I have been working in Savills land and planning department for around three years and have recently been contracted out to Scottish Power as a land officer working within the Lanarkshire district. In a nutshell, the team is responsible for safeguarding the electrical network, looking after and maintaining the rights for distribution electrical apparatus, from low voltage service cables through to high voltage 33kV towers.
The land officer is responsible for making sure there are appropriate rights for the apparatus to be placed and remain there and that is has been carried out lawfully. For apparatus to be installed, consent is required from the landowner, all the relevant statutes must be adhered to and commonly there is a requirement to engage with the required public bodies.
Each week tends to be different because of the varied nature of the role and involves plenty of lone working, but I am part of a tightly knit specialised team enabling plenty of discussion surrounding any issues when they arise and how they might be solved. One day I may be reviewing a landowner’s title documents and meeting with lawyers and department heads, and the next may involve being out on site with a landowner, traversing land on an ATV assessing land damage, though I do always worry I will lose my car keys in the middle of a field or get stuck in some deep mud. It is definitely never boring.
Landowners who have apparatus on their land are commonly called grantors and building a good relationship with them is key to the success of future projects, along with the safety and security of the existing network. During our team briefings we routinely discuss any grantor issues, this provides an opportunity for us to review best practice and make sure that any issues are highlighted to the business at the earliest opportunity for resolution.
Some of my best experiences so far as a land office have involved resolving long- standing issues by working as a team to come up with solutions.
Historically, we were known as wayleave officers but today the role is much broader than just wayleaves – it includes servitudes, leases, land purchases, planning and the name has evolved to reflect this change.
Utility Week Live takes place on 23 and 24 May 2017