a UK class action on land affected by telecommunications masts
Code 16 : the legal basis for compensation
This is a brief outline of the Code 16 Process for compensation due to an adverse effect upon land and property close to a mobile phone base station.
Code 16 of the Electronic Communication Code enables an application to be made to the Lands Tribunal for the injurious affection to land caused by the presence of a mobile phone base station, the compensation being payable by the Code System Operator (mobile phone company). This is exactly the same process that is used for claiming compensation where there is to be a major public works such as a motorway.
An application known as a reference is made on Form R to the Lands Tribunal which then sets up a tribunal to hear each sides case if the parties cannot reach agreement on the sums to be paid, this might relate to any drop in value caused by the phone mast, or even if the property cannot be used in the same way as it could previously. But each aspect of the claim must be capable of sustaining a claim at Common Law in the courts. That sounds far more complex than it really is, it simply means that if you can demonstrate that you have suffered some harm to the way you use your property, or it is reduced in value then you have a potential claim. We have an in-depth briefing paper that sets out the process in detail.
So what could you get? As a starting point, you could get a sum equal to any depreciation in the value of your home/property. Let us talk about averages. On average across the UK prices of homes that are within 100 metres of an installation can drop by between 20% to 30%, with the depreciation trailing away the further you are from the installation, but you could see an effect in the region of 5% even at distances of 500 to 600 metres. Some properties have been shown to be unsaleable at any price, but we have to be realistic, therefore settling on the average drop in price of 25% for a home at say 50 metres, then if that home was previously valued at £100,000 then the compensation would be in the region of £25,000. There may also be an additional sum for the reduction to the benefit enjoyed from the property, such as an inability to use part of the home, but that would be much more difficult to argue and we certainly would not be encouraging such claims unless they have a clear and demonstrable prospect of success. Therefore most claims would be solely in relation to the drop in value of your home.
Whilst each claim would have to be decided on its merits, there may well be multiple claims in relation to each installation where compensation is claimed, therefore multiple hearings might be undertaken, which will help to reduce the overall costs to all those involved. There is no reason why in theory 20, 50 or even a hundred claims could not be made in regards to every installation where a claim is submitted. Clearly the larger number of claims submitted will mean greater pressure on the operators to reconsider the location as a viable option, and they may (and we stress may) decide to remove the mast, or move it to a less sensitive location.
It should be pointed out that the claim for compensation has to relate to the works undertaken and NOT to the effect of the development, thus the fact that the mast stands there and affects your property may lead to a claim for compensation, whereas the fact that you become ill as a consequence of the emissions from the installation will not. Albeit in any claim the fact of any ill health will not be ignored, it cannot of itself be grounds for instigating the claim. It will add to the general grounds as to why telecom developments result in a reduction in the value of a persons home, and no more. There are other potential routes for bringing such claims before the court, but they are outside of the scope of this campaign.
The campaign will be standing beside you all the way, offering help and support; we shall be looking to employ the best and most experienced legal team that funds allow. This is to be a true joint venture by all those adversely affected by telecommunication installations.
Depreciation in Property Value as a result of Adverse Developments (Phone Masts) (Planning Sanity advisory document)
This site is still in preparation. Please come back when we have completed the information.
We hope that many of you will want to take part in order to secure the rights of so many against an unjust planning system and unbridled commercial might.
We have a voice. We will be heard.