HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 c270W
Mr. Hunter

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (1) what assessment she has made of the workings and implementation of the sections of PPG8 which relate to telecommunications operators consulting with the public; and if she will make a statement; [82676]

(2) if she will take measures to ensure that the sections of PPG8 which relate to telecommunications operators consulting with the public are consistently implemented; and if she will make a statement. [82677]

Mr. McNulty

I have been asked to reply.

In August 2001 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister introduced improved planning arrangements for telecommunications development. These included improved requirements for consulting local people, backed by tougher guidance in Planning Policy Guidance Note 8. The mobile phone network operators also published last year their Ten Commitments to best siting practice for new development. A key objective is to improve dialogue and consultation with local communities in developing mobile phone networks.

A Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development, produced jointly by representatives of central and local government and the mobile phone industry, was published on 11 November 2002. Copies of which can be found in the House Library. It builds on Government guidance and operators' commitments and provides clear and practical advice to ensure the delivery of significantly better and more effective communication and consultation between operators, local authorities and local people. Standardised practice will promote greater consistency of approach and aid the transparency of the process for all concerned.

The Federation of the electronics industry has commissioned a review by Deloitte and Touche to thoroughly assess the implementation of the ten commitments including the commitment related to improved consultation with local communities. The review has not yet been completed, but we expect to see the results by the end of 2002.