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UK Govt. proposes to remove all council powers to reject telecoms masts
United Kingdom Created: 11 Oct 2019
A ‘monster’ mobile phone mast is set to be installed at a busy road junction in Sutton Coldfield, if applications from EE and Three are given the go-ahead.

Via the joint venture company between EE and Three called, MBNL, they have applied for permission to install a ‘phase 7 monopole’ at the junction of Sutton Oak Road and Chester Road North.

The mast would stand at 20 metres, which is almost double the height of the existing installation.
“Totally unacceptable”

Sutton Vesey councillor, Rob Pocock, has spoken out about both his and the resident’s concerns surrounding the new mast: “This monster mast is totally unacceptable for this local area,” wrote Pocock, in an open letter.

He went on to say that, “it is out of character for the area, destructive of the attractive local amenity, and a dangerous distraction for drivers using this busy junction."

However, in the application document, MBNL defended the mast by explaining that, “the next generation of mobile telephony is 5G and it brings a revolutionary speech to managing spectrum and greatly increased data speeds. The advantages this presents range from near-instant downloads of HD films to connected cars, smart medical devices and smart cities.”

The document went on to say: “Although 5G will undoubtedly bring new opportunities and huge benefits to society, we cannot escape from the requirement that new structures, antennas and ancillary equipment will be needed.”

Embracing 5G?

Whilst 5G will provide much faster connectivity and allow for new technology, it seems that many councils aren’t best pleased. The 5G roll-out has already been criticized by councils, which have limited legal powers to reject phone mast applications.

And in a move that may anger councils even further, the government has just launched a national proposal that would remove the power to reject these new constructions from the council entirely.

This would result in companies no longer needing to apply for planning permission, and they would be granted a blanket ‘permitted development right’. But this would make sense, because as the 5G roll-out begins to gain momentum, new phone masts will have to be built in many locations.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: 5G Radar, Fiona Leake, 07 Oct 2019

Ban on mobile phone masts in Solihull set to end
United Kingdom Created: 17 Sep 2019
A stance that the council took in the 1990s - amid fears about whether the technology posed a health risk - could be dropped, with a national drive to improve 5G coverage.

A long-standing ban on installing mobile phone masts on council-owned land and buildings in Solihull looks set to end.

For more than 20 years the local authority has followed a policy laid out when there was greater concern about the possible health risks of electronic communications equipment.

In 1992, councillors had agreed to refuse future requests to erect microwave dishes on its property and, five years later, two applications to install radio antennae were dismissed - setting a further precedent.

While telecoms giants have been able to use "statutory powers" to override the council stance when it comes to highways, the policy has effectively remained in place elsewhere.

But a new report suggests Solihull will need to "review" its historic position in response to the government's drive to increase 5G coverage, with town halls being urged to remove obstacles facing operators.

Failing to do would go against the nationwide Electronic Communications Code, recently updated, and leave the local authority open to a legal challenge from companies, it has been suggested.

Although any application would still need to go through the standard planning process.

Council officer Martin Clayton said: "The explicit aim of the reforms, which are embodied in the ‘barrier busting’ measures recommended by both government and WMCA [West Midlands Combined Authority], is to make it easier and more cost effective for network providers to deploy and maintain digital infrastructure."

The decisions taken in the 1990s came at a time when there was widespread uncertainty about the possible impact that the technology could have on people's health.

In his report, Mr Clayton has said that scientific research over the last two decades has considered these fears.

Advice quoted on Public Health England's website said: "Independent expert groups in the UK and at international level have examined the accumulated body of research evidence.

"Their conclusions support the view that health effects are unlikely to occur if exposures are below international guideline levels."

Although a recent row over a mast installed in Yardley Wood Road, Solihull Lodge, proves the issue still has power to cause controversy.

Proposals to review the "moratorium" adopted in the 1990s will be discussed at tonight's (Monday's) meeting of the resources and delivering value scrutiny board.

