ENA secures vital change from Farming Minister to make network maintenance and new projects easier

4 June 2008

ENA secures vital change from Farming Minister to make network maintenance and new projects easier

Energy Networks Association has scored a major lobbying success. It has ended a situation where new networks projects and maintenance work that needed to be undertaken on land owned by some farmers was being hampered by fears landowners could lose out under the rules of the government’s Single Payment Scheme (SPS).

Many landowners with pipeline and other networks assets were worried that they could lose their SPS entitlement if they allowed work to be undertaken on their land. To allay their fears and resolve this issue, ENA created and led a coalition of member companies alongside the National Farmers Union, Country Land & Business Owners Association and the Tenant Farmers Association, to put the case for clarification to Government.

High-level lobbying of Farmers Minister Lord Rooker and key Defra officials has led to an end to the confusion which has existed since 2005. The coalition explained how both maintenance and vital projects that will underpin Britain’s future security of supply were being held up, leading to the Minister requesting the Rural Payments Agency to resolve and clarify the situation.

David Smith, Chief Executive of ENA said: "The Rural Payments Agency have now provided the clarification everyone needed. It is clear utility works can be a valid exemption from SFP compliance rules. This gives farmers the essential peace of mind they needed and will allow network companies to carry out their vital work.

"All network operators had been experiencing constraints in carrying out maintenance and repair work due to land owners understandable concerns over the SPS. It was even hampering new pipeline projects. With the clarification ENA and the coalition have gained, delay to projects should be ended and carrying out network maintenance and repair easier."