Britain's phone tower regulations

In the wake of the Stewart Report, the British Government has introduced changes to the planning regulations for the siting of new telecommunications masts. The new regime will:

  • require carriers to engage in public consultation for all proposed new masts (including those under 15 metres);
  • increase the amount of time given to local councils to process applications for masts;
  • increase fees to councils to assist with public consultation expenses;
  • allow councils to reject masts on the basis of amenity.

According to Planning Minister, Nick Raynsford, the new regulations will “emphasise the Government’s view that telecommunications development must be taken forward through partnership between the operator, the local planning authority and the local community.”

Britain has already implemented a number of the precautionary recommendations of the Stewart Report (May 2000). These include:

  • ensuring that all mobile phones and masts meet the emissions levels of ICNIRP (which are more restrictive than the levels allowed by Britain’s National Radiation Protection Board (NRPB),
  • establishing a national data base of masts in map form,
  • auditing base stations to assess emissions,
  • funding a £7 million research program,
  • providing leaflets about mobile phones at point of sale and information about precautions to schools.


EMRAA News June 2001, Vol 6 No 2