The issue will then be considered by the council's cabinet at its next meeting on October 10.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Birmingham Live, David Irwin, 16 Sep 2019

Consultation on new permitted development rights for telecomms apparatus
United Kingdom Created: 13 Sep 2019
Recently, the government announced a consultation on proposals to reform permitted development rights (PD rights) for operators under the Electronic Communications Code (Code Operators). The aim of the proposals is to support 5G technology and extend mobile coverage. Four new PD rights are proposed, two of which would require prior approval from the local planning authority (LPA), two of which would not. Bearing in mind the infrastructure that will be needed for greater mobile coverage and to get ready for 5G, and considering the potential impact on them of the proposed rights, landowners and developers should consider taking the opportunity to respond to the consultation.

The PD rights proposed are to enable the deployment of radio housing equipment on land (apart from on Sites of Scientific Interest) and the strengthening of existing masts for 5G upgrades and mast sharing. These rights would not require “prior approval” from the LPA, which means that the LPA would not need to be notified before the rights are implemented by Code Operators and will not therefore have an opportunity to take into account the interests of other parties such as landowners, occupiers or neighbours. PD rights are also proposed for the deployment of “building-based” masts nearer to highways, and higher masts for for better mobile coverage and mast sharing, although both of these rights would require prior approval.

A recent decision reminds landowners that they can face a tough test when trying to resist the imposition of Electronic Communications Code rights in favour of operators. In EE Ltd v Chichester [2019] UKUT 164, where a landowner tried to resist the imposition of the Code by a mobile phone network operator by claiming that they wanted to redevelop the land on which a mast stood, the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) confirmed that a landowner had to demonstrate “both that they have a reasonable prospect of being able to carry out their redevelopment project and that they have a firm, settled and unconditional intention to do so”. Landowners will have even less control over their land if the proposed PD rights are progressed. However, some comfort may be gained from another recent decision, Mawbey v Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure [2019] EWCA Civ 1016, where the Court of Appeal discussed whether or not a central support pole was a “radio mast” – in this case, it was decided that such poles were indeed masts and that they therefore did not have the benefit of PD rights.

The government says that they will consider responses to this consultation and that another consultation on more detailed proposals wil be held in due course.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Fiona Sawyer & Mathew White, 11 Sep 2019

Could Bristol councillors end the roll-out of 5G in Bristol?
United Kingdom Created: 12 Sep 2019
Campaigners are calling for Bristol City Council to switch off the network over radiation fears.

A debate urging council chiefs to stop the roll-out of 5G in Bristol is set to take place at City Hall next week.

The service, which allows faster phone data speeds, has been operational in the city since July 3 on the Vodafone network.

But campaigners are calling for Bristol City Council to switch off the network over radiation fears.

Montpelier nutritional therapist Sally Beare launched a petition earlier this year urging the authority to follow Geneva and Florence in adopting “the precautionary principle”, halting 5G until there is more information to show it is safe.

Nearly 4,000 people have added their names to the petition which is enough to trigger a special debate in the council chamber which is set for Tuesday (September 10).

Ms Beare said she first became passionate about the issue when she happened across a statement made by Washington State University’s Dr Martin Pall.

Dr Pall describes the introduction of 5G as “the stupidest idea anyone has had in the history of the world”.

He says it risks cancer because “an extraordinary number of antennae are required, high outputs are needed for penetration, pulsation levels will be very high, and it will have an impact on the human body’s cellular electrical field”.

Public Health England (PHE) says it does not expect 5G to impact on people’s health.

But Ms Breare is not convinced and says it is “not scaremongering to say that 5G will cause illness and death”.

She added: “It is clear from the independent science that parents will lose children and children will lose parents.

“It is an outdated myth that non-ionising radiation is safe; it is not.

“Microwave radiation from existing mobile networks has been found in thousands of peer-reviewed studies to cause harm to health, including neurological effects, nervous system issues and cancer.

“Several recent large-scale studies have shown that mobile radiation causes fatal brain and heart cancer; a proper look at the data also shows that brain gliomas in England - the type associated with mobile radiation - have doubled in the last twenty years.

“Some of the most powerful and progressive cities in the world, such as Brussels and parts of Geneva, have banned 5G for health reasons.

“Bristol should be looking to them and to the experts in human radiation effects, and not to our fractured, insecure government, for guidance.”

A separate petition against 5G, signed by 235 scientists and doctors across the world, warns the network will "massively increase" people's exposure to mobile phone radiation they say could cause cancer.

