HC Deb 10 June 1998 vol 313 cc574-5W
Jackie Ballard

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many local authority refusals of planning permission for telecommunications masts were overturned on appeal by planning inspectors in the year 1997–98. [44951]

Mr. Raynsford

54 out of a total of 122 appeals made against local planning authority refusals for telecommunications masts/towers were allowed in the year 1997–98.

Mr. Prior

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement regarding the future development of the mobile telecommunications industry in rural areas. [44484]

Mr. Raynsford

This Government's general policy on telecommunications development is to facilitate the growth of telecommunications systems while protecting the environment. Mobile services are important to an efficient modern national telecommunications network. This will help bring considerable economic and social benefits to all parts of the country, including rural areas. The establishment of such a network should not, however, happen at disproportionate cost to the environment. For that reason, we announced our expectation that operators would 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.

Local planning authorities continue to have the opportunity to exercise control over individual mast developments, whether that be through the consideration of a full planning application or the determination of a prior approval application under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.