Working with us

We have a range of processes in place to help cable and pipeline operators meet their business objectives.

The Crown Estate’s permission to enter onto the seabed to install, operate, maintain, repair and decommission cables and pipelines is granted through a seabed Licence. Occupation of any site and performance of works cannot commence until such a legal agreement is in place.

It typically takes between three and six months to complete the application process and we ask applicants to give sufficient time for the legal documents to be agreed well in advance of installation. There is no constraint on when applications can be made to The Crown Estate. An Option Agreement can be granted in advance of the Licence and this gives rights over the Option Area and sets out the conditions which the developer must meet to step into the Licence.

We are supported by two companies: Powis Hughes, who act on our behalf as managing agent on a number of transactions, including rent reviews; and Bond Dickinson who act as our solicitors.

If you have any questions please get in touch with one of the team, using the contact details opposite.

The Crown Estate’s Licence terms are updated from time to time where necessary. Our fees have been set following consultation with the industry and third party experts such as the Valuation Office Agency. Fees are charged consistently save where specific circumstances merit a slight departure. Further information on our fees is contained in the Heads of Terms documents available from the ‘Useful documents’ module (opposite). As is common practice, The Crown Estate’s reasonable legal and professional fees will be recovered from the applicant.

The Licensee is liable for its structures and works on the seabed, and is required to remove apparatus when no longer in use. Cables and pipelines are to be decommissioned in accordance with applicable legislation. The Crown Estate acknowledges that in some circumstances the removal of a cable or pipeline section may be prohibited by statutory licensing authorities if, for example, the environmental impact of the removal of a cable or pipeline contravenes environmental legislation. Where residual cable and pipeline sections remain, liability will continue with the Licence holder.

Parties seeking our permission for rights to lay submarine telecoms cables will be required to prepare a decommissioning plan and you can find specific guidance on this via the 'Useful documents' module.

Offshore wind farms and cable crossing agreements; when subsea electricity export cable(s) from an offshore wind farm directly cross or enter the restriction zones of permitted subsea cables or pipelines of a third party, the owner of the wind farm export cables will usually be required to obtain the written consent of that pre-existing third party. This is to ensure the crossed party's legal interests are protected and that The Crown Estate has complied with any obligations under the interests it has granted to third parties in/over its seabed/foreshore. For further details please see our dedicated webpage.