But Head of radiation dosimetry at Public Health England (PHE), Simon Mann, said: “It is possible that there may be a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves when 5G is added to an existing telecommunications network or in a new area.

“However, the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and as such there should be no consequences for public health.”

A PHE spokesman added the body is committed to making sure 5G radio waves comply with International Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines.

He said PHE will update its advice “should new evidence dictate that is necessary”.

A Vodafone spokesperson said: “The radio frequencies used for 5G in the UK are similar to the ones currently used for 4G services. Where 4G uses frequencies between 800 MHz and 2.6GHz, 5G uses frequencies between 3.4GHz and 3.6GHz.”
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Bristol Live, Kate Wilson, 05 Sep 2019

Mast warning issued to British farmers ahead of 5G network rollout
United Kingdom Created: 2 Sep 2019
Rollout of 5G could accelerate telecoms operators looking to use land without paying farmers and landowners the prices they may have received in the past.

Michael Watson, head of property litigation and telecoms expert at Shulmans, said farmers had previously allowed telecommunications operators to install mobile phone masts and other apparatus on their land to generate additional income.

“This free market worked well when upgrading the networks to 3G and 4G,” he said.

“However, major problems lie ahead with the roll out of 5G because the market for mast sites has effectively seized up.”

It follows the introduction of the new Electronic Communications Code in December 2017, which has impacted on the relationship between landlords and telecommunications companies.

“Since the new code came into force, telecoms operators have slashed the prices they are prepared to offer in order to be able to install their apparatus on farmland,” he said.

“Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in landowners withdrawing from the market.

“Network operators want use of landowners’ properties for business without paying much at all and if the owners do not agree, they will ask the tribunal to impose their terms regardless.”

And with the rollout of 5G imminent, this process may accelerate.

He added: “Landowners need to carefully consider whether they are prepared to make their assets available for the use of network operators, regardless of whether they are willing to defend their assets.”

Mr Watson said anyone deriving income from telecoms apparatus needed to be aware they may be targeted for significant payment reductions and could be threatened with action under the code.

He warned farmers not to wait until an approach was received from an operator to renew agreements, as the opportunity for developing an effective strategy ‘may have already been compromised’.

He added the new code and the approach of operators has alienated the people who the sector relied on and destroyed the market for mast sites.

“Until there is a fundamental change of approach by network operators, the farming industry must to face up to the reality of the new code and either accede to the demands of the operators or prepare and respond accordingly.”
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Farmers Guardian, Alex Black, 02 Sep 2019

Proposal for Burrator mast resisted by councillors
United Kingdom Created: 27 Jul 2019
A PROPOSAL to install a telecommunications base station at Burrator Dam with a 12-metre tall mast and an equipment compound by the roadside is being resisted by parish councillors.

Mobile network operator EE is seeking to build the base station to provide 4G phone and data coverage for the police, fire and ambulance emergency services at Burrator.

But at a site meeting last week, Burrator parish councillors were surprised to learn the network would be limited to the perimeter road around Burrator lake and would not penetrate onto the moors and could not reach surrounding hills and tors.

One of the parish councillors who attended the site meeting with EE and its planning agents Savills of Dorset Cllr Keith Scrivener said: ‘The question is do we support what is quite a sizeable, industrial-looking mast and compound at this sensitive beauty spot just to provide 4G coverage around the lake?

‘We could end up with something like a mini North Hessary tower with a fenced-off base station at the bottom which would look very intrusive and which could be viewed from miles across the Burrator landscape.’

Other councillors shared the view that the proposal for the site seemed heavy-handed and those who attended the site meeting urged EE to consider a less obtrusive location in the area where the equipment might be hidden from public view with reduced impact on the skyline.

Parish council vice chair Cllr Andy Paskins said: ‘The proposed solution looks like a standard solution that fits all and takes little account of the sensitivity of the particular location.’

Cllr Mark Brunsdon urged the mobile network operator to take a more balanced view, saying: ‘While the location by the dam may offer the best network coverage, other less sensitive locations around the reservoir may offer suitable alternatives.’

