Efforts to speed up the UK’s grid connection times risk progressing more slowly than necessary because of delays caused by uncertainty over the status and ownership of land, according to TerraQuest, one of the UK’s leading land referencing specialists.

Several factors, including a substantial uptick in the take-up of electric vehicles over the coming years are expected to put significant pressures on connections, both for at-home charging and out-of-home charging stations. At the same time, an increasing number of facilities with substantial power demands, such as data centres and battery storage facilities, are set to come online in the coming years.

As a result, many new connections are needed across the country, along with many hundreds of miles of power lines and associated infrastructure. This infrastructure must pass over and under numerous plots of land, owned by a similarly large number of businesses and individuals and with various usage restrictions, putting significant pressure on Designated Network Operators (DNOs) to ensure they have detailed and up-to-date information about land ownerships and rights

Tony Pratt, Head of Technical Services at TerraQuest, said, “Both long-distance high voltage power lines and short-distance infrastructure for new grid connections require the acquisition of, and new rights to be established, over land and, frequently, the use of Compulsory Acquisition powers. Obtaining these rights means having a comprehensive and up-to-date record of land ownership and any associated restrictions.”

He said that while HM Land Registry in principle holds a full record of land ownership in the UK, a single check at the start of a project is unlikely to be sufficient in the context of complex multi-year projects, where land ownership can change frequently and even be ambiguous or disputed.

“Land referencing needs to be an active and ongoing process, involving detailed research into the ownership and restrictions on the use of all land involved in a project,” added Tony.

“Without comprehensive and up-to-date intelligence about the status of land potentially affected by a project, there is a real risk of unnecessary delays in acquiring or gaining rights over land. When multiplied by potentially many hundreds of plots of land, the prospects of encountering costly issues rises substantially. This is a significant area of risk, given the urgent need to increase the speed of delivery of new grid connections.

“A comprehensive and detailed approach to land referencing, undertaken by specialist researchers is vital in ensuring upgraded grid infrastructure and connections are delivered as soon as possible.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here