There are about 74 million mobile
phones in use in the UK today compared to 9 million nine years
ago - that's more than one phone for every person.
Many people have a work and a personal
mobile, or a mobile and a laptop data card, and mobile phones are
used in at least 85 per cent of all households.
This large number of mobile phones
cannot work without the network equipment and, most importantly
masts must be placed close to where people use their phones.
Telecommunications Rollout Plan 2014/15
The Telecommunications Rollout Plan is a strategic document that
sets out areas in which the telecom operators are seeking to
increase their network coverage in the Borough. This document
provides a list of information on the type of development, its
location, the type of application and the date of decision. It is
If you have any enquiries on the Rollout Plan, please contact
Planning Policy or alternatively you can write to us at:
Planning & Regeneration, Town Hall, PO Box 2, High Road,
Ilford, Essex, IG1 1DD.
Furthermore, the Office of
Communications (Ofcom) provides information on the location of
telecommunications base stations throughout the country.
Maps of potential mast locations
The Council has compiled a series of maps that display where the
locations of sites are in the telecommunications Rollout plan
which are available below:
Policies, guidelines and the
Locally, applications are assessed against
Local Development Framework (LDF) policy E6 in the
Borough Wide Primary Policies Development Plan Document.
However, not all telecommunication development requires a
planning application. Phone masts will normally fall within
one of three categories:
- Permitted Development (ie; no permission or notice
required to be served on Local Authority)
- Permitted Development that requires
prior approval (by the Local Authority)
- Development that requires an
application for planning permission and/or listed building consent
- made to the Local Authority.
The General Permitted Development Order (1995) provides the
definitive requirements of what is permitted development, but in
general if the proposed development meets the following criteria
then planning permission is not required:
a) less than 15 metres tall and based on the ground, or
b) less than 10 metres tall if located on a building which itself
is less than 30 metres tall
If the development falls within the second category, where
a telecom development is categorised as permitted development that
requires prior approval, the Council has:
- 56 days to decide whether a full planning application is
needed. If a decision is not made in this time frame, it is deemed
that approval is granted.
In the third category, where the development requires planning
permission and includes proposals in Conservation Areas:
- the proposal will be determined just like any other
planning application and a decision is usually made within 8 weeks
of the application date.
In both the second and third category, the consultation process
is similar and involves a site notice and letters to local
residents. This gives concerned parties an opportunity to express
their views to the Council.
Despite sometimes not needing planning permission, all telecom
development must be built in accordance with International
Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection
(ICNIRP) public exposure guidelines. These
health issues are addressed below in health.
For greater information on this process it is best to consult
Code of Best Practice 2013, it also contains information on
many other telecom matters.
Masts and health
Health risks, or even fear of possible health risks are valid
considerations when the Council considers planning
However, the National Planning Policy Framework (March 2012)
Paragraph 46 states 'Local Planning Authorities must determine
applications on planning grounds. They should not seek to prevent
competition between different operators, question the need for the
telecommunications system, or determine health safeguards if the
proposal meets International Commission guidelines for public
Therefore, where a mobile phone mast installation meets the
ICNRP guidelines this Council cannot refuse
permission. If it does it would be difficult to argue this case at
The Department of Health (see bottom of page for useful website
links) has published a few helpful leaflets on the impact of
mobile phones and telecom base stations.