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Telecommunications Masts

Volume 302: debated on Wednesday 10 December 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on planning regulations in respect of the building of telecommunication masts in the countryside. [19331]

Planning regulations governing the building of telecommunications masts in the countryside are found in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. This grants a general planning permission for certain telecommunications masts providing

the mast is erected by a telecommunications code system operator licensed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under the Telecommunications Act 1984;
the mast does not exceed 15 metres in height;
the mast is not erected in a National Park, area of outstanding natural beauty, conservation area, or the Broads; and
the mast is not refused prior approval by the local planning authority within the period allowed under the Order. The authority must be given the opportunity to say whether they wish to approve, within 28 days, details of the mast's siting and appearance. The authority may refuse approval if they consider there to be a serious threat to amenity.
A full application for planning permission is normally required for any mast which does not meet these criteria.