Mobile operators welcome publication of National Planning Policy Framework

The mobile network operators welcome the publication, today, of the National Planning Policy Framework and in particular its presumption in favour of sustainable development and encouragement of the expansion of telecommunications networks.

John Cooke, Executive Director of the Mobile Operators Association (MOA) said: “Mobile telecommunications are a vital part of our national infrastructure, bringing significant benefits to individuals, communities and businesses. They are as important to today’s digital, knowledge economy as canals and railways were to the first industrial revolution. It’s essential, therefore, that the planning system does not hinder the infrastructure that supports mobile communications.”

The MOA strongly welcomes the fact that the Framework specifically encourages Local Planning Authorities to support the expansion of electronic communications networks; and that it reiterates previous guidance that; “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 exposure.”

John Cooke added; “While each new telecoms proposal is, in itself, generally a small-scale development, all telecommunications developments are part of a wider inter-dependent national network, which is essential to the UK’s economic and social development. It’s important to balance local input into planning with the need to ensure that we don’t have a patchwork quilt of differing local rules that would hinder the national network. Mobile network operators remain committed to responsible network development and will continue to work with local planning authorities in bringing the many benefits of mobile communications to communities across the country.”