“The legislation has created considerable urgency to ensure the relevant 4G and mobile broadband coverage across Wales, and the providers are approaching landowners directly with a view to siting their equipment on land whilst more permanent sites are identified elsewhere. They may offer enticing terms with payments of several thousand pounds for six months’ use, but there is potential for landowners to inadvertently grant more than just a temporary licence. With the telecoms bill being brought into statute in early 2018, unless it is properly worded, what was intended as a temporary licence only, has the potential to suddenly become a protected lease. As a consequence, we urge landowners seek proper professional advice in this regard before considering granting any licence on their land. Whilst this may sound expensive, more often than not the telecoms company will cover your costs as a part of the exercise.”
The Digital Economy Bill 2016-17 received Royal Assent in April 2017 to support the timely and cost effective delivery of digital communications infrastructure across the country. This has resulted in a rush on the part of 4G providers to enhance their coverage in Wales by identifying new telecoms sites. Landowners are being offered what appear to be very good terms on six month licences. However, landowners should seek professional advice before signing up to any legal document, according to Chris Hyde, Associate Director with Cooke & Arkwright’s Land Agency.