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Land rights for ICPs

Land rights for Independent Connection Providers (ICP)

Here we explain what land rights are needed when an ICP installs electricity equipment which we will adopt, and responsibilities for securing them. We advise that you also seek legal advice when planning an installation, as well as reading and understanding the information provided below.

Criteria for land rights

Land rights are required where an ICP designs and installs equipment which we will later adopt. These land rights provide us with legal security for the installed equipment. This means that we can retain the adopted assets on privately owned land and access that land for the future maintenance and repair of the equipment.

Land rights are needed when:

  • an ICP installs equipment on land owned by a developer (onsite consents), and
  • an ICP installs equipment on land outside of a developer's site (offsite consents)
  • there are special requirements for planning, environmental or archaeological considerations which might be impacted by the installation (additional consents)
  • an Inedependent Distribution Network Operator (IDNO) installs equipment which interfaces with our network (the IDNO must secure our rights to access the equipment on the network boundary along with their own rights to access).

We will not adopt equipment installed by an ICP or IDNO until the land rights have been legally secured.

Land rights are not needed when:

  • an ICP installs equipment in a public highway or in land laid out to form part of a public highway.


Criteria for onsite consents

When an ICP installs equipment on land owned by a developer, we will acquire the land rights directly from the site owner.

We recommend that the ICP does not start installation work until the required rights are legally in place.

The land rights we acquire will relate to adopted assets only, will be personal to us, and will not contain rights for the ICP.

The land rights will normally take the form of a deed of easement for cables. However, we will need the site owner to transfer a small parcel of land to us by way of a freehold or long leasehold transfer for substation sites. The transfer will usually include a right of access and cable easement and will be transferred to us for nil consideration.

Land rights for onsite works are completed as a deed by solicitors acting on our behalf and on the behalf of the site owner.

We will not adopt equipment installed by an ICP until the land rights have been legally acquired from the site owner. Agreement to our heads of terms alone are not sufficient.

Our top tips for securing land consents are:

  • check with us that we have the required rights before you start installation work
  • send us all contact and title details for the site owner when you apply for a new Point of Connection – so we can start as soon as possible
  • make sure you have made provisions for your own access and rights requirements, as our land rights are personal to us alone
  • remember – heads of terms are not legally sufficient to provide rights of access
  • do not start installation works until land rights are in place, to avoid delays in final adoption and energisation.


Criteria for off site consents

ICPs may need to install equipment on land outside of a development site (owned and/or occupied by a third party) in order to make a connection to our network. This will usually involve installing an underground cable on land owned by a third party.

In these situations, the ICP (or their appointed agent) will need to enter into an installation agreement directly with the third party landowner, together with any occupiers of the land. We will not be party to this agreement. The installation will contain terms and conditions that the developer is legally obliged to adhere to relating to the ICP's installation. This may include any financial considerations required by the third party landowner to facilitate the installation.

At this stage the ICP should undertake title searches to identify any restrictions on the land which may make it difficult or even impossible for us to acquire our land rights. These might include restrictive covenants/encumbrances, third party easements with obligations to indemnify, or land charges.

Although we are not party to the installation agreement, we will need land rights to access, repair and maintain the equipment in future. The land rights we require are usually incorporated into a tripartite deed of easement between the developer, the ICP and us.

The ICP should agree the heads of terms with the third party landowner and submit them to us with the details of the solicitors' acting for both the developer and third party landowner. At the same time, the ICP should let us know whether any restrictions affect the land.

We will then instruct our solicitors to complete the deed and provide a template deed of easement to the ICP to simplify matters for the other parties involved.

When short lengths of cables are involved in the installation, we will accept a tripartite wayleave agreement as opposed to a deed of easement. In such cases the ICP will need to obtain the consent of the third party landowners, and the developer/customer on the tripartite wayleave agreement.

Once agreed, the ICP will need to send this to us for our agreement and signature. Once all relevant parties have agreed to the tripartite wayleave agreement, the equipment can be installed on the third party owned land.

We recommend that ICPs do not begin their installation works until our land rights are in place. This will ensure that there is nothing to delay or prevent us from energising and adopting the equipment in a timely manner.

Top tips for offsite consents:

  • make sure you enter into a separate installation agreement with landowners and occupiers
  • undertake Land Registry title searches to identify any issues that might make it difficult for us to acquire our land rights – and let us know as soon as possible
  • remember that heads of terms are not legally sufficient to provide rights of access
  • do not start installation works until land rights are in place. This will avoid delays in us energising and adopting the equipment.

ICP guidance notes

For more information take a look at our guidance notes.

Read more

Land rights process flow

To better understand our responsibilities and yours, and what happens when, take a look at our process flow chart for ICPs

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ICP case study

Read through our example case study of a project we worked on with an ICP.

Read more