The right to light has always been a complex and confusing area of law in the UK. In order to bring more certainty to the subject, the Law Commission undertook a consultation process in 2012/2013. As a result, the Commission has published a draft Right to Light (Injunctions) Bill, which aims to clarify and simplify this dispute-ridden area.
The principal proposed measures are:
- a statutory system for the payment of damages in appropriate circumstances instead of the compulsory demolition of a building or preventing a development;
- changes to the circumstances under which a 'prescriptive right' (right by use) of light can be prevented by landowners; and
- a new procedure under which the owners of land potentially affected by a development can be served with a notice requiring them to indicate their intention to apply for an injunction to protect their rights on the ground of deprivation of light.
The Lands Chamber is also to be given the right to modify or discharge obsolete rights to light.