Saturday 11 July 2015

Inadequate controls over mobile phone masts concern

Last month, I called on mobile phone network providers to take a more sympathetic approach to residential amenity when upgrading mobile phone masts.      This follows news that one applicant, Wilkinson Helsby, plans to upgrade a mast in Perth Road near to Glamis Road but replace the current mast which is disguised as a telegraph pole (see photo) with an undisguised mast.    

I wrote to Wilkinson Helsby asking them to think again about the type of mast to be used and provide one that will not impact adversely on the look of the area.   However, in response, the company has now advised me:

“We do not have a replica telegraph pole design which can accommodate the dual user (EE and H3G) 4G upgrade so there is not a “disguised” option available. The Scottish Government has changed its planning regulations and thus unlike England and Wales there is no planning boundaries to this genre of development.   In England and Wales the planning department can consider these as GPDO applications and refuse them but this has been “closed off” by the new Scottish Government regulations.”

It is very poor indeed that the Scottish Government’s overly laissez faire approach effectively gives the mobile phone company the ability to put what it likes onsite and replace a phone mast which is well disguised as a telephone pole, tree or similar, with an undisguised pole which is an eyesore.

Scottish planning legislation is not stringent enough in this area, thereby allowing mobile phone companies to put undisguised masts in residential areas, which is extremely unfortunate.   

I have therefore written to the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights asking that a review of the planning legislation be undertaken.