Farmers urged to be aware of utility work claims they can make
Rural consultancy Davidson & Robertson has urged farmers and landowners to be aware of the claims they can make when it comes to utility work.
The independent firm of rural surveyors and consultants said infrastructure schemes, whether they are with utility companies, road and rail or renewable projects, are often complex and involve “intricate negotiations”.
Davidson & Robertson land agent Ian McKnight said farmers affected by utility work may overlook “very valid compensation claims”.
He said compensation claims generally fall under four key considerations, which are:
- Loss of land use (issues like crop damage, disruption to fieldwork, lack of access, temporary fencing and crossing issues);
- Reinstatement (elements like the cost of fixing gates and fences and replanting or reseeding);
- Client time.
McKnight said that, while three areas of compensation are based on what happens to the land, time spent by farmers monitoring, reporting and fixing is “often overlooked, underestimated or forgotten altogether”.
“It is essential that farmers put a value on their time, we urge our clients to keep a diary logging time they spend working on or around the projects. It means an hourly rate can be applied alongside other elements of compensation.
“One of the most important messages we’ve been getting across to those affected by utility work is to engage with an agent at the very outset.”
In the majority of cases, he said, the cost of engaging an agent is met by the utility company, and agents have “a breadth of experience to call on”.
McKnight said being involved at the outset of a project can make all the difference for a farmer.
“Being involved at the outset makes a huge difference – be that negotiating to adjust infrastructure routes, agreeing suitable mitigation measures and equipment, compensation and potentially including injurious affection (the negative impact on your wider/remaining property),” he said.
“Projects are often long and protracted, so it is important to consider wider impacts and any potential unforeseen consequences that may impede existing, and future alternative uses of the property.”
- ^ Davidson & Robertson (www.agriland.co.uk)
- ^ farmers (www.agriland.ie)