• The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) voiced objections to government proposals to ease planning restrictions on the installation of mobile network infrastructure, citing concerns on the environmental impact of large structures in rural areas.

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Councils resist loss of most planning powers

Source: NeONBRAND / Unsplash

Current government proposals would see the maximum permitted height of masts increased beyond the current 25 metre level; upgrades of existing ground‑based masts without prior approval; more rights for operators to deploy radio equipment cabinets without prior approval; and permission for building‑based masts to be installed nearer to roads.

The NALC indicated that it is broadly in favour of steps to improve rural communications coverage, but wants to ensure masts of all heights are subject to full planning applications. It also called for all new‑build homes and premises to be provided with full-fibre connectivity from development.

UK operators, through the Mobile UK industry body, have broadly welcomed the government plans which were unveiled earlier in 2019.