David Feist, real-estate litigation partner at Eversheds, has commented on the UK government’s proposed new rules regarding rights to access land in a bid to speed up the introduction of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’.
Feist said: ‘The proposals to permit drilling for shale gas and oil under people’s homes and properties, even if they object, will bring the trespass laws in this area into line with other industries such as coal and transport. The issue isn’t about money: in the well-known Bocardo case, the damages were minimal; the issue is about lengthy legal battles that could hold up the exploration phase or the UK industry.
‘What the industry needs, therefore, are reforms that produce an expedited or “no delay” procedure, where any claims for compensation, however nominal, can follow the event. No doubt proponents and objectors will watch closely to see if this is what the reforms will achieve.’