Great demand for support on infrastructure projects from NFUS members

Davidson & Robertson Ian Austin Great demand for support on infrastructure projects from NFUS members

Davidson & Robertson (D&R) has partnered with NFUS to support members on infrastructure issues. They have seen high demand due to the growing number of projects across Scotland, ranging from electricity upgrades and energising rail lines to new water pipeline plans. 

The Affinity Partnership between D&R and NFUS was launched at AgriScot in November and aims to support NFUS members when statutory undertakers like Scottish Power, Scottish Water, or Network Rail need to do work on their land. 

Rhianna Montgomery, NFU Scotland Rural Business Policy Advisor said:

“We are seeing a growing number of concerns amongst our membership about utilities and infrastructure projects impacting their land and businesses. These have a significant effect on farmers’ businesses through the need for access by the statutory undertakers, damage to crops and property, and ultimately time spent addressing all of these issues. Davidson & Robertson provides valuable expertise in utilities and infrastructure claims through their helpline, providing 15 minutes of free advice to all members.”  

Ian Austin, D&R Director, and Department Head of Utilities, Energy and Infrastructure said:

The push to net zero has resulted in a requirement to upgrade the national electrical network.  National Grid has stated that over the next seven years (from 2023), five times the level of electrical infrastructure built in the last 30 years will need to be built. This is set to impact huge numbers of farmers across the country.”

Through the NFUS members helpline, we are already talking to members who are concerned about the effect on their land and who want to understand more fully their rights and options. We are also able to explain what can be claimed for and can support them in making that claim so that they’re properly compensated. 

“It is worth highlighting that you are likely to have reasonable professional advice costs covered by the Statutory Undertaker. It means you can receive professional advice from the earliest stage in the process to ensure that the affects of the scheme can be mitigated, and you are fully compensated, potentially without costs to yourselves.”  

The NFUS helpline relates to work on all infrastructure and utility works. There is significant activity on rail lines across Scotland, as Network Rail energises their lines. To achieve this, they need temporary access to adjacent land – which is achieved through voluntary access via negotiation.  If affected, you are entitled to advice, and it is important to take this up as soon as you receive notification. 

Scottish Water has extensive new pipeline projects and existing pipeline upgrades that are all in addition to ongoing pipe maintenance. To support these works, Scottish Water has statutory powers, acquiring new sites and processing facilities, which will also impact farmers and landowners. It cannot be overstated, the importance of engaging professional advice as soon as you hear you may be affected. We understand that D&R are the foremost agent in advising farming and Landowner in relation to statutory claims. 

The earlier a team is engaged to represent you, the more scope they have to negotiate the best outcome for your business, with the least little impact and the best level of compensation possible. 

In summary, Ian Austin said:

“D&R has partnered with the NFUS to provide a free helpline to NFUS members, providing advice on rights and next steps to those impacted. Our specialist utilities, energy and infrastructure team are well versed in providing advice on access agreements, wayleaves and servitudes, crop loss and compensation. It is a great resource for NFUS members to tap into. 

I would encourage you to take advantage of the NFUS free hotline to better understand your rights and your options call 0131 609 9717 or email”


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