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Message 1 of 8

Wayleave advice please


We've ordered FTTP. Openreach called at our property and said that a neighbours tree would need to be trimmed in order for the cable to be fitted - the existing phone and electricty lines already cross our neighbours garden, but their tree has since grown. Openreach gave me a 'permission to dig' form for them to sign.

The neighbours home is a holiday home which they very rarely visit and try as I might I cannot get in touch with them - I've written a couple of polite letters and asked them to call me if they have any problems or questions. Nothing as yet. 

I've since been told…

We were previously advised a permission to dig was required, however it has come to light that a wayleave is required instead. The information from the engineers unfortunately has not been clear so BT Openreach have struggled to determined the permission type required. Normally permission to dig work is standard on FTTP orders and is normally sufficient, however as the neighbour is refusing to allow the engineers to work across the property line we believe this has now entered into wayleave.    

Does anyone know if there is a solution if a neighbour refuses to sign? Are Openreach obliges to find a different solution - perhaps routing the cable elsewhere?


Jim Bach

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Message 2 of 8

Re: Wayleave advice please

Do you know what Openreach actually want to do because trimming a tree doesn't seem to be related to permission to dig. If a wayleave is required then with the current set up there should have been one already in place.
I reckon the dig aspect may be misleading if the FTTP is actually being run from the pole rather than underground.

I think you need to tell the neighbours that the tree has grown too much and needs to be trimmed to avoid fouling the existing cables. Tell them that access will be required to do this and give them a deadline to object. Make sure you make it clear that only the tree will be trimmed and there will be no digging - obviously the trimming will also need to satisfy the FTTP routing requirements subject to what Openreach want to do.

Here is a link about wayleaves from the Openreach site

If your neighbour digs his heels in then Openreach may have to dig around the property to the place where you gain access - whether or not they will do this is uncertain. Or they could possibly erect a pole with a clear line of sight / doesn't need to go over the problem property but again that may not be possible.

It's a very tricky situation but getting the tree trimmed using the argument about fouling existing cabling should be the best way and may have the best chance of succeeding.

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Message 3 of 8

Re: Wayleave advice please

Makes no sense, a Permission to Dig is a consent form for Openreach to dig a hole.

Never have I seen it used to get Permission to trim trees.

If Openreach need the trees to be trimmed and the neighbour refuses there not much they can do about it.

I don’t think obtaining a Wayleave will help as BT only have a USO to Provide people a Telephone Service and not Internet.

It might be a case that they’ll need to do additional Network Build to Provide you Service like putting up one or more new poles so it doesn’t have to go over your neighbours property.
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Message 4 of 8

Re: Wayleave advice please

We were originally told…

Open Reach have confirmed that the step 1 engineers have attended (Contractor - Lightsource), They have confirmed step 1 couldn't be completed as extensive tree cutting is required as this is in the line of sight of the cabling. The tree is located on your neighbours property and Open Reach would require permission to access this.

They send me a 'Permissions Form' for our neighbours to sign, but the form only has options for 'excavate on private property', 'drill through external walls' and 'drill through floors'. I replied that I didnt think the neighbour would sign such a form when there was no mention of tree cutting. They replied 'I would recommend on your neighbour filling out the form and maybe writing where they give permission for the work to be done'.

I've sent the neighbour two forms, including SAEs, and explained the situation, but havent heard back from them. As I said, the house is a their second home and they are rarely there - I've never seen them, but my letters have gone from their porch! 

I think you're right about a final letter telling them that the tree is fouling existing cables and give them a deadline. That way I can let openreach know if the deadline passes and we can take it from there.

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Message 5 of 8

Re: Wayleave advice please

I've heard today that the neighbours are in touch with openreach and are bartering about how much money they want from openreach to allow them to work over their property. Do openreach have to pay people to allow someone elses cables to run across their property? Sounds a bit odd to me. Oh well, at least they are in communication. 

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Message 6 of 8

Re: Wayleave advice please

Technically the neighbours are asking for payment for access rights which they are entitled to do.

If the tree is fouling the existing cables then access to fix that could be made by Openreach without having to pay.

When you find out how much they want , if you really need the FTTP you could ask what Openreach will pay and if there is a shortfall which is acceptable to you then you could tell Openreach you will fund that - you should do all this via Openreach if possible. Also the payment should mean that Openreach will have in perpetuity access rights for future problems.

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Message 7 of 8

Re: Wayleave advice please

It surprises me that they don't sign it without any fuss. After all, our electricity and phone line already pass over their garden. Fingers crossed it can be sorted soon. 

Good idea to pay the shorfall if there is any.

Thanks for the help so far.

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Message 8 of 8

Re: Wayleave advice please

I think the neighbours have been a bit spooked by the digging aspect which a lot of people would be put off about and seeing that it may be a possibility even if a remote one then all they are doing is trying to get some reassurance or compensation for any future digging works - blame Openreach for opening that can of worms.