§ Mr. Tony Lloyd
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to ensure that mobile phone companies and local authorities undertake adequate public consultation before the erection of mobile phone masts. 
§ Ms Beverley Hughes
It is important that the public has an opportunity to comment on the proposed installation of telecommunications masts. Where it is proposed to erect a mast subject to a planning application, the statutory requirement for a local authority to publicise any planning application will apply. In respect of mast development carried out under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (GPDO), under the 42 day prior approval procedure, the operator is required to erect a site notice to publicise the development proposed, in order to provide the public with a clear opportunity to comment to the local planning authority on the siting and appearance of the proposed mast.
The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, set up at the instigation of the Government and chaired by Sir William Stewart FRS FRSE, is currently considering the possible health effects of the use of mobile phones, base stations and transmitters and is conducting a comprehensive assessment of existing research. The Group 488W is expected to finalise its report shortly. The Government will consider the Group's recommendations and issue a response.