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Simon Preedy
Posted on 29 Jun 2005 2:33 pm

In response to the Right Honourable Gentlemen's comments: "... In conclusion, I reassure hon. Members that the Government remain committed to ensuring that the essential infrastructure for modern telecommunications systems is developed sensitively, with environmental impact kept to a minimum, and with proper discussion with local communities. Therefore, we continue to listen to public and parliamentary concerns, and to consider the way forward..."

This is simply not happening!

When Operator's DO send out letters to Borough & Parish Councils prior to application, they are placing the onus on these Councillors to advise them of other "stakeholders" (ie: residents) that may wish to be consulted prior to application. The Operators rely on the simple fact that the majority of Councillors appear not to respond & that's where the system falls down!

I have asked my MP (Maria Miller), who kindly contributed to this debate, to raise some Written Parliamentary Questions to the Planning Minister; along the lines of the conversations we had when I met with her on 17 June:

1. Why the Government has not implemented any of the 19 recommendations given to them last year in the Report from the All Party Parliamentary Mobile Group, following their Public Inquiry into the Planning & Siting of Masts - many of their Recommendations were points raised in this debate. See: www.apmobile.org.uk

2. Why the Operator's Code of 'Best' (I use that term loosely!) Practice should not become a statutory requirement (rather than just a voluntary undertaking as it is at present!) and the 'optional' forms of Pre-Application Consultation directly with residents (ie: "Drop In" Sessions / Leaflets & Mailshots etc) are not made mandatory. If all this were undertaken, it would 'fall in line' with what the (then) Planning Minister, Keith Hill MP, said last December! See: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/pns/displaypn.cgi?pn_id=2004_0308

3. The need for the Operators and their Code of Practice to be regulated.

In September last year the ODPM commissioned the University of Reading and Arup to undertake an independent study to assess the impact that the code of best practice on mobile phone network development has had since its introduction. Very much like the AP Mobile Group’s Inquiry, both myself (as a resident) & Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council gave written & oral evidence for the Arup study as well! The ODPM tell us their Report will be published in due course. It will be very interesting to know the findings of their Report... & just what this Government intends to do with it! If it's anything like the All Party Parliamentary Mobile Group's Recommendations following their Inquiry, probably nothing!!

Simon Preedy
Basingstoke Mast Campaigner


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