The proposal near the dam would involve digging out some rocks and earth close to the antiquated granite water trough on the slope of Yennadon Down to create space for the roadside compound.

The technical network equipment required would be surrounded by a fenced-off compound with a granite retaining wall at the back.

Eventually, once up and running, the installation would be capable of providing commercial 4G coverage for EE customers.

EE has said it will consider the parish council’s suggestions of alternative sites and would report back with its findings before putting forward any planning application to Dartmoor National Park Authority.

An EE spokesman also said they welcomed the views of other local stakeholders and the public.

‘We appreciate this is a sensitive and beautiful area and we welcome more input from others,’ he said.

A more simple plan approved last year to provide 4G coverage at Burrator by installing antennas to an existing BT telegraph pole near the dam has since been aborted, parish councillors were told.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Tavistock Times Gazette, Alison Stephenson, 26 Jul 2019

Haringey Council blocks phone companies' 'disconcerting' plans for 5G mast on top of Alexandra Park School
United Kingdom Created: 3 Jul 2019
Plans to build a 5G mobile phone mast on top of a Muswell Hill secondary school have been thrown out amid concerns that parents had not been informed.

Ward councillors also claim they weren't told about the proposals for a 7.5-metre roof tower, six antennae and four large dishes.

All three Lib Dem councillors for Alexandra have now called on neighbours to get in touch with their views ahead of a potential appeal.

Network operators EE and Three had applied for planning permission through their joint subsidiary, MNBL, to replace the mast on top of Alexandra Park School in April. Haringey Council rejected the plans on aesthetic grounds on June 5.

Cllr Allessandra Rossetti said: "Councillors were contacted by concerned parents on the last day of the consultation period.

"I am aware that the application mentions pre-consultation with local councillors and their lack of objections, but before last Friday we hadn't received any communication from the applicant, either via email or post.

"Parents we have been in touch with told us they were not aware of the application either."

Cllrs Josh Dixon and Nick da Costa also told the Ham&High they had not received a letter and it is understood that MNBL's correspondence to nearby Rhodes Avenue Primary School was also not received.

In its submission, the company stated: "Mobile networks are ubiquitous throughout the UK. It is an expectation that an individual can connect whenever and wherever they so require.

"As this is an existing base station and the amendments are minor in nature, this is the most preferable site. As such no other options have been considered."

It included a certificate from the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation (ICNIRP), stating the plans met EU limits on public exposure to electromagnetic fields - which were agreed in 1999.

An attached piece of promotional material stated: "It is imperative the UK prepares itself to enable this new technology and lessen the burden of over-complex regulations."

5G - billed as the "next generation" of mobile coverage - operates at a much higher frequency than its predecessors, and is currently being trialled in cities across the UK.

In March the government wrote to the chief executives of all councils in England, advising that it wanted the UK to be a "world leader" in 5G and asking them to put policies and procedures in place to "minimise barriers to deployment".

Earlier this year the ICNIRP announced plans to relax the safety regulations on phone mast emissions ahead of the rollout of 5G, on the basis that doing so would not pose a risk to public health.

But other scientific studies have claimed that the effect of non-ionising radiation on the human body is still not fully known, and 5G trials have been blocked in Brussels, Rome and California.

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: "They are rolling out something which is untested. This is weapons technology.

"This is a particularly pernicious one because it's on top of a school, and perfectly exemplifies how a blind eye is being turned. In the cold light of day, it's business."

Cllr Rossetti added: "This is new technology and the fact that it is being rolled out first on top of a school is disconcerting.

"We need new data and fresh research. I would have preferred to see these issues and parents' concerns being addressed in the document submitted, rather than seeing a copy of a successful appeal. I would also have preferred to see alternative sites being considered."

There are 323 known telecoms masts and antennae in Haringey and since January 2018 the council has received 126 applications for new installations.

As of 2016 the council no longer has a searchable "mast register" online but said it kept records on its planning database.

A spokesperson said: "We are unable to resist installations on health grounds. There is much case law on this matter.

"In the case of Alexandra Park School, we sent consultation letters to nearby properties, which formed a substantial radius around the site. We refused permission for the installation on grounds of its siting and appearance."

