Headlines: November 12th, 2002

A best practice code, produced jointly by representatives of central and local government and the mobile phone industry, encourages greater consultation between mobile phone operators, local authorities and local communities.The code is a guide to the siting of mobile phone masts and has been welcomed by the Planning Minister Jeff Rooker who said it would require councils, operators and local people to work together to find the best site and design for each mast.

“Best practice needs to be spread widely. This new code provides sound advice and guidance for all involved in the sensible siting of mobile phone masts, ” he said.

Councillor Jane Chevis, who chairs the Local Government Association Planning Executive, said, “The question of where mobile phone masts should be sited has quickly become a major debate in local communities. Councils will welcome this guidance that will help them balance environmental protection and public concern with the need to develop telecommunications infrastructure that mass use of mobile phones demands.”

The code builds on planning arrangements introduced in August 2001, which increased the consultation period for applications for masts. That followed a recommendation made in the Stewart Report into the possible risks to health posed by mobile phones published in 2000.