Geldards have been invited by the influential and prestigious City of London Law Society (CLLS) to participate in a project designed to improve the process for granting electricity substation leases.
The invitation reflects Geldards’ reputation as the leading law firm in the UK for electricity distribution property work, undertaken by its specialist Networks team.
Geldards have partnered with their many clients in the electricity industry to bring maximum advantage to this project.
The project team is looking to create a standard lease and a protocol. The project will be neutral and aim to facilitate the process for the benefit of both electricity distributors and property owners. The protocol and documents will be voluntary, but the hope is that they will prove to be just as effective and widely used as other CLLS precedents.
The protocol will be educational, providing neutral guidance on the best way to streamline and facilitate the process, such as developers/property owners engaging early enough to obtain title consents, a sensible approach to title (a major source of delay) and replies to enquiries, addressing issues, such as requirements for electricity distribution companies to enter into deeds of covenant (for example to satisfy a restriction to protect overage), use of insurance (whilst acknowledging it is not always the answer), positive use of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 and limiting landlord’s access rights to site (for health and safety reasons).
The project will also comprise a title package and a sub-station lease. The title package will consist of a short-form certificate of title/short-form enquiries and the substation lease will include standard rights and covenants and deal with relocation (it was considered that, in the case of a headlease, a forfeiture provision should not usually be necessary).
Jamie Gordon, Geldards Partner and head of the Networks team, who is leading the project, said:
“I am delighted to have been asked by the CLLS to work with them on this project, which recognises our pre-eminence in the electricity distribution sector. It has also provided us with the opportunity to integrate a number of our clients into the project, from whom we have had an overwhelmingly positive response.
“Time is always of the essence for electricity connections and I wholeheartedly support any initiative to reduce delays, save costs and streamline the legal process. I am confident that we will be able to create a balanced product that identifies and promotes best practice for the benefit of all stakeholders in leasing electricity substations.”
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