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05 December 2023

Have you seen these masts?

Have you seen these masts?

Changes to the Electronic Communications Code (ECC) were introduced by the government in April 2022 which means that telecoms operators can now install higher and broader 5G masts without Local Authority approval.

5G is the fifth generation of mobile internet which provides much faster digital download and upload speeds for users. Its greater capacity allows thousands of devices in a small area to connect at the same time, with more stable connections than before.

New 5G mast rules

The new rules mean that masts that are installed on buildings outside of conservation areas and are less than 6 metres above the highest part of the building do not require full planning permission or prior approval by the Local Authority. The law gives operators planning permission as a ‘permitted development’.

The updated rules also increase the size of masts that are allowed under permitted development. This includes installing new masts of up to 30m in height above ground level on unprotected land, or 25m on protected land, such as land within a conservation area or site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

Consultation with residents

There is no legal requirement for telecoms operators to consult with residents. However, the government has published a Code of Practice for companies on consultation with local communities.

Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s) siting masts in Berkshire are encouraged to follow this code. Where a mast falls under permitted development rules all questions should be directed to the operator.

Better digital connectivity

Better digital connectivity is a key part of building a successful and sustainable local economy. This will help to develop the most effective mobile and wireless technology to serve businesses and homes across the region.

Public Health guidance

All UK mobile phone network operators must follow Public Health England guidance and applications for masts should include a certificate of compliance with guidelines produced by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). These are guidelines on limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields to protect public health.

Local Authorities have been told by ministers that they should not refuse planning applications for masts or base stations on health grounds where these meet the ICNIRP guidelines.

For more information about how 5G is being deployed across the region, follow @BerksDIG across social media,  or bookmark the 5G page on our website.

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