| Guide | Commercial Landowners

Ask the Experts – EV Charging Land Rights Guide

Tim Johnson, Head of Sales at Mer – Public Charging, discusses the key steps to the land rights process when installing EV charge points.

Case Study – Mer Helps Blue Diamond Grow Greener with Destination EV Charging

To be able to energise new electric vehicle charge points when a customer agrees to partner with us, the customer must sign some legal documents before Mer can install their charge points.  

We caught up with Tim Johnson, Head of Sales at Mer – Public Charging, to find out more about: 

  • What land rights are 
  • What process we follow when working with a customer 
  • Who deals with the land rights procedure 

What are ‘land rights’, and why are they so important?

If we are installing EV charging infrastructure at a site, we need to connect the chargers to the grid to supply the power to energise the charge points. For this to happen, the landowner requires a separate agreement with the ‘district network operator. This agreement is vital, as the ‘district network operator’ will not energise the connection without the access agreement in place.  

District Network Operators

Whilst companies like Bryt, our sister company, supply energy, others are responsible for the delivery and distribution of the energy. 

District Network Operators, or DNOs, are responsible for the ongoing operation of all electrical transfer infrastructure. This includes all underground and overhead cabling (commonly known as ‘the grid’) which transports power from its generation source to our buildings and homes. They are responsible for ensuring this provision of energy reaches where it needs to be, and any disruption in power is repaired as a matter of urgency.  

In the UK, there are 14 district networks, and six DNOs. 

DNOs and EV charging

DNOs are bound by a service level agreement (known as an SLA), which requires them to act within a pre-agreed timeframe should there ever be an issue with their infrastructure.  Should an issue arise, it is the responsibility of the DNO to locate and repair the issue.  

Because of this SLA, the DNO need to ensure they have uninterrupted access to all of their equipment at any given time. Because their cables/ equipment can be found under the ground/ behind the fence of private property, the DNO require the right to enter site/dig up the ground (should it be required), to service and repair any issue with the cable as and when its needed. 

The land rights are in the form of a wayleave, easement or sublease, and grants the DNO this required permission to service the cable without having to ask for permission from the landowner at the time an issue arises. The DNO will not energise a cable until they have the land rights in place to ensure they have this permission, meaning the chargers will not be operated until this agreement has been signed. 

Land rights are only applicable to an install project with an independent power connection, often a public charging provision. 

What is the land rights process?

We will first agree the Heads of Terms. This document lays out the commercial terms of the agreement between Mer and the customer, allowing us to generate both the Agreement for Lease, as well as the full Lease document. 

In addition to signing an ‘agreement for lease’ (known as an AFL) and the lease agreement with Mer, the customer will also need to sign a land rights contract with our independent distribution network operator (known as an IDNO).  

The IDNO provides the power supply for the charge points. The customer’s agreement with our IDNO partner will allow them to energise the connection, by granting the required rights to service and maintain our grid connection. 

This agreement will be in the form of a wayleave or easement. This is necessary as whilst the customer’s agreement with Mer is around the supply, maintenance, and operation of charging, the IDNO is the partner that brings power to the site. The customer’s agreement with Mer is typically 15 years, whereas the agreement with the IDNO may be for longer. 

This means that following the end of your original contract term with Mer, the customer will have an existing contract for the power connection, and will have the ability to choose if you would like to adopt or terminate this connection, irrespective of what they do with the chargers. Alternatively, they can choose to continue your agreement with Mer. 

Who deals with land rights negotiations?


It is important to note that the land rights process, whilst complex, is not something for a customer or landowner to be concerned or worried about. With our extensive experience guiding customers through this vital stage in an EV charging project and our strong understanding of the legalities around land rights, Mer supports landowners and customers through the entire process.