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Planners say mobile operators are improving consultation performance year on year

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The main findings of the research were:

  • Four in five planners agree that there has been an improvement in the quality of information and level of consultation by operators
  • Seven in eight planners feel operators co-operate positively with requests for more information about planning applications
  • Three-quarters of planners agree the operators provide them with enough information about their plans for mobile base stations within their local authority area
  • Four in five planners agree that the operators make themselves available for discussion with planners before submitting applications
  • Almost a third of planners say that there are no areas for mobile phone operators to address more effectively - up from just over ten per cent in 2001

Mike Dolan, Executive Director of the Mobile Operators Association said, “Operators are successfully filling the information gap for planners that was identified five years ago. They are meeting planners’ expectations and delivering improved information and communication, both with local authorities and local communities.”

View report: MORI - Addressing the needs of planners (pdf 387KB)

Notes to Editors

1. MORI Report: "Addressing the needs of planners - Annual research among local authority planners responsible for mobile telecoms planning 2001 to 2005", published on www.mori.com.

2. There are over 60 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.

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. The MOA website is: www.mobilemastinfo.com

4. The UK mobile phone operators implemented the Ten Commitments to best siting practice in 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

5. MORI interviews a representative quota sample of 100 senior local authority planners involved in mobile phone base station planning every May. A quota is set to ensure that the sample is representative of the different types of local councils across Great Britain. The research has been conducted annually since May 2001. Interviews are carried out using CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing). For further information on the MORI Survey please contact Alnoor Samji ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) on 0207 347 3000, 0207 347 3000

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

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.