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Press release - Mobile phone base station siting review published

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“This is a very pleasing result and builds on the recommendations of the first Deloitte report published in July 2003,” said Mobile Operators Association (MOA) Executive Director Mike Dolan. “During the past two years the operators have demonstrated marked improvement in a range of key areas related to consultation with local planning authorities and local communities on base station siting”.

Deloitte was commissioned by the MOA to examine a sample of base station siting files covering a six month period in 2004 and to form an opinion as to how well the operators were following their site selection and planning model which now forms part of the ODPM’s Code of Best Practice for mobile telecommunications development.

“The review found that the operators allocated the model’s traffic light rating in 99% of the files examined, consulted with ward councillors at a pre application stage in 96% of red and amber sites as required by the model, and voluntarily conducted additional pre-application consultation by writing to local residents in almost 50% of red and amber sites.”

“The quality of information supplied with planning applications continues to be high and now consistently includes a written rationale for the site selected with information about the alternatives considered. Local planners told Deloitte that they are generally satisfied with the information provided by operators. Deloitte found that ICNIRP compliance certificates were provided with every planning application”.

“Deloitte has made a series of recommendations for continued improvement all of which have been accepted by the MOA and operators. In addition, we will review the site selection and planning model to ensure that it continues to meet its objectives of improving the operators’ voluntary pre-application consultation. In particular, we will look at the optional elements of the model with a view to measuring their effectiveness in the consultation process.”

“The MOA and operators look forward to publication of the Government’s review of the ODPM Code of Best Practice for mobile telecommunications development by the University of Reading/ARUP which will report on local authority performance and supplement the information provided by the Deloitte review”.

 

Notes to Editors

1. Deloitte 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 can be found at www.mobilemastinfo.com/planning/best_practice.htm

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 55 million mobile phone subscribers in the UK. There are approximately 45,000 radio base station sites to support that use. Without a network of base stations in the right places mobile phones will not work.

5. The MOA and the UK mobile phone operators published the Ten Commitments to best siting practice as a voluntary code in September 2001. 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, 07714 241924, 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.