News for Scotland

 Page 1 of 14   Next›  Last» 

MSP blasts telecoms giant for "ridiculous" behaviour as phone mast row rumbles on
Scotland Created: 17 Aug 2021
A telecoms giant seeking to build a controversial mobile phone mast in the heart of a Cambuslang community have been accused of "ridiculous" behaviour by only giving locals just over a week to respond to their plans.

H3G, better known as Three, are looking to install a 65ft mast on Hallside Boulevard in Drumsagard, much to the concern of some residents, who fear it will become a blight on the landscape.

However H3G's contractor for the masts, WHP Telecoms Ltd, wrote to local councillors on July 18 asking for views on the proposal “prior to the submission of a formal planning application” and promptly made a formal application eight days later.

The company insist they have followed proper procedures with their application.

It is understood they had not received any replies from councillors to their letter, which was sent during the summer recess.

Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey told Lanarkshire Live she was incensed over the way the proposal has been handled.

She said: "I hear from constituents frequently that they want improved coverage in their area and, as we know, there is already established telecommunications infrastructure in local neighbourhoods.

“However, fundamentally, any new installation like this must be sited properly and companies must work with local communities.

"To give only an eight-day period for a pre-application engagement with residents, particularly at a time when many people are on holiday, is ridiculous and they are showing no courtesy to the people of Drumsagard."

Cambuslang East councillor Katy Loudon was also furious with the company.

She added: "Many residents have deep concerns about the plans for a mast – particularly as it is 20 metres tall, in a residential area.

"There are legitimate objections about the location of the proposal and the effect it would have on its surroundings.

"Clare and I would have been happy to work with the company to find a more suitable site. Instead, they’ve gone ahead with the formal application.

"All things considered, I oppose these plans."

It is understood the company believe the Hallside Boulevard site is the best choice to ensure the widest breadth of coverage.

A Three spokesperson said: "5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of Cambuslang. We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this site will be critical to making that happen.

“We followed best practice throughout the consultation process including contacting the local councillors and local planning authority. We did not receive any objections here and therefore submitted a formal application.

"The local planning authority now has 56 days to decide, considering any objections it receives."
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Daily Record, Jonathan Geddes, 17 Aug 2021

New planning rules could allow for increased height of mobile phone masts
Scotland Created: 17 Oct 2020
An updated planning regime could see new ground-based mobile phone masts in Scotland being extended in height by five metres under draft proposals to change ‘permitted development rights’ legislation.

Existing laws governing the siting of digital communications infrastructure are set to be updated and could see ground based masts being extended to 30m in height, from the current 25m, “outside designated areas”, which include conservations areas, sites of special scientific interest, national parks and world heritage sites.

Updates to planning legislation around ‘priority development types’ were outlined in a new consultation document which has recently gone live on the Scottish Government website.

The consultation, which closes on November 12, makes clear that any increase in size of either new or pre-existing digital telecommunications infrastructure or equipment, which could bring about economic and climate change benefits, would have to be balanced against any environmental impacts, “particularly on sensitive areas”.

The consultation explains: “The Scottish Government is committed to reviewing permitted development rights (PDR) for digital communications infrastructure to assist in enhancing and rolling out vital and improved digital communications (e.g. the rollout of 5G) for all regions of Scotland. This has become even more important given our reliance on digital communications during the Covid-19 pandemic. The benefits of enhanced digital connectivity also result in less travel which contributes significantly towards climate change measures by reducing our carbon footprint.”

Among the aims of the proposals include the ability to:

- Increase existing size limits for PDR for digital infrastructure, i.e. new masts, extensions to existing masts, antennae and other equipment on buildings, equipment cabinets on the ground and on buildings, other apparatus, and underground equipment; and

- extend PDR for some types of digital infrastructure into sensitive areas, subject to lower size/height limits than elsewhere

In addition to new ground-based masts, the proposed updates to permitted development rights (PDR) would allow network operators to increase the size of existing masts beyond the current limits to improve mobile coverage or for maintenance purposes. Under the planned changes, which would apply to designated areas, the masts could be increased in height up to 30 metres (i.e. the same maximum height as for new masts..’) and also that ‘the increase should be limited to no more than 50% of the height of the original mast (whichever is the lower)’. The consultation outlines plans to allow existing masts which are above 30 metres in height to be increased to up to 50 metres in height.

Follow-up questions include whether mast size width should also be increased and whether replacement masts can be sited slightly further from existing locations; it also proposes extending dish antenna and other antenna systems on buildings and to ‘extend PDR beyond small antennas to cover small cell systems (small antennas and ancillary apparatus) on dwellinghouses and on all buildings in conservation areas’.

