The government consultation on extending permitted development rights for telecoms infrastructure closes on 5 November 2019 and all parties across the public and private sector are encouraged to respond. If proposals are approved this would mean an overhaul of planning laws and taller mobile phone masts could potentially be built without councils' permission across the countryside as part of government plans to speed up the roll out of 5G networks and improve mobile coverage in rural areas in England.
One of the key principles that is being consulted on is amending or creating new permitted development rights to grant planning permission in certain situations, in order to enable higher masts and to enable “deployment of radio housing equipment on land without requiring prior approval” to support 5G deployment.
In conjunction with the consultation there was a government backed competition which will see up to 10 rural locations awarded a share of a £30 million fund to run trials of 5G-related technology, shortlisted applicants to be notified by 14 November. The government said it hoped the scheme, called the Rural Connected Communities competition, could help stimulate investment in 5G and help countryside communities take advantage of the technology. Similar schemes have already been set up in Orkney to remotely monitor salmon fisheries and improve the efficiency of wind farms. In Shropshire, 5G trials have been used to help the farming industry with targeted crop-spraying and soil analysis with drones and tractors.
The new funding is expected to build on projects like these and trial other uses of 5G in rural communities to help businesses and encourage innovation.
All of the four main mobile network operators have announced intentions to begin deployment of 5G networks in 2019.
For more information please contact Louisa Butcher on Email Louisa.Butcher@mills-reeve.com