Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Telecommunications Masts

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:06 am on 28th June 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Horam John Horam Conservative, Orpington 10:06 am, 28th June 2005

Thank you, Mr. Olner, for rescuing me from that additional lengthy intervention.

Orange wrote to me about the issue of considering all masts under the planning system. It said:

"our experience clearly demonstrates that the public's concerns are not with the planning process."

I disagree. When the public learn about the sketchy nature of the consultation that is allowed, and of the planning process, they are very concerned. As the old saying goes, never overestimate people's knowledge—but never underestimate their intelligence either. When they get to know about the subject, they are very concerned.

In connection with what the hon. Gentleman said in his intervention, Orange also said:

"Full planning would not give local authorities any more power to refuse applications or communities any greater say in the site selection process."

I think that it would. The fact that mobile phone mast operators would have to go through a planning procedure would give local authorities the extra negotiating powers and leverage that they do not have at the moment, whether for site sharing or for considering other sites. Often other sites can be considered, but because of the ease with which the companies' preferred sites get through the planning system, they are not.