§ Kali Mountford
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to improve the rating of telecommunications masts; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Armstrong
I have today published a consultation paper on the rating of telecommunications masts which are shared by multiple operators. We are encouraging the sharing of masts and mast sites to keep environmental intrusion to a minimum. However, the growth of shared sites has caused uncertainty in their rates assessment. Our proposals would remove that uncertainty by providing that shared sites receive only one rates bill.
The Government would welcome views on the consultation paper by 28 January 2000.