A similar application by Telefonica to upgrade a mast in nearby Durnsford Road was also refused on aesthetic grounds in May after 144 objections were received from neighbours.

The mast at APS dates from the early 2000s and according to public records was formerly being used by a different operator.

The school did not comment on how much it received in rent for the mast when approached by the Ham&High, and also did not confirm what it had done, if anything, to inform parents of the plans.

Headteacher Michael McKenzie said: "The phone mast dates from the early 2000s when the school was under local authority control.

"We have investigated different options for this mast but since the introduction of the Electronic Communication Code, it is extremely difficult to force the removal of an existing mast from a site.

"The proposed upgrade to 5G will go through a full planning application and I would encourage all concerned to engage with this process."

MBNL, Three and EE did not respond to a request for comment.
The planning documents can be viewed online under the reference HGY/2019/1102.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Ham & High, Hannah Somerville, 21 Jun 2019

Fears over mast radiation (in Hereford)
United Kingdom Created: 23 Jun 2019
COUNTY residents say a mobile phone mast near their home is disrupting their sleep.

Marden couple Steve and Gill Williams are so concerned they’ve hired specialists to measure the levels of high-frequency radiation coming from the transmitter which was built on the nearby recreation ground in 2017.

High-frequency electromagnetic fields are used in a variety of everyday technologies such as mobile phones, base stations, Wi-Fi, radio, TV, magnetic resonance imaging equipment and for heating like in microwave ovens.

But specialists detected readings of 3600 microvolts in the couple’s bedroom and the device maxed-out at 9000mv when used outside.They say a safe limit for a sleeping environment is 150.

“It’s very worrying,” Mr Williams said.

“Since the mast was built, I just can’t sleep. All of us are experiencing it but I’ve been affected the most.”

“The thing is ordinary people don’t know the effects of these masts and they are putting up them up everywhere.”

A Herefordshire Council spokesman said they have commissioned independent specialists to review the mast.

“The planning application to construct this mast went through the proper process, being granted approval in 2017 as it conformed to the nationally accepted safety requirements,” he said.

“Due to recent local concern, as a precautionary measure the council has asked for the matter to be reviewed by independent specialists and a response will be made available in due course.”

A spokesperson for Cornerstone, who are responsible for the mast, said Vodafone and O2 customers expect to be able to use their mobiles where they live, work and travel.

“Base stations are low powered devices which cover approximately half a mile in radius, therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers,” she said.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Hereford Times, Carmelo Garcia, 22 Jun 2019

Phone mast gets planning from DNPA despite massive protest
United Kingdom Created: 7 Jun 2019
The planners ignored over 184 objections to the mast at Newbridge Hill near Poundsgate, and a petition with 1,500 names against the plan.

The plans were submitted by the Home Office and the network carrier EE and will be part of the G5 Mobile internet. The application was highlighted by local naturalist Nick Baker who said at the time: “Bloody madness. What is the National Park for? It is supposed to be preserving the cultural landscape and wildlife interest.”

The Dartmoor Preservation Society called it a ‘slap in the face to thousands of local people and visitors to Dartmoor’ and Widecombe Parish Council opposed the plan claiming they had not been fully consulted.

The Rev Geoffery Fenton of the parish council said it had been very disappointed about the lack of consultation.

One objector Emily Burville from Ashburton said: “This will be an eyesore and will destroy the look, feel and character of this particular part of Dartmoor. It is not a subtle structure it will be very prominent.”
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Moorlander, Stuart Clarke, 07 Jun 2019

Local Hero village of Pennan phone mast refused by councillors
United Kingdom Created: 28 May 2019
Plans for a controversial phone mast in the village made famous in the film Local Hero have been refused by councillors.

Pennan in Banffshire and its iconic red phone box featured in the 1983 film.

The application for an eight-metre tall mast was to provide improved phone coverage, including for emergency services, but critics said it would affect the village's charm.

Aberdeenshire councillors voted five to two to refuse the application.

The Bill Forsyth film, starring Burt Lancaster, saw representatives of a US petro-chemical giant, who were seeking to build a refinery in a coastal village, won over by the gentler rhythms of the local life.

Click here to view the source article.
Source: BBC News, 28 May 2019

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