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Land, planning, and development

Our electricity and gas networks traverse urban and rural areas of land that are owned and occupied by third parties. The areas of land surrounding our equipment are constantly subject to change and development. This page provides you with an overview of the main areas of interaction, related publications, and contact details. 

Landowners and grantors

Most gas and electricity transmission apparatus (such as high voltage overhead lines, pylons, underground cables, or gas pipelines) is on or under third-party land. Before we can install and operate electricity or gas assets on land we do not own, we require rights from the owner or occupier of that land.  These landowners are known as grantors and we are committed to maintaining a successful working relationship with them.

Current Schedule of Rates
National Grid Wayleave Payment Schedule
Payments Schedule Updated
Terminology Updated
How to contact us if you are a grantor

Lands officers provide a day-to-day point of contact for our grantors. Please contact us if you have any questions about compensation, reinstatement, or maintenance and refurbishment plans in your area.

Electricity

If you have any electricity queries, please telephone 0800 389 5113 and select from the following: 

  • Wayleave payments and change of name/address/ownership of land - Option 1
  • North West and Scotland - Option 2
  • North East - Option 3
  • South East - Option 4
  • South West - Option 5

Download this map to determine which region you are in

Gas

If you have any gas queries, please contact Plant Protection:

Access to land for asset maintenance and refurbishment

From time to time, we require access to land to inspect, maintain, and refurbish high voltage overhead lines. We have a duty to maintain the transmission system and power supplies, so we need quick and easy access to our equipment. 

Our rights of access to do maintenance and refurbishment work are contained within the wayleave agreement or permanent easement with the landowner. 

Overhead power lines are inspected on a routine basis both by foot and helicopter. We also have to climb pylons. Refurbishment of overhead lines can involve: 

  • Replacing conductors, insulators, and associated fittings; 
  • Painting pylons; and
  • Works to the pylons and their foundations. 

New technology is helping us to reduce the disruption caused by these things, but during major refurbishment safety scaffolding may need to be put up over properties, roads, and other development.

Minor refurbishments (such as repainting) are usually needed every seven years. Major works tend to happen much less frequently. 

Find out more in the following documents:

Commitments to Land Access
Terminology Updated
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs)

Our EMF unit helpline manages enquiries from members of the public, including prospective homebuyers, sellers, and their professional advisers who may be concerned about nearby electrical equipment. 

The EMF unit provides relevant information to concerned individuals and will undertake field measurements as appropriate. We can also supply literature for home sellers to pass on to agents, prospective vendors, and their advisers. 

We are not aware of any UK mortgage lender that has a policy of refusing mortgages for properties near overhead lines because of EMFs. 

Download the EMF factsheet

Safety around electricity lines

On the Electricity emergencies and safety advice page, you can find out more about safety issues around our overhead lines and underground cables, including:

  • Agricultural operations near overhead power lines;
  • Trees and vegetation near overhead power lines;
  • Leisure activities near overhead power lines;
  • Birds; and
  • Noise from lines.

 

 

Planning authorities and developers

Here you will find guidance for national, regional, and local planning authorities and other statutory consultees.  We are regularly consulted on issues of local, regional, and national importance.

We also must comply with various planning regimes ourselves whenever we are required to consider the location, installation, and removal of equipment used as part of our high voltage electricity and high-pressure gas transmission networks and gas distribution networks.

We enjoy open and constructive dialogue with many planning authorities and interested parties. We are always keen that you approach us as soon as possible if you have a land use or planning issue that you wish to discuss.

We encourage developers, designers, and contractors to contact Plant Protection when planning any excavation works close to our pipelines. We can provide free: 

  • Technical guidance
  • Asset information, and
  • Essential safety information.

We also provide a free service to mark out the location of our pipelines.

We aim to give you an overview here of how we operate and how we can help you.

Development near overhead lines

We provide information for planning authorities and developers on National Grid’s electricity transmission lines and substations in a downloadable PDF guide:

Download the development near overhead lines document

It covers planning and amenity issues, both with regard to our approach to siting new equipment, and to development proposals near lines and substations.

Find out more from the following documents:

Approach to Options Appraisal
Guidance on land rights
Installation of Pipelines and Underground Cables Updated
National Grid's commitments when undertaking works in the UK
NG Commitment to Access Land
Overhead Transmission Lines
Payment of Surveyors Fees 2017
Undergrounding high voltage electricity transmission lines - The technical issues
Terminology Updated
Local development framework

Amec currently manages our development plan monitoring contract for both electricity and gas transmission asset management. This enables us to comment on any of the development plans and identify existing assets that are located within potential development areas. If you require further information from Amec about local plan monitoring please email them: [email protected].

National Parks commitment

As a member of the Corporate Forum for National Parks, we welcome the opportunity to work with the Campaign for National Parks to promote understanding of the importance and value of National Parks, both to our employees and wider stakeholders.

For more information please download the following documents:

National Parks Commitment
Terminology Updated

We are currently working on a project called the Visual Impact Provision (VIP). This is a major opportunity to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife, and environmental heritage of our most protected landscapes. The project will use a £500m allocation by Ofgem to carry out work to help reduce the impact of existing transmission lines in English and Welsh Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks.

For more details, please visit the VIP project pages.

