Advice: Farmers' rights if their lands are subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order
Q: I am a farmer in the West of Ireland and depend on the land completely to make a living. I have heard some talk of a local bypass and I am worried that my land might be taken by a Compulsory Purchase Order. I don't want to sell my land and I am very concerned about this. What do I need to know about Compulsory Purchase Orders, and can I stop the local authority from taking my land in this way?
A The issue of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) will always be a complex one as it tries to balance the public good with the private right to own property.
Certain statutory bodies can take land by means of a CPO without the consent of the landowners. These type of orders are usually used when there is a development of public infrastructure - for example, a road or an urban renewal project.
The legal process involved in compulsory purchases is very complex. It has evolved over a period of 200 years and there is a large amount of case law where the Courts have, over the years, attempted to clarify different aspects of the law in relation to CPOs.
The CPO for road schemes consists of a map or series of maps showing (outlined in red and coloured grey) the lands to be acquired together with a schedule which gives details of ownership of property/land and, where appropriate, lessees and occupiers.
The map and schedules go on display in the offices of the local authority for a period of not less than one month. Persons who have an interest in the land, the subject matter of the Order, have a period of not less than two weeks after the end of the period for inspection within which they can object to An Bord Pleanála in relation to the CPO scheme.
If An Bord Pleanála confirm the CPO scheme, an application for judicial review of the decision may be made to the High Court within eight weeks of the date of publication of the notice of confirmation of the scheme by An Bord Pleanála.
If your land is going to be subject to a CPO, you will receive/be served with a 'notice to treat'. There is also a requirement for notices to be placed in newspapers.