The full consultation is available here:
Click here to view the source article.
Source: FutureScot, Kevin OSullivan, 15 Oct 2020

Farmers warned against hasty mobile phone mast agreements
Scotland Created: 6 Aug 2020
FARMERS have been warned not to rush into signing new telephone mast deals until a key Scottish legal ruling is decided.

According to land agents Galbraith, over recent weeks mobile phone operators have been urging farmers to commit to lease renewal terms for existing mast sites on their properties in Scotland, in advance of a pending Lands Tribunal decision that could prohibit the contract terms they are proposing.

Galbraith warned that mobile operators are offering significantly lower payments than the current rents received from these sites, as well as their standard terms, which often change many aspects of the agreement in their favour. However, they are offering one-off inducement payments, often in excess of £10,000, to property owners on condition they sign these agreements soon.

This timescale is likely to be prior to an expected Lands Tribunal for Scotland decision on whether the mobile operators can legally demand a replacement lease under the new Electronic Communications Code, which is aimed at modernising the UK’s telecommunications system.

The firm's head of energy, Mike Reid, urged caution: “Our advice is, seek independent advice and don’t rush into anything. The Scottish Lands Tribunal is due to decide on a case that could have a direct bearing on the agreement proposed by the mobile operators and generally speaking, farmers could agree better terms than the terms being proposed by the mobile operators.

“Any delay in agreeing new terms with the operators won’t affect mobile coverage or connectivity in the area as the mobile operators are already operating from these sites with the protection of the Code. The proposals received can also be quite misleading implying that the new Code rights are required for the operation of the site, which is often not the case.”
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Scottish Farmer, Gordon Davidson, 02 Aug 2020

Proposal for 4G mast in Local Hero village scrapped
Scotland Created: 15 Jun 2020
Plans to construct a 4G internet mast in Pennan have been thrown out - The village, which featured in the movie Local Hero, had been mooted as a location to build the structure.

However, the proposal for the eight-metre mast was refused by councillors last year and the Scottish Government has now removed it from its Scottish 4G Infill Programme.

The pole was planned to be built next to the village's community hall in a conservation area.

Councillor Glen Reynolds said: "I am delighted that thanks to the Scottish Government, the proposal to have a phone mast in Pennan is now off the table.

"This was always an issue about where such a sizeable structure was placed in a relatively small and enclosed space.

"However, our coastal villages do need regeneration – especially now – and I agree with those who want measures taken to ensure that our coastal communities are dynamic, sustainable villages with properties that are lived in and with access to digital and mobile connectivity, empowering more people to live, stay and work from places like Pennan.

"With all of those issues, ultimately and in a post Covid world, Pennan has to be a welcoming, inclusive place capable of raising bairns and promoting business activity from home, and sharing in the idyllic surroundings our coast has to offer.

"But this proposal meant having a mast in a conservation area and I always felt it would dominate the landscape and was too close to the community hall, so I was against it.

"Many in the village have access to mobile phone signals and other technology through Wi-Fi and superfast broadband.

"Visitors and tourists need good communication too, so I hope that a way will be found to address this but a mast as planned, would have been overbearing.

"The village already has its iconic phone box – we didn’t need a phone mast to be a blot on the beautiful landscape that is Pennan."

Related news:
May 2019, United Kingdom: Local Hero village of Pennan phone mast refused by councillors
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Grampian Online, Kyle Ritchie, 14 Jun 2020

Fleeced by the phone giants
Scotland Created: 30 Dec 2019
SCOTTISH LANDOWNERS have been 'fleeced' by telecoms giants in the two years since the introduction of the UK Government's Electronic Communications Code in December 2017.

Scottish Land and Estates has accused telecom operators of taking advantage of landowners, using 'scaremongering' tactics to lead to swift leasing agreements, without encouraging them to seek professional advice. As a result, rents paid by telecoms companies to use rural land for mobile phone masts and broadband apparatus have been slashed, with some as low as £1 compared with site rents of over £10,000 just two years ago.

The code was created to facilitate the installation and maintenance of electronic communications networks, but SLaE said that it had instead produced a 'stagnation' of new sites being commissioned and low numbers of lease renewals for land with existing apparatus. In the past two years, there has been a ten-fold increase in the number of cases relating to the code going before the Lands Tribunal. There have been 77 cases brought forward in 2017-2019 compared with just five tribunal cases over the 33-year period under the old code.

The key issue is that the code has allowed operators to offer phone mast deals based on the agricultural value of the land, which becomes a tiny figure when the annual leasehold figure is calculated. The Lands Tribunal has confirmed they do not feel this was an appropriate valuation method, but SLaE state that they are still seeing operators use this method.

