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Published 12 febrero 2020
The Lands Tribunal for Scotland has recently published its first Guidance Note for claims made under the new Electronic Communications Code, forming Schedule 3A of the Communications Act 2003 (as amended) (the “ECC”).
The Note has been issued in response to the number of Applications that have started coming through the Tribunal’s doors since the ECC came into force in December 2017, and in light of the six month statutory deadline for determination of certain types of ECC Applications that the Tribunal should adhere to1.
The Guidance Note provides some welcome clarification on how ECC Applications are to be approached in Scotland, as well as bringing the procedural elements of ECC claims more in line with our English and Welsh neighbours in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).
It also shows that the Tribunal is looking more to decided cases in England and Wales for guidance on approaching claims under the ECC in Scotland. This gives operators and landowners involved with the ECC a good indicator that the precedents set south of the border so far will likely be followed in any Scottish Applications going forward.
It remains to be seen however if, by imposing a strict default timetable and given the sixth month statutory deadline, the Tribunals (both north and south of the border) have, at present, the capacity to deal with any significant volume of applications. It is hoped, in time, that we will see more interim ECC applications decided not just at the First Hearing but perhaps on the papers alone as process and procedure becomes more “business as usual”. This would certainly help facilitate and accelerate the deployment of sites in more rural areas where providing comprehensive connectivity has always been a significant challenge for mobile network operators.
A copy of the Guidance Note can be found on the Tribunal’s website, accessible here.
1The Electronic Communications and Wireless Telegraphy Regulations 2011
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