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.

Wayleave Payment Rates
Payment Schedule for new electricity assets
Terminology
How to contact us if you are a grantor

Lands officers provide a day-to-day point of contact for our grantors. You can also contact us if you have any questions about compensation, reinstatement, maintenance or refurbishment plans in your area - our team will be happy to help.

If you have any 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
  • East - Option 3
  • South East - Option 4
  • South West - Option 5

Team Managers: 
Wayleave Payments/Changes - [email protected] 
North West & Scotland - [email protected] 
East - [email protected] 
South East - [email protected] 
South West - [email protected]

Access to land for 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:

Installation of High Voltage Underground Cables
Overhead Transmission Lines
Guidance on Land Rights
Environmental and Engineering Surveys
Installation of Gas Pipelines

Terminology

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.

Developing Infrastructure

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:

Sense of Place
Approach to Options Appraisal
National Grid's commitments when undertaking works in the UK
Overhead Transmission Lines
Payment of Surveyors Fees 2017
Undergrounding high voltage electricity transmission lines - The technical issues
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

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 

Consents, permissions and licenses

When we need to build new energy infrastructure, such as gas 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. Principal types of consents are set out below.

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

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.  For National Grid, NSIPs include new overhead lines and pipelines.  Applications for DCOs are submitted to and examined by the Planning Inspectorate and determined by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).  A guide to how we develop new electricity transmission lines can be found here:

Our approach to the design and routeing of new electricity transmission lines

Where we undertake electricity or gas works to connect a new energy customer, and their project is an NSIP, it may be possible for our network reinforcements to form part of the customer’s DCO application.  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 for a DCO.

Electricity consents

New overhead lines of less than 2km in length fall under the Electricity Act 1989 and require consent from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). However, diversions of existing lines and temporary lines fall under the electricity Exemption Regulations and, subject to certain limitations, do not require consent.

Planning permission from local authorities

Other types of new energy infrastructure might require planning permission from local planning authorities.  Examples can include new substations, cable sealing end compounds or electricity converter stations on our electricity network, or new compressor stations, pressure reduction installations, block valves and other above ground installations on our gas network. 

Major extensions to sites like these, together with temporary construction access onto classified roads, may need planning permission.  Where such works are needed in connection with a proposed NSIP, it may be possible to incorporate them into the DCO application as 'associated development'.

New or modified accesses on to classified roads, temporary or permanent culverts, outfalls and other drainage works may also require planning permission from the local planning authority. 

Permitted development

National Grid, as a statutory undertaker, benefits from Permitted Development rights under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which allows us to undertake certain works without needing to submit applications for planning permission. 

This includes works to existing electricity and gas sites, including the installation of plant and equipment, and installation of new or extensions to existing buildings, subject to limitations.  Permitted development rights also allow the installation of underground electricity cables and buried gas pipelines subject to location, length and any likely significant environmental effects.

Permits and licences

Permits or licences may be required from the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales for works in flood zones; where flood defenses are affected; or where rivers and watercourses are crossed.  Under local by-laws, approvals may be required from local drainage boards.  Permits may also be required in relation to the operation of gas compressor sites. 

Licenses may be required when undertaking works in the vicinity of protected species, and Assents required when undertaking works within in or near to ecologically designated areas.

With the agreement of the relevant consenting bodies, permits or licences (secondary consents or approvals) may also be included in DCO applications to the Planning Inspectorate as 'ancillary matters'.

Offshore infrastructure

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 established marine planning and licensing authorities across the UK.  The Marine Management Organisation (England), Natural Resources Wales, and Marine Scotland are responsible for their respective territorial waters, including inshore (from Mean High Water to 12 nautical miles) and offshore (12 to 200 nautical miles).

A marine licence might be needed for activities in or over the sea, or on or under the sea bed, which 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.  Certain activities are exempt from requiring marine licences. 

With the agreement of the marine authorities, permits or licences may also be included in DCO applications to the Planning Inspectorate as 'ancillary matters'.

Gridline magazine

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

Gridline Spring 2018

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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. 

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