Compulsory purchase orders and acquiring authorities: guidance on CPO use

CPOGNAA/001 First in a series of guidance notes intended to provide information for acquiring authorities with no, or limited experience of compulsory purchase on how to use CPOs.

1. Acquiring Authorities

1.1. Acquiring Authorities for the purpose of this guidance are defined as those bodies specifically empowered by an act of Parliament to purchase land compulsorily for purposes related to their function. This includes:

  • Local Authorities and other public service providers (e.g. NHS Boards);
  • Utility Companies (such as Energy Transmission Companies and Scottish Water);
  • Scottish Government Executive Agencies, (such as Transport Scotland), and Non Departmental Public Bodies (such as Scottish Canals).

1.2. Network Rail can also be empowered to purchase land compulsorily through a separate process under the Transport and Work (Scotland) Act 2007, or can work in partnership with another Acquiring Authority to acquire land needed for infrastructure projects.

1.3. Telecommunications and Defence are reserved matters for the UK Government. Telephone/Broadband companies and UK Government Departments (such as the Ministry of Defence) will therefore follow the compulsory purchase procedures set out in UK legislation. The English/Welsh system is broadly similar, although some aspects of the process and how compensation is assessed do vary.

1.4. UK government guidance on compulsory purchase can be found at:


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