Small Woodland Owners' Group

Wayleaves

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Wayleaves

Postby cameronclark » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:01 pm

Does anyone have experience of dealing with power companies over wayleaves? They came and cut down trees in our wood without so much as by your leave. They managed to get a signed consent out of the farmer who works both sides of the road, but who does not own our wood!
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Re: Wayleaves

Postby SimonFisher » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:51 pm

Do you know wich utility? Have you asked them under what agreement or consent they entered your land to carry out the work? Was it the one signed by your farmer neighbour for example?

Some sources of information on wayleaves and easements: -

http://www.cla.org.uk/rural-policy-advice/agriculture-rural-business/telecommunications/rural-broadband/wayleaves
http://www.wayleave.co.uk
http://www.utilityserve.co.uk
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Re: Wayleaves

Postby Andy M » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:16 pm

I have had good and bad experiences.

At home, we have a powerline that runs across our garden and through an oak tree. The electricity company have sent us an annual payment of about £20 and occasionally done work on the tree. They have always talked to us in advance and, according to our local Tree Officer, have the right to do the work anyway. Result: a pleased customer.

In our woodland (which we have owned for about three years) there is a 11000V cable that runs across - not pylons, but the sort you see on hefty telegraph type poles. At first I thought thid was a negative for the wood as they have the right to clear a ten metre corridor under it, but on reflection this gives me two long bits of woodland edge which is very good for wildlife, especially as I am now managing the trees to provide a graduated height edge rather than a sharp cutoff. When we bought the woods I wrote to Eastern Power Networks to say I was the new owner and asked them to contact me before doing any work so that I could co-ordinate with them. I heard nothing until one day I had a phone call from a neighbour to say that there were men with chainsaws in my wood. Luckliy, he made one of the group ring me on their mobile and I found they were from BTS Group, a company that does powerline maintenance. Things were not done in a satisfactory manner and this is a copy of my letter to the company:-

"In September I was warned by a neighbour that there was a gang working on my woodland with chainsaws. I spoke to one of them who said he was Steve Watts from the BTS Group. He apologised and said they had written to the owner and a Mr Bruford had given them permission. I explained that I had no idea who Mr Bruford was, but that I was the owner. Mr Watts said that the surveyor would ring me on my home number to arrange a site meeting to discuss some further trimming of high stuff in November, requiring power turning off. He said they need to clear every four years. A few days later someone called Shane rang on his mobile and said he would drop in a consent form at my home in Yaxham for me to sign. The form was not delivered and so I assumed no further work was required. When I visited the wood a short while ago I found that more felling had taken place and that a birch tree had been allowed to fall across some fencing, damaging some posts. The damage had not been repaired. I was also disappointed to see that shredded material had been piled up against a tree and was partially obstructing the opening of my gateway.
I rang your offices on Tuesday 19th November 2013 and spoke to Beth who said she would check on the matter and would ring me later to confirm what action would be taken. Sadly, I have heard nothing.
I would like to have been a bit more relaxed about this, but consider that the mess left behind by your team is not what I would expect.
I would like to point out that you do not have my permission to carry out any further felling or trimming on my land. I have recently found out that Mr Bruford is the Chair of Bodham Parish Council and, according to Shane, he gave permission for works on several bits of land. He does not have the authority to do this. My woodland is in the Holt parish.
I would like someone to contact me to discuss this situation."


After much to-ing and froing (including their representative not turning up for a site meeting) they sorted out the mess and promised they would contact me properly when they need to come back in a few years. We shall see.

I know some tree surgeons and the lads actually doing the work for these companies are under tremendous pressure to do it as quickly as possible which is why I wanted to be there (being retired I am quite flexible). I am also growing a dozen Christmas trees for family use under the line and wanted to make sure these were not damaged.

It seems that the company virtually do what they like without permission and I was just lucky that the neighbour caught them at it else I would have had no idea who had done it.

The ride/woodland edge is coming on nicely now.
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Re: Wayleaves

Postby oldclaypaws » Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:42 pm

Near us there's a 40 acre wood which was bought by woodlands.co.uk and split into several smaller plots.

I visited it a number of times and carefully considered buying one of the plots, but wasn't sure. It was very squidgy underfoot and had swathes of impenetrable rhododendron, it was challenging to try and push your way through to view it. There was a real 'jungle' feel to it and it was close to home (you can see it from our house). My favourite plot had a rather stagnant small pond, but it had a pleasant feel. I did come close to going for it. Rather relieved I didn't. The sales particulars didn't mention what was to come.

There was a HV power line on pylons on one side, opposite there is a small coniferous plot that was bought by an elderly couple. I reckon there had been no thinning under the line for many years, there were tall trees close to it. I twigged something was going on when they started to bring down trees below the power lines, but the scale of what was done was dramatic and totally changed the character of any of the woods near the power line. You could only call the scene after they finished as 'devastation', it literally looked as if they were putting a motorway through the middle of the woods and it'll take decades to recover. They did replant with smaller trees underneath, but about 1/4 of the wood I was interested in ended up shredded and trashed. The elderly couple must have been fairly traumatised, they must have lost 1/2 of their wood. I know these things need to be done, but it was pretty brutal and could have been done more sensitively, trimming and retaining some of the previous trees, not smashing through the lot. Glad there's nothing like that near our wood.
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Re: Wayleaves

Postby cameronclark » Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:04 pm

The company involved is SSE - Scottish & Souther Energy, based in Perth.
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Re: Wayleaves

Postby Terry » Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:50 am

We recently had the experience of line clearance through the wood. Not been done by the previous contractor on a 5 yearly cycle so it was a fairly dramatic change after about 15 years. If they do it 5 yearly from now on it should presumably just be a quick trim and not change things so much.
The contractor was extremely careful to get permission and explain what was needing cutting and even on the last day there were a few minor changes recommended by the team on the team that resulted in reams of paperwork on the day as well as follow up days later.
Mind you I suspect as they had taken over from the non performing contractor it was a case of 'new broom'. We'll see what happens in 5 years.
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