Survey Powers - Compulsory Purchase Association

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Survey Powers

What is the Problem

S11(3) of the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965 only gives rights of entry for surveys, bore holes etc. once compulsory purchase powers have been obtained.

This does not reflect  modern practice, and in particular the impacts of environmental assessment, meaning pre application surveys are increasingly required by consenting authorities and their statutory advisors.


Those with a proposal by the authority to acquire compulsorily an interest in the land can apply to the SoS for pre- acquisition survey powers. Compensation would be payable.  Based on S53 Planning Act 2008.


What we seek

Amend  Acquisition of Land Act 1981 to provide a process  to allow a person authorised by an acquiring authority to access land for survey powers at any reasonable time in connection their scheme.

Notes from discussion

Agree there is a need for such powers both at the pre-application and the pre-construction stage.
However there should not be an unbounded general power- there must be some sensible limitations to protect landowners’ interests.

Should only be able to apply for such powers in cases where there is a genuine scheme and has been a real attempt to secure access by negotiation.

S15 of LG Miscellaneous Provisions Act is a workable way of dealing these matters.

S53 of the 2008 Act now appears to be working well so provides a precedent for wider powers.

Next Step/Actions

Review S15 of Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976 and S53 Planning Act 2008.  Look for gaps where a general survey power may be required and if appropriate prepare suitable wording for inclusion in an appropriate legislative vehicle.Primary legislation  required in next major reform package.

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