What is an easement?
An easement (also known as a Deed of Grant) is a legally binding agreement between the landowner and us to allow access to replace, renew, inspect and maintain a gas pipeline in the future. It also restricts certain types of activity directly above our pipes. We usually require an easement when a mains pipe is being installed in private land (although there are other service installations that need one) and it will be registered against the landowner’s title deeds at the Land Registry.
An easement will be required for:
• All mains pipe work in third party/shared land (all pressure tiers).
• Any intermediate/medium pressure services or low-pressure services greater than 63mm in third party land.
• Any mains pipe work in private land even when owned by the customer, except when laid wholly within permanent footpaths and/or roads or driveways.
• Any mains laid through private car parking bays. • Any pipe in certain types of land (eg Network Rail, MOD, National Trust or Church Commissioners).
• Another exceptional circumstance when we deem an easement is required.
How long will an easement take?
Please be aware that negotiating easements can be very time consuming and delay your work considerably. We’re unable to give accurate lead times, as the easement process is a negotiation between solicitors. It can take up to 16 weeks but will vary for every job. To ensure the easement is agreed as quickly as possible, you should:
• Ensure your solicitor/third party landowner is aware of the urgency and will respond to correspondence as quickly as possible.
• Be aware that any changes to the draft easement proposed by our legal team may delay the process further.
• Provide an email address for the proposed solicitor, some steps of the process can be carried out this way.
Delays can be caused by:
• The land ownership details from the Land Registry don’t match those you’ve provided.
• Us needing consent from the lender if money is owed on the land (eg a mortgage).
• Slow responses from the landowner/solicitor.
• Other easements being required (eg there are electricity cables on the same site).
• A land agent being involved, as this tends to extend the negotiation process.
I own the land so surely an easement isn’t required?
We would still need an easement if you own the land. This is called an on-site easement and makes sure we continue to have the right for the pipe and successive proprietors are aware of it if the land is sold on.
Am I covered by my existing easement?
An existing easement doesn’t always cover additional pipework on the same site, as it will refer to a specific pipe/location, so additional mains/services may require a new agreement.