Public Easement for Utility Works Siting

26.09.2018

Legal Update No. 652

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP presents the first of four updates on the August 2018 legal developments. In this update, we focus on public easement, a new legislative concept introduced by Federal Law No. 341-FZ dated 3 August 2018 (chapter V.7 of the Land Code of the Russian Federation) for such specific purposes as:

  1. Siting utility works (power grid and heating works, gas supply and other types of linear facility);
  2. Storing construction materials and erecting temporary or auxiliary structures for publicly significant transport infrastructures under construction;
  3. Building road or rail junctions with other public roads or rail routes;
  4. Road and railway tunnelling;
  5. Certain engineering surveys.

This tool will clearly be used most extensively in utility works construction as it offers some significant advantages over the existing mechanisms for laying linear facilities (such as a “traditional” servitude under articles 274 - 277 of the Russian Civil Code, easement over publicly owned land plots under chapter V.3 of the Russian Land Code, etc.). Specifically:

  • The new “special” public easement applies to both publicly owned and private land plots, whether free from or encumbered by third party rights.
  • Subject to quite specific criteria set out by the Law, the will of right holders to encumbered land plots may be overridden. For instance, a utility pipe may be laid across third party land plots if the contemplated route section running across free land is more than twice as long.
  • No land plots or parts of land plots are created for building utility works. The public easement boundaries are recorded on the Property Register under almost the same rules as special use or territorial zones.

Importantly, the new “special” public easement may also be used to formalise land rights for existing utility works subject to the rights to them arising before 1 September 2018 (article 3.6. Federal Law “On Enactment of the Land Code of the Russian Federation”.

To sum it up, the balance of interests between holders of rights to land plots and linear facility builders are shifted somewhat in the latter’s favour. So our forecast is that the new mechanism will find extensive application once all the requisite regulations are in place.

In a week, we will cover the key developments in establishing special use zones. 

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