Planning Control for Mobile Phone Masts

April 23, 2007 6:00 PM
Mobile Phone Mast

Mark is fighting to tighten the regulations on mobile phone mast planning

Local MP Mark Hunter has co-sponsored a bill presented to Parliament by the Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Andrew Stunell on 28th March 2007. This bill aims to bring mobile phone masts under strict planning control and bring in the 'precautionary principle, giving safeguards for schools, homes and medical facilities from the risk of excessive radiation. The Telecommunications Mast (Planning Control) Bill would allow local authorities to refuse planning permission on health grounds and the industry would have to produce more evidence about the radiation emitted.

Currently telecommunications companies can erect masts without going through the full planning procedure. All they have to do is put one A4 notice up near to the site, ignoring local residents' concerns and dis-empowering local councillors.

Many people have genuine and legitimate concerns about the adverse effects on their health from mobile phone masts close to schools, hospitals and homes. The Stewart Report concluded that health issues had not yet been resolved and that a 'precautionary approach' should be used when considering the siting of masts.

Speaking after the bill was presented Mark said: "Every week, people are shocked to find a mobile phone mast suddenly appearing behind the garden or next to a local school or hospital. I know from my correspondence that this has happened on many occasions in our area and both upsets and worries residents.

There needs to be stricter controls on where mobile phone masts can be placed, especially where they are near homes, schools or hospitals. The public needs to be involved in the consultation over where these masts are placed, and their wishes and views should not be ignored. I'm deeply disappointed that after ten years in office this Government has not seen fit to remove the special dispensation given to mobile phone operators by the previous Conservative Government. Let's just hope that the Government now does not again try to block this bill and supports us in this attempt to tighten up the regulation on mobile phone mast planning."

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