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Commercial Property Solicitors in Preston are finding that it is increasingly common for energy firms to approach landowners to ask whether they can use a section of their land for renewable set-ups such as anaerobic digestion equipment. The growth of the renewable industry coupled with the ever-increasing pressure placed on farmers to make an income has meant that some farmers are being prompted to think creatively. 
I mention anaerobic digestion in particular as farmers face pressure from the Government’s Nitrate Vulnerable Zone action programme which requires farmers to have sufficient storage for up to six months’ worth of slurry. The requirement for increased storage means some farmers are choosing anaerobic digestion as an option for manure management and in doing this some groups of farmers are choosing to collaborate and invest in income-generating anaerobic digestion schemes. However, I cannot stress the importance of getting the legalities agreed and dealt with before you grant anyone the right to use your land even if it is “just temporarily”. Don’t be pressurised in to signing anything in order to “qualify for a better deal” or whatever other sales pitch you are given. 

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In some sad cases landowners are agreeing to leases which bind them to sell the land at a later date if the developer gets the relevant regulatory approval. Such leases are often disguised as “option agreements” or “option contracts”. Other Leases we have seen include terms which leave the landowners open to any potential environmental liability in the future or restrictions over the use of their own land in the future. 
Any landowners or farmers who have already been approached either by Anaerobic Digestion companies or indeed renewable energy companies looking to place wind or solar energy equipment on their land are strongly recommended to seek specialist legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity and to ensure that they do not do anything until a legal professional has read through the agreement or Heads of Terms. Contact our team now via or call 01995 602 129. 
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