SLaE and NFU Scotland have set up a special telecoms forum bringing together utilities and telecoms professionals to help tackle the issues arising from the new code. Head of policy at SlaE, Stephen Young, commented: “For the past two years landowners have been fleeced by telecoms giants. They are taking a very aggressive approach to lease renewals, often using underhand tactics to scare landowners into signing agreements they do not understand the full consequences of.

"The telecoms operators are shying away from encouraging the landowner to take professional advice, which they are entitled to and should be paid for by the telecoms company," he stressed. "Many landowners don’t realise they are entitled to this and the telecoms companies are failing to offer this. The code could be really effective if telecoms operators changed their behavior,” he suggested.

NFUS' head of policy, Gemma Cooper added: “An efficient and reliable broadband and mobile network is essential for rural businesses and we welcome the upgrade and expansion of the service network.

“However, there have been problems in the roll out of this expansion that are related to the way the Electronics Communication Code is currently being interpreted by operators," she continued. "We welcome the formation of the forum to tackle issues associated with the code. Improved operator interactions with landowners, farmers and crofters will be fundamental to ensuring rural businesses and communities can thrive and reap the benefits of an improved telecoms network."
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Scottish Farmer, Gordon Davidson, 29 Dec 2019

Scottish 'detox' farm fights to keep area phone mast free
Scotland Created: 3 Oct 2019
A remote Scottish farm nestled deep by the Galloway Forest Park has launched a bid to keep the area cut-off from phone connectivity.

Creeside Farm, which offers customers a chance to get away from modern life, is urging the local council to protect one of the UK's most popular 'off the grid' open spaces.

The South Ayrshire farm is located in an officially designated UNESCO Biosphere, a mark which seeks to reconcile human activity with the conservation of biodiversity.

Owner of the 200-acre diversified farm business, Sarah Redman, said the ability to get away from WiFi and phone signals is a 'big selling point'.

She is now urging local authorities to prevent the introduction of 3G, 4G and 5G networks in the surrounding area.

Ms Redman said: “Improving connectivity around the country is vital to all of our daily lives but as important steps are made towards improving this in rural areas, it’s interesting to consider the impact it might have on some of our much-loved off-grid spots.”

For most farmers, digital technology now plays a central role in their businesses with the widespread adoption of the internet, mobile connectivity, apps and smart farming.

In a survey released earlier this year, 16 percent of farmers now have access to superfast broadband, an increase of 12 percent since 2015.

But for Creeside Farm, this creeping connectivity of the British countryside is bad news.

South Ayrshire Council has recently published a consultation document on planning policy for the area.

“We have responded asking that they consider introducing policy to create or protect a blackspot on the land owned by Creeside Farm,” Ms Redman said.

“This high level of protection doesn’t currently exist anywhere in the UK so what we are proposing is unique.”
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Farming UK, 30 Sep 2019

Scottish pupils kept home from school amid health fears over 5G phone mast
Scotland Created: 21 Aug 2019
Two families are keeping their nine children home from an island school amid concerns about a 5G mast on the building.

It was put up at Stronsay Junior High in Orkney as part of a BBC trial testing live radio broadcasts over 5G mobile networks.

The trial, which began earlier this year, was initially due to run for six weeks but was later extended until the end of September.

Some parents are concerned about potential health risks relating to the project.

One family withdrew their three children last term while another family did not send their children to school on Tuesday, the first day of the new term.

Their father, Duncan Bliss-Davis, whose six children are aged between five and 11, said they were concerned about potential risks.

He said: "The NHS are saying children should only use mobile phones for essential purposes and keep calls short and Public Health England say excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged, yet there is a mast on the school and 20 handsets have been given out.

"One of the reasons we moved here was to get away from the explosion of mobile phone masts and mobile phones.

"People keep talking about how we've been using phones for years with no ill effects but my point is that is not for a person's lifetime."

The children are currently being home schooled but Mr Bliss-Davis said they will probably go back to the school, which has around 30 pupils, if the trial ends in September.

He added: "To us educating our kids is very important and when the trial was just going to be six weeks we thought we could take them out or leave them there and it was only for a short period of time so we left them in but then they extended it."

The 20 handsets were given to local adults as part of the trial.

In a letter to parents, the BBC said: "The equipment we're using for the 5G broadcast radio trial is based around 4G technology, which is widely used across the UK, and the radio frequencies being used are the same that are used to broadcast TV.

"The trial is fully compliant with advice from Public Health England that any exposure to radio waves must comply with guidelines set out by the ICNIRP, an independent international commission recognised by World Health Organisation.

"Those guidelines recommend that exposure to radio waves should be below a certain power level - and the power levels we measured are 1,000 times lower than that level."

Orkney Islands Council said it worked with the BBC to identify Stronsay, which has poor connectivity, as a suitable location for the trial.

A council spokesman said: "The council obtained guidance on 5G safety from Public Health England (PHE) before agreeing for the 5G equipment to be installed in Stronsay.

