Rights to light

In March of this year we updated you on the settlement of the Heaney case. This concerned an injunction obtained by a neighbour, requiring two floors of a commercial building in Leeds to be removed because they infringed the neighbour’s right to light. This was seen as a blow to developers who are concerned that the decision will cause increased uncertainty and an escalation of the costs of development.

The Law Commission announced this week that they are to investigate whether the acquisition and enforcement of rights to light are appropriately balanced between those benefiting from the rights and those proposing development. The scope of the Law Commission’s investigation will also consider the inter-relationship between rights to light and the planning system.

The investigation is to commence in early 2012 with a consultation paper being published the following year.

A review of the law surrounding rights to light will be most welcome by developers who have long said rights to light can be a hindrance to development. Whether the Law Commission’s findings result in a change to the current law and how long before the law is changed remains to be seen.

This article first appeared in Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service, and has been reproduced with their permission. For more information about Law-Now, click here.