To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his policy is on mobile phone operators sharing telecommunications masts; what steps he has taken to encourage operators to do so; and if he will make a statement.
Planning Policy Guidance Note 8, Telecommunications" (PPG8), makes clear the expectation that developers should provide evidence to local planning authorities that they have carefully considered the use of existing masts, buildings and other structures before seeking to erect any new mast, regardless of size. The authority may be justified in refusing prior approval or planning permissions if it considers the evidence regarding the consideration of such alternative sites is not satisfactory.
Ministers in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister meet regularly with the Mobile Operators Association to discuss a range of issues including the operators' progress in meeting their 10 commitments which includes a commitment on site sharing. The UK network operators have established a cross-industry Site Share Working Group and have developed a database to facilitate the exchange of information on site sharing opportunities.