"PHE is the national body that takes the lead on public health matters involving radio frequency electromagnetic fields, or radio waves, used in telecommunications.

"PHE's advice is that there should be no consequences for public health."

He added: "The BBC has also said that there is no reason to believe there are safety concerns surrounding the trial as the equipment being used is based around widespread 4G technology and is operated at very low frequencies.

"The power levels the BBC has measured in and around the school are 1,000 times below the recommended levels for these frequencies."

The council has agreed the 5G antenna can remain in operation until September 30.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Scotsman, 20 Aug 2019

School faces boycott over phone mast health fears
Scotland Created: 10 Aug 2019
A tiny island school faces a boycott by parents over a 5G mobile phone mast near by.

Some parents have said that their children will not return to Stronsay Junior High, on Stronsay, Orkney, until the antenna is removed because they fear that it is a health risk.

Russell and Naomi Bremner removed Dorothy, ten, Wilbur, nine, and Martha, seven, and started home-schooling them in April. They have been joined by Duncan and Anna Bliss Davis who say their six children, aged five to 11, will not go back after the summer break. The two families account for nine of the 29 children in the combined primary and secondary school.

Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Times, John Jeffay, 09 Aug 2019

High levels of screen time linked to cancer and heart disease
Scotland Created: 27 May 2018
Researchers at the University of Glasgow analysed the amount of time 390,089 people spent looking at TV and computer screens during leisure time.

They found that the association between a high level of screen time and poor health was almost twice as strong in those with low fitness levels.

Professor Jason Gill said the findings could affect public health guidance.

Discretionary screen time - watching screens during leisure time - is said to be a contributor to sedentary behaviour which is associated with higher risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease.

Professor Gill, one of the lead authors of the study, said: "Our study shows that the risks associated with sedentary behaviour may not be the same for everyone, with the association between leisure time screen use and adverse health outcomes being strongest in those with low levels of physical activity, fitness or strength.

"This has potential implications for public health guidance as, if the findings are causal, these data suggest that specifically targeting those with low fitness and strength to reduce their sedentary behaviour may be an effective approach."
Health promotion

The researchers analysed the behaviour of 390,089 people from the UK Biobank.

They found that higher levels of screen time were associated with a higher risk of "all-cause mortality" as well as a higher risk of both heart disease and cancer.

The findings were independent of physical activity, grip strength, BMI, smoking, diet and other major confounding factors, including socio-economic status.

Study author Dr Carlos Celis said: "If the discretionary screen time health associations we found in this study are causal, it suggests that people with the lowest levels of strength, fitness and physical activity could potentially gain the greatest benefit from health promotion interventions aimed at reducing sedentary behaviours.

"While fitness testing can be difficult to measure in healthcare and community settings, grip strength is a quick, simple and cheap to measure, so could easily be implemented as a screening tool in a variety of settings."

The study is published in BMC Medicine.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BBC News, 24 May 2018

Some potentially good news, maybe UK farmers will think twice before allowing masts on their land!
Scotland Created: 23 Jan 2016
Pressure on phone mast rents
BT'S TAKEOVER of mobile giant EE in a £12.5billion deal given final clearance by regulators last week could be bad news for farmers letting land for mobile phone masts.
According to rural property specialists Savills, the recent history of the telecoms market suggests that the takeover is likely to lead to increased pressure on farmers from telecoms agents striving to drive down rents for mobile phone sites.
As well as the takeover of EE - itself formed from a merger of Orange with T-Mobile - rival firm O2 is in the process of acquiring the 3 network, further complicating an industry landscape that features joint infrastructure ventures by O2 and Vodafone, and by 3 and EE, in the names of Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) and Mobile Broadband Network (MBNL) respectively.
Savills warned that all this change within the sector had lead to confusion, with misleading information in the public domain about what is a fair rent for a mast site, and bewildered farmers receiving numerous letters from agents, often located outwith Scotland, threatening to make sites redundant if new terms, at greatly reduced rents, are not accepted.
Savills Rural director Kenneth Munn said: "Most of these letters have been veiled threats and we have been able to protect farmers' interests. However we know there are instances where farmers have given in to the pressure and accepted new leases on considerably poorer terms and much lower rents. This has taken place when there is no evidence of market rents falling.
"In the vast majority of cases, there should be financial incentive for the landlord to agree to an effective assignment to a new company, especially where this is to be a network sharer such as CTIL or MBNL," advised Mr Munn. "Needless to say the rent increases, and or lease premiums payable, will vary from site to site.
"It is imperative that landlords do not sign any letters, however innocuous they may appear, without having first spoken to their agent or solicitor."
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Agnes Ingvarsdottir

 Page 1 of 14   Next›  Last» 
 News item: