Land Compensation Act 1973 claims

Environmental law solicitors at Hugh James are specialist land compensation lawyers who represent individuals for loss of value suffered to property in respect of claims brought under Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973 (“the Act”).

Part 1 of the Act allows individuals with certain interests in property (typically homeowners) to claim compensation for diminution in value caused to their property, as a result of physical factors brought about by the use of new or (in certain situations) altered public works (i.e. aerodromes or public roads).

The Act essentially puts on a statutory footing, a means of individuals recovering compensation for nuisance but in the context of loss of value to their property rights, in circumstances whereby the relevant responsible authority would ordinarily be exempt from a nuisance claim at common law.

The Act allows compensation to be recovered in specific circumstances. Whilst it does not compensate individuals generally for loss of amenity, it allows compensation to be recovered where diminution in value has resulted from the changes in noise, vibration, odour or fumes (amongst other limited physical factors) caused by the use of the new or altered public works.

We typically act for groups of affected homeowners whose properties are affected by the same scheme of alterations and in the majority of cases act on a ‘no win no fee’ (also known as a conditional fee) basis.

Further information can be found in the ‘Your questions answered’ section below, however, if you require more information or advice, and believe you may have a claim please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

What constitutes public works?

Public works include any work on roads and highways, airports and any other works on land provided, or used in the exercise, of statutory powers, including changes of use.

The typical example of public works in relation to road developments could include a new road, the widening or change of location or level (other than resurfacing) of existing roads or the provision of an additional carriageway on an existing road.

In the case of airport expansions and development, as well as the construction of new runways, claims can be made in respect of extensions to, major re-alignment of or strengthening of an existing runway, or substantially new or altered taxiways or the addition of new or extended aprons for the purpose of facilitating a greater number of aircraft.

 

What are the physical factors of public works?

The Land Compensation Act defines the physical factors which can give rise to compensation claims as noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, artificial lighting and the discharge of any solid or liquid matter onto a local resident’s property.

Whist each case is different the majority of claims our land compensation solicitors have dealt with the result from a change in noise levels, although we are aware that other physical factors may also be apparent. In one of our recent cases the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), the court that determines claims brought under the Act, acknowledged in its award of compensation that absolute noise levels need not have increased in order for compensation to be payable. In that case the Tribunal awarded compensation in light of evidence of a change in the character of noise.

In addition to noise, artificial light, both from vehicle headlights and street lighting, can cause considerable nuisance and can result in a diminution in value, and is recognised by the Act. This may be particularly relevant especially in rural areas where, previously, there was no light interference.

In recent years with a growing awareness of air pollution we hear more homeowners voice concerns in relation to fumes and odour.

 

When should I make a claim under the Land Compensation Act?

There are time limits for making a claim under the Land Compensation Act and a complex array of statutory provisions also apply, particularly if you are intending to sell your property. If you believe that you may have a claim under the Land Compensation Act, we recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

 

Why use Hugh James for a Land Compensation Act claim?

Hugh James environmental lawyers have over 16 years experience dealing with Part 1 claims. During this time we have acted for claimants in complex matters that have centred on interpretation of particular provisions of the Act, in addition to seeking compensation.

We have acted for over 750 claimants in road and airport claims and have had several matters determined in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), and the Court of Appeal.

All of our land compensation claims are dealt with by a dedicated team of environmental lawyers. Our environmental lawyers keep up to date with legal developments in this area and together we have built up many years of experience in the field.  We work closely with specialist barristers and instruct specialist experts to ensure we get the best results for our clients.

Our environmental lawyers handle a variety of claims from modest terrace houses to large family estates. We pride ourselves on the fact that we provide the same efficient friendly service to all clients.

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Experience

O'Connor & others v. Wiltshire County Council [2007] EWCA Civ 426
 

Successful appeal on behalf of the claimants of the Tribunal's determination of a preliminary issue that related to section 19(3) of the 1973 Act, which had the effect of barring any claim to compensation which the claimants might otherwise have had. The Court of Appeal, overturning the Tribunal's decision, found that the road was a highway, maintainable at the public expense (within the definition provided in section 36(2) of the highways Act 1980) and accordingly the claimants were not barred by section 19(3) to compensation in this case. 

England and Wales Court of Appeal Decision 

Johnston & Ors v. TAG Farnborough Airport Ltd [2015] UKUT 534 (LC) 
 

The Tribunal determined various preliminary issues during a four week long trial for two groups of claimants, all concerning the development of Farnborough Airport and the viability of claims made under Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act. Our solicitors acted for both groups of claimants, receiving instructions from the first group of claimants after their claims had already been referred to the Tribunal by their surveyors. The tribunal found for the first group of claimants in respect of all but one of the preliminary issues. Despite the timing of the claims having been based on information provided by the Airport, the Tribunal determined that the first group of claimants were time barred from advancing claims due to their claims having been made out of time. The Tribunal confirmed the viability of the claims of the second group of claimants, arising from later development at the airport, namely the West One Apron.

 

United Kingdom Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber)

Goodman & Others v. Transport for London [2016] UKUT 126 (LC) 
 

Determination of several Part 1 Land Compensation Act claims, with all awarded compensation for the depreciation to property values as a result of the sue of the Coulsdon Relief Road. In its decision, the Tribunal also considered and ultimately accepted the claimants' factual accounts of their experience of noise, over the technical noise data, finding there had been a significant change to the character of the noise which was not caught by the noise data. 

United Kingdom Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber)

Mann & Others v. Transport for London [2018] EWCA Civ 1520 
 

Appeal of the Tribunal's cost decision to award the claimants their costs of their claims under Part 1 of the 1973 Act for compensation for depreciation in the value of their properties, resulting from the use of public works comprised in the Coulsdon Relief Road, on the standard basis (rather than indemnity basis) despite the levels of compensation awarded by the Tribunal exceeding earlier offers to settle. 

England and Wales Court of Appeal Decision 

 

 

Key contact

Neil is an elected partner on the firm’s board of management. He and his dedicated team of specialist lawyers act on behalf of individuals across the UK in relation to group action cases across a number of sectors including; environmental nuisance and toxic tort cases, claims for property blight and interference relating to highway and airport developments, claims for industrial illness and disease cases including asbestos related illnesses as well as product liability, major accident and disaster cases.

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Your questions answered

How will the compensation be assessed?

 

Compensation for a claim under the Land Compensation Act is assessed in relation to the property value and the loss and disruption caused by the physical factors listed above. Compensation is assessed at a certain ‘snap shot’ in time, one year after completion and first use of the new or altered public works.

Do I need to instruct a Land Compensation Act solicitor?

 

Disputes concerning Part I of the act claims are determined by the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) which is a Court of Law. There are strict statutory provisions that apply to claims under the Act which if not complied with can prevent you pursuing a claim. We, therefore, strongly recommend that solicitors are appointed and legal advice sought from the outset of a claim being notified to a responsible authority.

If you are affected by a scheme of public works and you would like more information in relation to pursuing a claim under Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act please contact us by completing our enquiry form.

How can I fund a claim?

 

At Hugh James solicitors we appreciate that it is often difficult to fund legal actions and so when possible and appropriate our environmental law solicitors are able to offer free initial specialist environmental law advice about starting a legal challenge.

Our skilled and experienced environmental law solicitors have handled many thousands of claims under the Land Compensation Act 1973 and we can arrange to deal with suitable claims on a no win, no fee basis.

Quotes

Gwen Evans specialises in acting for claimants in group actions relating to environmental pollution. She recently represented a community in a nuisance claim due to dust fallout from a steel plant. One market source said: ‘She gets through a lot of detail very quickly and is unflappable.’

Chambers and Partners UK

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I and 130 of my neighbours have had cause to engage ‘Hugh James’ to deal with a current problem that is ongoing at the moment and have found their professionalism and assistance in all matters so far to be of a very high standard. They seem to be tenacious, approachable and responsive to any concerns I have had throughout and for such a service I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone whom may find that they have to embark on a similar path.

Anonymous client

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Hugh James recently successfully represented local residents in a difficult and major claim against a landfill operator. Throughout the case, we were extremely impressed by the way in which the case was presented and handled. The solicitor acting on our behalf fully explained our position, opportunities, and strategies, at all times displaying professionalism of the highest order. The pleasant, courteous and patient manner in which everything was fully and effectively explained contributed greatly to success in winning the difficult and complicated case.

Anonymous client

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