With many clients concerned by the relaxation of the planning rules relating to telecoms sites, Batcheller Monkhouse are increasingly being asked to advise on whether a new mast or tower site being installed is appropriately sited and designed, and if not whether the proposal can be resisted.

In March 2022, the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2022 introduced changes to permitted development rights for electronic communications infrastructure. The changes were designed to make it easier for operators to develop their sites, improve coverage and to support the Government’s mission that by 2030 the UK will have nationwide gigabit-capable broadband and 4G coverage, with 5G coverage for the majority of the population.

The Government hope that these changes will help ensure that the planning system effectively supports the required delivery of mobile infrastructure and addresses the disparities between rural and urban areas.

The legislation amends the 2015 GPDO by providing that most applications to erect radio masts do not require that a full planning application is made. Although the legislation does include provisions to protect more sensitive areas, the operator will not need to submit a full planning application to the Local Planning Authority (“LPA”) but will be required instead to apply for ‘prior approval’. The LPA will then only consider the siting and appearance of the proposal, but where the development exceeds the limits identified in the GPDO, a full planning application will be required.

Ordinarily operators take care selecting a location for a new mast or tower, but we have found that this is not always the case.  Often there is a lack of engagement by operators with landowners.  Batcheller Monkhouse can, with the support of your planning advisors where necessary, ensure that any proposed telecoms development is sited in an appropriate location and is built to a design that reduces any adverse impact on your land and property.

Please speak to our telecoms team on the right-hand side to discuss how we can help you.

Offices in BattleHaywards HeathPulborough and Tunbridge Wells.