HC Deb 10 July 2003 vol 408 cc951-2W
Mr. Peter Robinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many telecommunication masts have been erected within Northern Ireland in the last 10 years, broken down by council area; and how many acts of vandalism upon masts have been perpetrated during that period. [123712]

Angela Smith

The number of planning approvals granted for telecommunication masts, broken down by council area, is as follows:

District council area Total applications approved 1994—to date
Antrim 62
Ards 60
Armagh 57
Ballymena 71
Ballymoney 15
Banbridge 31
Belfast 196
Carrickfergus 22
Castlereagh 39
Coleraine 48
Cookstown 28
Craigavon 64
Derry 53
Down 43
Dungannon 80
Fermanagh 106
Larne 37
Limavady 46
Lisburn 71
Magherafelt 27
Moyle 30
Newry and Mourne 53
Newtownabbey 39
North Down 79
Omagh 55
Strabane 26
Total 1,438

Information on the number of approvals for telecommunication masts in 1993 is not available.

Planning Service does not hold information on the number of telecommunication masts erected following receipt of approval.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has advised that it is not possible from the statistics available to identify the number of offences relating to criminal/malicious damage caused to telecommunication masts.

Under Planning Policy Statement 10—Telecommunications—Planning Service requires service providers to show that site sharing of an existing mast has been investigated and that new mast proposals will only be acceptable to the Department where it is proven it is not possible to share. This is in order to limit the visual intrusion of phone masts across Northern Ireland. The process usually involves placing additional equipment to an existing mast, and, unless de minimus, would require planning permission. As a result of this, it is possible that more than one planning approval could pertain to a single mast.

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