Challenges of Planning and Management of Power Wayleaves in Urban Areas: Case of Grogan B – Korogocho

Abstract
Electricity is generated at power stations around the country and then transmitted from the
power stations through a national network of electricity lines which operate at high voltage.
Power lines are the superhighways upon which the transmission of high voltage electric energy
depends. Like any highway, this complex system of power lines ought to be maintained in order
to assure safe and reliable service. For effective operation of these power lines, they require a
mandatory easement of land to reduce their interference with human land use activities and also
the safety risks brought about by the same power lines as per the Wayleaves Act (Cap 292).
This study investigates the challenges of planning and maintenance of power wayleaves in
urban areas. Presently, Kenya is experiencing rapid urbanization and thus there is an increase
in the growth of her urban population. The demand for housing facilities far exceeds its supply
making housing very expensive in urban areas. The urban poor settle on power wayleave zones
as they provide a cheaper housing alternative.
This study describes in some detail those location requirements and standards of electric
transmission lines which have a bearing upon the use of land. It is observed that public utility
land uses are always in conflict with other land uses especially residential land use. It describes
the required standards of planning for power wayleaves as stipulated by the Physical Planning
Handbook and the Wayleaves Act.
A specific examination of the power wayleave zone situation in Grogan B village of Korogocho
was carried out. The field survey involved various data collection techniques such as interviews
and direct observation. The field study revealed that the power wayleave zone in Grogan B has
been heavily encroached. Residents have built both residential and commercial structure just
under the high voltage power transmission lines. All this has been done with little regard to their
own safety. The study also went ahead to examine the social and economic conditions that face
the residents of the village. In as much as they are illegal settlers, they lack basic services that
are vital for survival. The residents have poor housing facilities, their access to clean water is
limited, the sanitary conditions in the village are very poor, they have limited access to medical
services, etc.
This report proposes various recommendations that are aimed at resolving the conflicts along
the wayleave zone. The proposals include; relocation of the informal settlers, enforcement of
development control measures, slum upgrading and redevelopment programs, etc.
This study looks in detail the issue of informal settlements in urban areas. It traces the
emergence of informal settlements in Kenya and their impacts to the urban fabric. Informal
settlers are illegal settlers with no security of tenure. The most obvious solution to the informal
settlement problem was initially thought to be eviction. Presently, it has increasingly become
difficult to evict informal settlers. Different interest groups have advocated for alternative
measures other than eviction. Korogocho is one of the informal settlements with ongoing plans
of the slum upgrading programme. It will be interesting to observe how encroached power
wayleaves will be taken care of under such programmes.

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