Landowners urged to take professional advice on telecom masts.

Farmers and landowners are being urged by the CAAV (Central Association of Agricultural Valuers) and NFU to take professional advice before signing new or updated contracts with telecoms firms.

Many of the main operators of telecoms masts have been reviewing their sites and looking for ways to reduce costs.  Some are sharing sites with other operators, while others are seeking rent reductions, even though a rent review might not be due under the terms of the lease.

"The telecoms world has been through a lot of change and re-structuring recently," said NFU rural surveyor Louise Staples. "There is a very significant push to reduce their operating costs by reducing the overall number of masts and by paying less rent for the ones they keep. In practice there is almost always a written lease agreement which in many cases will only permit rent reviews at certain times and may not allow early termination at all."

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