7
Jun
2005

MP calls for tougher phone mast controls

This is Hereford

THE rash of mobile phone masts spreading across the countryside is causing "alarm", says Leominster MP Bill Wiggin.

Noting that 130,000 more masts were planned around the country - an average of about 209 extra masts in each parliamentary constituency - he called for tougher controls.

"There is a presumption in favour of development inherent in the current planning system, which overrides local, environmental and safety concerns," said Mr Wiggin.

"Planning rules cannot cope with the imposition of 130,000 more masts - with the possibility of up to 200 more near homes and schools across Leominster ."

He outlined a five-point plan in which all mobile phone mast developments would require full planning permission. There would be a single process for deciding all masts, including those on Network Rail or church property, as well as small antennas being covertly installed in street furniture or signs.

Councils would be allowed to take health concerns into account.

Mast operators would be required to demonstrate that any development does not result in unacceptable damage to visual amenity or harm environmentally sensitive features, said Mr Wiggin.

"Councils would be asked to draw up their own supplementary planning guidance to ensure consistency and clarity," he added.
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