Life in the ‘Digital Era’
The Electronic Communications Code governs the siting and operation of communications equipment across the UK and sets out the rights and responsibilities of equipment and land owners alike. In May 2016 the Government proposed a review and updating of the Electronic Communications Code, spurred on by the ever and rapidly changing world of electronic communications.
Efficient and effective electronic communications are a necessity (once a luxury) in both our business and yours and it is good to know that the Government is reacting to our dependence on the same. Given the rural location of many of your holiday and home parks, many of you will also have telecommunication equipment sited on your land. Therefore, it is important to know to what you are entitled in return for the use of your land and also what rights the communication provider has to access your land in order to maintain and upgrade its equipment.
Should the Government’s proposals be accepted, the aim is to ensure that you are better compensated than at present by moving to a ‘no scheme’ basis of valuation regime which will reflect the underlying value of your land. This is similar to the regime currently employed for utility providers and it is intended that electronic communications equipment will henceforth be treated comparably to utility equipment. It will also become easier for communication providers to access your land to carry out the maintenance, repair and upgrading of equipment, with such rights of access being automatic in some circumstances. In additional, there will be changes to the court system so that any disputes in relation to electronic communications equipment can be resolved more efficiently and not obstruct the investment in and development of electronic communications across the UK.
The proposals are relatively fresh and need to be presented to Parliament and go through the legislative process. Time will tell whether and to what extent they actually come into force but they are certainly worth keeping on your (electronic) radar.