Compulsory purchase—special categories of land
Compulsory purchase—special categories of land

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Compulsory purchase—special categories of land
  • Context
  • Statutory undertaker’s operational land—exclusion from CPO
  • Protection afforded
  • ‘Statutory undertakers’
  • Representation to appropriate Minister
  • Confirming CPO
  • Acquisition of rights over statutory undertaker’s land
  • Statutory undertaker’s operational land and local authority land—special parliamentary procedure
  • Protection afforded
  • More...


When an acquiring authority proposes, as part of a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to which the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 (ALA 1981) applies, to acquire any land or interests or create new rights over land which is afforded special protection, additional procedures and/or protections apply. The special categories of land which are afforded protection, and the procedures which must be followed in respect of each category of land, are set out in ALA 1981, Part III (in respect of the acquisition of land or interests), and ALA 1981, Sch 3, Pt I (in respect of the acquisition of rights over land by the creation of new rights) and discussed below. In England, the Guidance on Compulsory Purchase Process and The Crichel Down Rules (the CPO Guidance) provides advice on how those provisions are to be applied in practice.

It is vital that land afforded special protection is identified early on in the CPO process, and that negotiations with the owners of such land are commenced as early as possible and in earnest, to acquire the land/interests/rights by agreement. In some circumstances the presence of special categories of land and unsuccessful negotiations to acquire it by agreement may mean that a decision must be made to exclude such land from the CPO, either because it is not possible to acquire such interests compulsorily, or because

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