With an increasing number of major public projects underway, such as the dualling of the A9 and A96, many rural landowners are being faced with the prospect of compulsory purchase.

For major projects, there is usually an ongoing programme of public consultation events and if you are worried that your property might be at risk of compulsory purchase at some stage in the future, make sure you attend the relevant public exhibitions and drop in events and take the opportunity to raise your concerns with the project team and ask for more information about the likely impact on your property. Engaging at an early stage can be beneficial and may bring an issue to the attention of the project team which might otherwise be overlooked.

Additional information is often available online. Transport Scotland publishes the design drawings and draft orders for all of its major projects on its website.

If you have received letters or notices that state that your property is likely to be affected, it is essential to make sure you have a full understanding of the proposals. A land agent with experience in compulsory purchase work can help you and we can suggest some agents with suitable experience. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us and we can give you some early advice about your options.

It is far better to consider your options before you receive a notice that a Compulsory Purchase Order (“CPO”) is being made since at that stage you may be able to get amendments to the design or proposals made which minimise the impact on your land or business.

It can be both daunting and confusing to receive formal notification that your land, or even home, may be subject to a CPO.

The notices advising that a CPO is to be made are often accompanied by other formal notifications for side orders relating to road closures. Road closures can include closing private roads and farm and stock underpasses and can include the rerouting of accesses which can have a major impact on your business.

It is important to take time to review the paperwork received and, in particular, note the deadline for lodging an objection. The objection period can be as little as 21 days from the date notice is given. If an objection is to be put forward, swift action will be required

If you receive a notice that your property will be affected by a CPO, we strongly recommend that you seek our advice.

You may wish to lodge an objection to the CPO and we can discuss with you whether it is in your interest to do so. However, unless an objection is lodged on time, then that opportunity will be missed.

Following the objection period, the acquiring authority will normally contact objectors to try and resolve their objections where that is possible. On large scale projects, it is unlikely that all objections will be resolved and the remaining objections will then be considered at a public local inquiry or hearing. The inquiry provides objectors with the opportunity to be heard and the CPO will not proceed until the reporter has set out his or her conclusions and recommendations and a decision is then taken on whether or not the CPO will be made, with or without modifications.