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Trenches Law’s 14 highlights from 2023

As we bid farewell to 2023, Trenches Law takes a moment to reflect on the milestones and successes that have defined our journey over the past year. From empowering the next generation to advancing in legal consultation, to new appointments, industry recognition, and fostering community connections, join us as we revisit some of the key moments that have shaped our path.

1. Banging the drum for wayleaves in the EV space

Extending our expertise beyond telecoms, we’ve continued to actively support the EV space by emphasising the crucial role of wayleave agreements for installing EV charge points — an often overlooked obstacle. As advocates for progress and sustainability, we’ve consistently highlighted this issue, aiming to spark conversations that address the need for charging infrastructure development. Our commitment remains unwavering in bridging the gap and fostering a smoother transition to widespread EV adoption.

Learn more about the importance of wayleaves for EV charging infrastructure

2. Championing learning and development progress 

Since joining as business partner for HR and learning in April 2022, Phill Stockdale-Woodhead has made significant strides in augmenting our internal and external training facilities, expanding our wellbeing initiatives, and more. As we celebrated Phill’s one-year anniversary, we took pride in reflecting on the substantial progress achieved under his leadership. 

We’ve also proudly supported two colleagues in pursuing apprenticeships alongside their roles this year. Lisa Hearn, finance manager, is on track to achieve her AAT qualification by May 2024. Simultaneously, Alex Lawrence, a paralegal, embarked on a six-year journey towards becoming a fully fledged solicitor, proving it’s never too late to pivot in your career if there’s something you’re truly passionate about.

Catch up on Lisa’s journey here, and Alex’s ambitions here.

3. Sharing more client success stories

A series of collaborative client triumphs contributed to our growth this year, with a number of notable successes making their way onto our website. We penned various highlights, including: how our wayleave expertise helped WightFibre connect the Isle of Wight to fibre-optic broadband, and supported Ogi with ongoing roll-outs in south Wales; the role of agile commercial legal counsel in supporting disruptive altnet Digital Infrastructure, as well as tech startup Adroit Cloud Consulting; the lasting impact of wayleave training in empowering altnets Lightning Fibre and Zzoomm to overcome barriers to engagement. We were also proud to support Complete Fibre and Orbit with the deployment of hyper-fast ‘plug and play’ broadband infrastructure to blocks of flats across the south east.

Explore our full case study library.

4. Joining the WISPA advisory board

In a significant development, Sharon McDermott, our co-founder and managing director, was appointed to the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) advisory board in March. After three years of Trenches’ active membership, Sharon now stands among seven industry experts lending their expertise at the highest level to help maximise opportunities for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) Gigabit Britain, and support the progression of UK homes and business.

Delve deeper into Sharon’s role on the board

5. Collaborating on the National Parks Accord

In a collaborative effort by four parties — including Building Digital UK, National Parks England, Openreach and Trenches Law — the ‘National Parks Accord’ revolutionised the delivery of next-generation broadband in England’s ten National Parks. This standardised approach, covering everything from network planning requirements to environmental impact assessments, addressed the telecommunications industry’s hunger for breaking barriers, reducing risks, and streamlining network rollouts while ensuring the preservation of natural landscapes. 

Delve deeper behind the National Parks Accord

6. Spotlighting more voices for the ‘barrier busting’ series

After kickstarting our ‘barrier busting’ series in 2022, we were pleased to add a number of new voices into the mix this year to help organisations accelerate their roll-outs. Expert commentary came from Tim Mercer, CEO of cloud specialists Vapour, on how innovation for innovation’s sake could hinder progress, Dean Checkley, CEO of leading network services provider Flomatik, on strengthening telecoms talent, and Louise Elliott, chief customer and operations officer at Digital Infrastructure and BeFibre, surrounding the jargon jungle plaguing the space.

Read more industry insights 

7. Holding our annual Trenches Fest celebration

Our team came together at Stapeley Manor Farm to kick off the team-wide Q2 event in July. With glasses raised, we celebrated Trenches’ sixth year of operation, reflecting on the significant milestones from the past 12 months. The gathering also provided an opportunity to acknowledge and mark the notable achievements of our dedicated employees during this period.

Explore the behind-the-scenes of the event

8. Welcoming a duo of work experience students

In July, Trenches Law welcomed JP and Henry from Salesian College, offering them a glimpse into the world of telecommunications and commercial law. Navigating through wayleave training, administrative duties, letter writing, and even joining the festivities of Trenches Fest, we aimed to make their exploration of career prospects both informative and enjoyable.

See how the pair got on, during their summer stint.

9. Being granted Code powers

After six years of obtaining Code powers for clients, September marked the beginning of our own consultation process. And in December, we were delighted to finally be able to share that our application has been successful. Serving as a neutral intermediary, we are committed to facilitating productive dialogues to simplify complex deployments in MDUs and MBUs. Trusted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority through our sister company Trenches Limited, we stand ready to streamline the process of obtaining wayleaves and making connection-ready networks truly accessible.

Explore our new capabilities

10. Appointing Simon Burckhardt as non-executive director 

Hot on the heels of our Code powers consultation announcement, Trenches proudly welcomed Simon Burckhardt as our non-executive director. With a wealth of experience at the board level and a deep understanding of the fibre sector, Simon plays a pivotal role in accelerating our plans to bridge the digital divide in MDUs and MBUs.

Learn more about Simon’s appointment

11. Attending industry events, old and new

We actively participated in various industry events, including the ISPA Parliament and Internet Conference, Connected North, the inaugural Connected America, London EV Show, and WISPA board meetings, to name a few. These gatherings provided valuable insights into the latest technology, internet policy issues, and regional connectivity challenges, shaping our perspective on making impactful developments in 2023 and beyond.

Watch this space for more updates to come

12. Making more awards shortlists

Acknowledging our commitment to a better-connected future, Trenches made it to the shortlists of prestigious awards, such as Connected Britain under the ‘Barrier Busting’ category. While Intelligens Consulting deservedly took the winning title, we were still proud to have made another finalists’ list.

Now in the runnings for next year’s Learning Excellence Awards, we’re eagerly anticipating the ceremony to see if we can secure a trophy for our internal and external development programmes. We couldn’t have done it without Phillip Stockdale-Woodhead Assoc.CIPD, our people business partner, who has worked hard to help revolutionise our internal development opportunities for employees, as well as bring a new dimension to our wayleave training support service for clients, alongside paralegal and trainee solicitor, Alex Lawrence.

Keep an eye on our LinkedIn page for the results

13. Sponsoring Salesian Football team’s USA tour

At Trenches, we value the importance of fostering community connections and supporting endeavours beyond the legal realm. As proud sponsors, we supported the Salesian College football team’s USA tour to California this summer.

Learn more about the overseas adventure

14. Joining quarterly for our team ‘away days’ 

Throughout the year, we have prioritised team cohesion with quarterly ‘away days’ held in Hampshire, Wales, and Leeds. These all-hands meetings facilitated face-to-face interaction, discussions on key business updates, and valuable insights from speakers on topics ranging from wellbeing and menopause to community liaison and perspective shifts, ensuring our team is well-equipped to face challenges and seize opportunities. 

We’re looking forward to the January get-together already!

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