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A new Electronic Communications Code became effective from 27 April when the Digital Economy Act 2017 (“the Act”) came into force. The Code governs the siting and operation of telecommunications equipment on land.
This will be of interest to parks who already have agreements providing for the siting of such equipment and those that may be contemplating entering such agreements.
Important changes courtesy of the new Code are:-
- Telecommunications operators can now assign agreements (although a guarantee from the outgoing operator can be required) and share apparatus without the landowner’s consent;
- Telecommunications operators can upgrade apparatus without the landowner’s consent (subject to there being minimal visual impact);
- Private agreements excluding the Code will not be effective;
- Payment to landowners will be treated in a similar way to Compulsory Purchase Order rather than being linked to the open market.
On a more positive note, the new Code is not retrospective so will only govern new agreements entered since it came into force and not existing agreements and it has been confirmed that the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 will not apply to these agreements and the procedure for ending them is now set out in the Act.