Community consultation

We consult with local interest groups and residents whenever we are planning works that will have a high impact on a residential area or a site valued for its amenity. This also helps us to identify environmental issues that can be taken into account and more effectively mitigated.

For consultation to be most effective, it is done at an early stage where the results can be used to influence the design of a project.

When undertaking works that will have a less significant impact, we liaise with and inform affected residents according to the severity of that impact. We will take into account local biodiversity action plans and other local initiatives being undertaken by local communities.

Under the provisions of the Planning Act 2008 we have a duty to consult and engage with communities and stakeholders. We have decided to integrate our amenity duties and our community/stakeholder engagement duties into one document, which covers how we will meet these duties. 

We have recently reviewed our Schedule 9 statement. In preparing this revised version, we have consulted statutory bodies, non-government organisations, and representatives of other stakeholder groups. We have also drawn on our own experiences of delivering a wide range and scale of electricity and gas projects. Read more:

Download the Commitments when undertaking work in the UK:  Our stakeholder, community, and amenity policy document 

Consent, rights, and permissions

When we need to build new energy infrastructure (such as gas or CCS pipelines, overhead electric lines, and above-ground installations such as substations or compressor stations), a number of consents or approvals may be required from different permitting bodies. The number and type of consents required depend on the type of infrastructure and where it is located, including whether it is onshore or offshore. 

For example, certain types of energy infrastructure fall within the categories of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), which require a Development Consent Order (DCO) under the Planning Act 2008. Applications for DCOs are currently determined by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) and, since April 2012, are decided by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (the Secretary of State). For National Grid NSIPs can include:

Permitted development

  • New high voltage overhead lines in England and Wales, except those crossing land that we occupy or control or certain minor works which are exempt; and
  • New gas transporter pipelines in England only and other pipelines (e.g. CCS pipelines) in England and Wales that exceed certain size thresholds or meet certain criteria and would be likely to have significant environmental effects.

Where our energy infrastructure is needed to connect just one customer and where that customer’s project is also an NSIP in its own right (e.g. a new onshore electricity generating station over 50MW or offshore generating station over 100MW), it is possible and may be appropriate where timescales coincide, for our network reinforcements to form part of the customer’s DCO application.

Conversely, where we have an NSIP proposal that is needed for a variety of reasons (not just to meet the needs of a single customer), or involves network reinforcements in advance of anticipated future energy developments, it will often be necessary for us to apply separately to the IPC for a DCO for its works. In such circumstances, we will endeavour to synchronise our pre-application consultations and DCO application with the customers we are connecting as far as we can.

Under the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, certain works on our electricity and natural gas transportation networks may be 'permitted development' and can be undertaken without first needing to apply for planning permission. This can include installing additional plant and equipment at operational sites and extensions to existing buildings, subject to certain limitations.

Installation of underground electricity cables is also permitted development and does not require either consent under the Planning Act or planning permission, although the sealing end compound(s) at the point of transition between overhead lines and underground cables may require planning permission from the local planning authority.    

Offshore infrastructure

For offshore infrastructure, a new consenting and licensing regime was introduced in 2011 by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

Inshore (from Mean High Water to 12 nautical miles) and offshore (12 to 200 nautical miles) the Marine Management Organisation, National Assembly Wales, Marine Scotland and the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland are the marine planning authorities for their respective territorial waters.

Within those areas, a licence might be needed for activities in or over the sea, or on or under the sea bed. This can include the installation of cables, pipelines and overhead lines, or investigatory work such as intrusive surveys. Depending on the nature of the proposals there may also be overlaps with other consenting regimes, particularly where infrastructure comes ashore.

Where offshore proposals are NSIP development, consent for the offshore elements in addition to any onshore NSIP elements will be needed under the Planning Act 2008.

Planning permission via local authorities

Other types of new energy infrastructure might require planning permission from local planning authorities.

Examples can include new substations, sealing end compounds or AC/DC converter stations on our electricity network or new compressor stations, pressure reduction installations, block valves and other above ground installations on our gas transportation or proposed CCS pipeline networks.

Major extensions to sites like these and temporary construction access onto classified roads may also need planning permission. Where such works are in England and are needed in connection with a proposed NSIP, it may be possible to incorporate them into a DCO application to the IPC/Secretary of State as 'associated development'. In Wales, separate applications for planning permission to local planning authorities are required as planning is a devolved matter.

Other types of planning permission

Temporary or permanent culverts, outfalls, and other drainage works may require planning permission and formal consents from the Environment Agency. Such approvals may relate to river crossings and other works affecting watercourses.

Under local by-laws, there could be approvals required from local drainage boards and, under other legislation, there can be a variety of secondary consents needed. With the agreement of the relevant consenting bodies, secondary consents or approvals may also be included in a DCO application to the IPC/Secretary of State as 'ancillary matters'.

In addition to these primary and secondary consents, where our new onshore infrastructure crosses land that National Grid does not own or occupy, the agreement of the relevant landowners is required. In most cases where rights to install, operate, inspect, maintain and repair are needed, we will seek to agree an easement with the landowner.

To find out more about download the following:

Our approach to the design and routing of electricity transmission lines
Terminology Updated

Gridline magazine

Download the latest version of Gridline, the magazine for landowners.

Gridline Summer 2017

Find more about Gridline

Investment and innovation projects

We continue to innovate and invest in the communities we serve through various projects so that we can connect homes and business to the energy they need. 

View more