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Mobile Operators Code of Best Practice

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 A new Code of Best Practice on Mobile Network Development in England has been published to replace the previous Code, published in 2002. 

The Code provides guidance to mobile network operators, their agents and contractors, and to local planning authorities. Since the previous version of the Code was drawn up, there have been significant changes in planning policy and law, in technology, in the way we use mobile devices, and in the structure of the mobile industry. The revised Code has been developed by a Working Group consisting of representatives of: Arqiva; the Department for Communities and Local Government; the Department for Culture Media and Sport; the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; English Heritage; the Mobile Operators Association; National Parks England (also representing the Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty); and the Planning Officers Society.

The new Code: highlights the role of connectivity in society; sets out the respective roles of national government, local authorities, and network operators in telecommunications planning; and sets out good practice in the planning process. Detailed guidance is contained in a series of appendices.

The new Code is available at: Code of Best Practice on Mobile Network Development  

 

1

CONSULTATION WITH COMMUNITIES

 Maintain clear standards and procedures and continue to deliver, with other interested parties,high quality consultation with local planners.

Traffic light model and consultation strategy

2

DETAILED CONSULTATION WITH PLANNERS

Participate in appropriate pre-application consultation with local planning authorities.

 

3

SITE SHARING

 Work together to locate base stations on existing structures, and to share sites wherever viable in order to reduce the need to build new masts on which to locate their equipment and to minimise the number of base station sites in the UK.

More information on site sharing

4

WORKSHOPS FOR COUNCILS

Continue to provide professional development workshops on technological and other developments within telecommunications for local authority officers and elected members.

See the Mobile phone mast briefings section for details of briefings held across the country for councillors and planners - For any local authority interested in a presentation the section also contains contact details.

5

STANDARDISED DOCUMENTATION FOR PLANNING SUBMISSIONS

Continue to provide standardised supporting documentation for all planning submissions whether for full planning or prior approval.

 Supplementary Information Template

6

STAKEHOLDER RESEARCH

Continue to monitor operators' performance in meeting and responding to the needs of planning officers and the general public.

 

7

INFORMATION ABOUT BASE STATION SITES

Work with local planning authorities to ensure that there is publically-available information on the location of members radio base stations in the UK.

8

COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON NONIONIZING RADIATION PROTECTION PUBLIC EXPOSURE LEVELS GUIDANCE

Continue to ensure that all sites are International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection compliant and that certificates of International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection compliance are provided with all planning applications.

ICNIRP certificate

9

PROMPT RESPONSES TO ENQUIRIES 

Provide staff resources to respond to complaints and enquiries, within ten working days.

10

SUPPORT RESEARCH INTO HEALTH AND MOBILE PHONES

Continue to support independent scientific research into mobile telecommunications and health, in line with the World health Organization Research Agenda and the UK Government's Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme.

 

The operators are using the documents below to assess what kind of community consultation may be needed in relation to a potential mast location. The approach taken by the operator would ideally be discussed in advance with the local planning authority.

Traffic light model and consultation strategy

The operators are using the template below to ensure local planning authorities have clear information about an operator's application for planning permission for a mast.

Supplementary Information Template

The operators are ensuring that every application for planning permission for a base station is accompanied by one of the following certificates. This declares that the equipment and installation is designed to be compliant with ICNIRP exposure guidelines.

ICNIRP Certificate - England

ICNIRP Certificate - Northern Ireland (pdf 6KB)

ICNIRP Certificate - Scotland (pdf 6KB)

ICNIRP Certificate - Wales (pdf 7KB)

The operators actively seek feedback on the documentation to ensure they are as effective as possible in helping to address public concerns and in assisting local planning officers in the execution of their duties. Please email MOA at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it should you want to register any comments.

'Mobile Networks: What They Are and How They Work' explains the main factors that determine why base stations need to be sited where they are. It has been produced to accompany the new Code of Best Practice on Mobile Network Development (2013), which provides guidance primarily to mobile network operators, their agents and contractors, and to local planning authorities in England.

Mobile networks: what they are and how they work

Ten Commitments

Central to the operators’ approach to network development is consultation with local communities, planning officers and other stakeholders on any proposed new developments. Pre-application consultation is included in the operators’ ‘Ten Commitments to Best Siting Practice’, which has existed since 2001 to help address concerns relating to the development of base stations, and which is now contained in planning guidance throughout the UK.

Sharing Sites

Mobile phone users in the UK increasingly want better coverage and greater capacity so they can access more services on their phones. While this means that new base stations will still be needed, network operators seek to share sites wherever possible. Site sharing helps reduce energy consumption and the overall environmental footprint of networks, as well as improving the quality of coverage.