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Mobile operators welcome Deloitte & Touche review of siting processes

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“This was a voluntary implementation review by industry and confirms that the operators want responsible network development to be transparent and accountable”. said Mobile Operators Association (MOA) Executive Director Mike Dolan. “The operators accept all of the recommendations made by Deloitte & Touche and will be having their performance reviewed again next year”.

Deloitte & Touche were commissioned by the MOA to conduct an independent review of the operators’ implementation of the Ten Commitments during their first year of operation. In their report Deloitte & Touche confirmed they had found evidence supporting the operators’ assertion of demonstrable progress in the implementation of the Ten Commitments.

The review found that the operators delivered improved levels of consultation with local councils and local communities with:

  • 100% compliance with the provision of ICNIRP (radio frequency exposure) certificates to local councils
  • in excess of 90% compliance with the use of the Traffic Light Model for additional community consultation
  • almost 100% compliance with providing supporting information with planning applications to local councils
  • consideration of alternative site locations in more than two thirds of cases
  • improved levels of consultation with communities before planning applications are lodged.

The review also identified areas which could be improved:

  • ensuring better record keeping by operators and their agents
  • ensuring that agents use the site selection and planning model consistently
  • improving the quality of information provided to planners
  • improving the advertising of community consultation events
  • providing training and materials to agents on consultation processes

“This is an important but early snap shot – progress has already been made” said Mr Dolan. “The review shows that the public can have confidence that the industry is taking the issue seriously” he said.

The Deloitte & Touche review has made a number of recommendations which are in line with the Code of Best Practice for Mobile Phone Network Development published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in November 2002.

Notes to Editors:

1. Deloitte &Touche were asked to give an overall view on the delivery of the Ten Commitments and in particular review Commitments:

1. develop, with other stakeholders, clear standards and procedures to deliver significantly improved consultation with local communities

2. participate in obligatory pre-rollout and pre-application consultation with local planning authorities

7. provide, as part of planning applications for radio base stations, a certification of compliance with ICNIRP public exposure guidelines

10. develop standard supporting documentation for all planning submissions whether full planning or prior approval

2. The review and the mobile operators’ response to the recommendations can be found at www.mobilemastinfo.com

3. The Mobile Operators Association (MOA), formerly the FEI, was set up to represent the five UK mobile phone network operators - 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone - on radio frequency health and planning issues.

4. There are 50 million mobile phone users in the UK. There are approximately 35,000 radio base stations to support that use. Without a network mobile phones will not work.

5. The UK mobile phone operators are implementing the Ten Commitments to best siting practice. Key elements of this initiative are improved transparency, more publicly available information, and improved communication and consultation with local authorities and the public.

The Ten Commitments are:

  • develop, with other stakeholders, clear standards and procedures to deliver significantly improved consultation with local communities
  • participate in obligatory pre-rollout and pre-application consultation with local planning authorities
  • publish clear, transparent and accountable criteria and cross-industry agreement on site sharing, against which progress will be published regularly
  • establish professional development workshops on technological developments within telecommunications for local authority officers and elected members
  • deliver, with the UK Government, a database of information available to the public on radio base stations
  • assess all radio base stations for international (ICNIRP) compliance for public exposure, and produce a programme for ICNIRP compliance for all radio base stations as recommended by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones
  • provide, as part of planning applications for radio base stations, a certification of compliance with ICNIRP public exposure guidelines
  • provide specific staff resources to respond to complaints and enquiries about radio base stations, within ten working days
  • begin financially supporting the UK Government's independent scientific research programme on mobile communications health issues
  • develop standard supporting documentation for all planning submissions whether full planning or prior approval

6. For more information please contact Christine Jude 0207 331 2029, 0207 331 2029, 07714 241924, 07714 241924, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Nicole Hughes 0207 331 2052, 0207 331 2052, 07736 110787, 07736 110787, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

61% of UK adults access the internet from mobiles

Mobile phones cannot work without a network of base stations (masts). There are approximately 52,500 base station sites (excluding microcells) in the UK. Only a third of these are large, free standing masts. A YouGov survey for MOA (Sept 2014) showed that nearly 8 out of 10 people recognise the link between masts and good mobile coverage. Mobile telecommunications are vital for the UK’s economic competitiveness and in promoting social inclusion. There are now 89.9 million mobile subscriptions in the UK. In Q1 2015 61 per cent of UK adults used their mobile phones for internet access. Tablet ownership is 54% of UK households.

No Established Health Effects

Mobile phones operate by using radio waves, similar to those that have been widely used for decades, for example in radio, TV and radar signals. A large number of studies over the last two decades have found no clear evidence of adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones or from phone masts.