This is when the Government, Local Council or Utility Company, has the legal right to buy or take rights over your property, if it falls within a public or private construction project such as:

  • Airport expansions.
  • Electricity pylons and cables.
  • Flood defence works.
  • Housing developments.
  • Rail or road building projects.
  • Sewer, water or gas pipe schemes.


Different Compulsory Purchase, or Statutory powers, are needed to implement the above schemes.  For example, water pipes are laid under Statutory Rights, under the Water Industry Act 1991 and a road bypass, will have its own Compulsory Purchase Order, through the Acquisition of Land Act 1981.

In some cases, the owners and occupiers of the properties to be acquired, or affected by the scheme, will be served Notices, with differing expiry times.  If you own an Easement, under the legislation, you are not entitled to a Notice.  All schemes provide compensation to owners and occupiers, directly affected by the scheme.

Compensation is paid to reflect the losses and disturbance, caused by a Compulsory Purchase or Statutory Scheme on an owner, or occupier’s property.  It is based on the market value of the land taken, ignoring any increase, which the acquisition/development, may add to the value.  For more information refer to the Land Compensation Act 1961.  The losses must be unavoidable and as a direct result of the scheme.  Compensation, may either be a range of payments or accommodation works, (works to lessen the effect of the scheme), or both.

It is up to the claimant to prove any losses, to claim for compensation.  In the majority of cases, the acquiring authority may offer an advance payment of compensation, depending on the rights or land taken.

If you receive a Compulsory Purchase Order to purchase your land, or a Statutory Notice to lay pipes or cables, call the RICS Compulsory Purchase helpline for advice on 0870 333 1600.  This help line will put you in touch with an experienced local RICS member, who will provide you with up to 30 minutes free advice.

It is up to you, to tell the Authority how their scheme will affect you.  For example, how will it affect your enjoyment of the property ?  Can you still access the other end of the garden ?

Ask for ‘accommodation works’.  These can help limit the affects of schemes on your property.  For example, an underpass access to severed land, or adding extra trees to lessen traffic noise.  Claimants reasonable professional fees, can be claimed from the Authority concerned.  Above all, act as soon as possible.

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