Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill

Written evidence submitted by Notcutts Limited (PSTIB14)

The "Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill"

I am writing on behalf of Notcutts Limited who are primarily operators of retail garden centres but who also have 5 telecommunications masts on our land.

The changes which have already been inflicted on landowners already go far too far;  extending the power and reach of the operators further is verging on immoral. The legislation is serving simply to empower the operators, who are profit making commercial organisations, to simply bully smaller landlords.

Perhaps if operators concentrated on building a more efficient customer focused service this would better serve their profitability and ability to expand their networks rather than their employment of the offhand and bullying tactics they instead hide behind legislation to employ

Their presence on land and buildings is inflicted and no longer consensual. Their rents have dropped by over 80%. Nobody wants to have a phone mast on their land or building now whereas prior to the last reforms perception was more positive

None of this serves a growth environment for the industry.We have only a small number of masts on our land yet we receive several approaches every week for access arrangements/ maintenance visits often changed several times – all of which involve administrative time and cost on our part – detracting from getting on with our core business which is in no way adequately compensated. They are not as one can only assume Government assumes –non intrusive and non time demanding additions to a landowner’s portfolio.

Historically masts have been allowed on land through open negotiation between landlords who have been happy to have them in return for a small income which was reflective of the benefit to the operator and thus also the inconvenience to the landowner – market forces worked in the past but are now not being allowed to function.

The situation your legislation is creating is non democratic and one of a ‘bullying’ environment leading to resentment and signals long, lengthy and numerous disputes. As such it is not conducive to a rapid roll out of further infrastructure which would be achieved with a more balanced and fair approach which recognised the important part landowners play.

Not only should these new reforms not be implemented but rather the impact of the previous reforms should be properly reviewed as a priority and we ask you to reject the current bill and instead to review the impacts of your previous reforms which are simply not working

Erica McDonald

Property Portfolio Manager

March 2022.

 

Prepared 18th March 2022