can upgrade to it no problems, even if this happens in the 25th century and it's my ancestors who have inherited the farm.

Otherwise I'd want full commercial price. After all, the land they plow up to put cables down is going to be worthless as a result, as you can't farm it or do anything with it.

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Common sense says ....

"After all, the land they plow up to put cables down is going to be worthless as a result, as you can't farm it ...."

I'm sure they have the sense to bury cables, etc. deep enough to be safe from agricultural ploughing, so the landowner can plough and plant crops on the land.

Also, ......yes, I'd take the money and spend it on something I can change my mind about at a later date.

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Re: Common sense says ....

Sadly they do NOT always bury the cables deep enough. What works on road verges = 600mm or so for LV stuff - is well within range of subsoil ploughing, or mole ploughing and any subsequent construction work for buildings or land drains

Likewise ditches that deep or deeper criss cross most agricultural land and require annual dredging.

The problem is you cant say with certainty what use the land may be subject to in the future, which is why collaboration to lay stuff down tracks rather the god given rights to lay across fields, is optimal.

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Re: Common sense says ....

itzman - Exactly. These companies may need to maintain these cables - do you really think they would want to bury these cables incredibly deep so that the farmer can continue to plough on it, or for building or drainage work can still go over it? And what happens if the farmer IS ploughing on it or buildings are put on top and they need to uproot the cables regardless?

The deeper it is, the more expensive it'll be.

So this is what I mean - essentially the land that they put the cables under is worthless.

So again, I'd want full commercial price (paid as a regular sum that is guaranteed to increas in line or above inflation) to compensate for the land the cables are being buried under being worthless as a result.

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