Landowners urged to check out their rights

Caption
Caption

Farmers along the A1 in Northumberland could be missing out on potential claims as plans to upgrade the route gather pace.

Proposals to dual the carriageway between Morpeth and Felton were announced in 2014, alongside plans to enhance safety further north through junction improvements and better crossing facilities.

Now Alnwick-based rural property specialist YoungsRPS has compiled a guide to help landowners secure the support they are entitled to.

Emma Fairbairn, of YoungsRPS, said: “We are already getting calls from worried farmers and landowners with letters announcing plans for environmental surveys and other works.

“This is just the start of a long and complex process so we have compiled a rough guide to show how it works, listing some of the most important considerations and providing some top tips for owner and occupiers.”

Compensation can be paid for land taken, while there are also options to claim for the impact on retained land, such as depreciation in value, increased fencing liabilities, additional costs of working the land due to it being split from the main holding, or interference with sporting rights.

Disturbance is the most common claim, from crop damage and loss or injury to livestock to damage to drainage systems and even additional cleaning costs, payments for time spent in meetings, or legal fees.

Work such as bridges and underpasses, fencing and gates, relocation of water supplies and drains, noise insulation and double glazing can all be requested.

And agricultural tenants can claim for loss of a tenancy where land is taken, or for disturbance.

Land used as a working area should be reinstated, and compensation can also be claimed by those affected by the scheme even if no land is taken. This can include noise and light pollution.

Ms Fairbairn added: “Few in Northumberland would argue against the need for these road improvements to a highway which is so vital to the region. What is most important for those affected is that they understand their position and entitlements.

“The new road will be here to stay so it’s vital to assess any impact on your farming business early on in order to make sure the best possible solutions are put in place and your interests protected.”