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Taller Mobile Phone Masts?

Is the relaxation of Permitted Development Rights (PDRs) the right way forward to support the deployment of 5G and extend mobile networks?

Report by Friends of the South Downs Policy Officer, Victor Ient

After some considerable research using my own telecommunications experience, updated by consulting engineers currently working in the mobile sector, I have submitted, on behalf of the Society, our opposition to the relaxation of permitted development rights to allow the unregulated installation of many more and taller* mobile phone masts in Areas of Special Landscape Importance including national parks. We believe there is a viable alternative to just simply relaxing the rules. We have put forward a 6 point plan for a less obtrusive deployment to the Government in our submission to the public consultation. Click here to see a copy of what we said: Response to PDRs

*The current restriction on the height of the masts is set at 82ft (25m) but it could be doubled to 165ft (50m) — almost exactly the same height as Nelson’s column.

Telecommunications Clutter in the Countryside

Unfettered development of masts in protected areas will be a disaster for our beautiful countryside. What is the point of providing the highest planning protection for National Parks when the area could be littered with telecommunications clutter?  Keeping the planning rules as they are would ensure mobile operators would effectively have to comply with the purposes of the National Parks and protected landscapes.

Lack of Mobile Strategy in the Countryside

Sadly, the government has not previously put forward a strategy for the provision of mobile telecommunications in the countryside.  Many of the problems of the 1980s, when mobile base stations were first deployed, still exist today.  Figures differ, but it is quite clear that there are many areas where 4G is currently not available.