A recent report found that better mobile infrastructure has the potential to transform the rural economy by enabling small businesses to grow and making it easier for people to work from home. Enabling and planning for 5G implementation is central to achieving the Government’s objective to deliver prosperity at the local level and enable all places to share in the proceeds of growth.
The Government is seeking views on:
- the principle of amending permitted development rights (PD rights) to support deployment of 5G;
- the circumstances in which it would be appropriate to do so;
- whether it is appropriate to impose specific limitations, conditions and restrictions on any amendments to permitted development rights to mitigate the impact of any new development;
- whether the PD rights should fall within the “need prior approval” category or not.
Proposed PD rights are:
- Deployment of radio housing equipment on land without prior approval, excluding sites of special scientific interest;
- Strengthening of existing masts to enable sites to be upgraded for 5G and for mast sharing without prior approval;
- Enable the deployment of building-based masts nearer to highways to support deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage, subject to prior approval;
- Enable higher masts to deliver better mobile coverage and mast sharing, subject to prior approval.
The Government will consider the responses to this consultation before deciding whether and how to take forward the proposals while taking into consideration the need to balance the following principles:
- ensuring the extension of mobile coverage across the UK with continuous mobile connectivity provided to all major roads;
- encouraging maximum utilisation of existing sites and buildings, before new sites are developed;
- ensuring appropriate environmental protections are in place.