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Compulsory purchase & compensation

Brown&Co acts for landowners and occupiers in all aspects of compulsory purchase, providing advice on all legal, practical and compensation impacts. 

Whether the scheme involves pipes, wires, roads or flood alleviation, our experienced team will ensure that you and your interests are correctly represented to minimise disruption and maximise compensation. 

Why choose Brown&Co?

With a wealth of experience in all aspects of compulsory purchase for a wide variety of infrastructure schemes, Brown&Co. have the knowledge and expertise to ensure property owners’ interests are best represented throughout the process and to negotiate optimal terms to protect them and their properties. Brown&Co’s professional services, including advising on legal, practical and compensation matters, will minimise the disruption of a Compulsory Purchase Order and maximise compensation payable. 


What is a compulsory acquisition of land in the UK?

Should a body be defined under the relevant Act of Parliament as having compulsory purchase powers and require land to be acquired for a purpose also specified in the law, then a Compulsory Purchase Order will be made to the ‘confirming authority’ (usually the relevant government minister or an appointed inspector) who will confirm that the rights are exercisable in the circumstances.

Once confirmed, the acquiring authority can implement the CPO; ownership is then transferred, and occupation of the land or property can be taken.

What is a Compulsory Purchase Order for land?

A Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) is a legal process allowing certain bodies, known as ‘acquiring authorities’, to obtain land or acquire rights over or interests in property without the consent of the registered owner.

What is the difference between a CPO and DCO?

Development Consent Orders (DCOs) were introduced under the Planning Act 2008 and are used for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) such as airports, major road projects and large renewable energy schemes. DCOs were introduced to streamline the process of largescale development by incorporating the granting of compulsory acquisition powers as part of the planning permission.

DCO applications are made to the Planning Inspectorate who make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State before a decision approving or rejecting the project is made. Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects generally undertake extensive rounds of public and statutory consultation to inform the DCO application.

Who has compulsory purchase powers?

Public bodies are afforded powers of compulsory purchase to allow them to deliver their statutory functions. Examples include, utility companies, highway authorities and local planning authorities.

Compulsory purchase powers are designed to deliver development projects in the public interest, therefore, there are certain circumstances where compulsory purchase powers are made available to private companies.

What regulation governs the compulsory purchase of land ?

Powers to compulsorily acquire land are governed by various statues, known as enabling Acts, depending on the body seeking to obtain the land or rights over a property and the purpose for which the acquisition is required.

General provisions for the procedure and compensation are also found under statute including the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965 and the Acquisition of Land Act 1981.

Can you refuse compulsory purchase?

Once a Compulsory Purchase Order has been confirmed, the acquiring authority can implement it to become the legal owner and a landowner has no power to refuse. However, most bodies will approach landowners and attempt to negotiate voluntary agreements before exercising rights of compulsory acquisition. It can be valuable to engage with acquiring authorities as more favourable terms can often be agreed when cooperative discussions take place.

How much compensation do you get for compulsory purchase?

Assessment of losses and amount of compensation payable is governed by the ‘Compensation Code’, the fundamental principle of which is equivalence: i.e. through financial settlement an impacted party should be left in no worse, or better, a position than that which they would have been in had the compulsory purchase not taken place.

Heads of claim for compensation are generally standard and include the value of the land taken, severance and injurious affection and disturbance. It is also standard practice for acquiring authorities to cover agent fees for impacted parties.

Land Agent, Divisional Partner

St Neots



Partner, Land Agency


Land Agent, Divisional Partner

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