You may receive an approach and an offer of a payment in return for granting an access licence, or a notice invoking statutory powers of entry. Whatever the mechanism, it is important to notify your insurers if any of your land is occupied or used by a third party.
Whilst it is likely that the authority will have to accept responsibility for any damage or accident that they or their contractors cause or allow, and any licence you agree to should contain appropriate indemnities, this won’t stop a third party taking action against you.
The works may also give rise to losses you may not be able to recover, for example by creating an access route which is then used by thieves. Your insurers may refuse to help if you haven’t told them, and the occupier may contest liability for something they haven’t caused directly.
There are some basic questions you need to consider:
- Will the authority take control of any area or merely share occupation with you, for example by using an access route?
- Will the works involve anything hazardous, such as deep excavations, or create or block any access routes?
- Is there a risk of livestock escaping onto the highway?
- Are any public rights of way affected?
The works may easily create additional risks your insurers will need to know about. Tell them in advance, and ask the authority to reimburse any additional premium.
The Knight Frank Compensation Department is experienced in dealing with voluntary access agreements and the use of powers, and can advise and negotiate terms and compensation on your behalf.