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Government and Regulation

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Masts and Planning

Planning policy in England is overseen by Communities and Local Government.

The Welsh Government does not currently have powers to introduce planning legislation, but is able to amend current guidance and regulations. 

Responsibility for planning matters is devolved to the Scottish Government, which introduced major changes to the planning system in Scotland in the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006.

Responsibility for the planning system in Northern Ireland is devolved to the Northern Ireland Planning Service.

For more information, please see our Planning Policy section.

Telecommunications Regulation

The telecommunications industry is regulated by Ofcom. Amongst Ofcom’s main legal duties are to ensure that

  • the UK has a wide range of electronic communications services, including high-speed services such as broadband; and
  • the radio spectrum (the airwaves used by everyone from taxi firms and boat owners, to mobile-phone companies and broadcasters) is used in the most effective way.

Further information on Ofcom can be found at

Health and Safety

 Advice to the UK Government, the industry and the general public on radio frequency health and safety issues is provided by the Health Protection Agency. In Scotland, this issue is the responsibility of Health Protection Scotland, in Wales Public Health Wales and in Northern Ireland, the Public Health Agency.

A report by the Scottish Parliament's Transport and Environment Committee on aspects of telecommunications development, published on 29 March 2000

The European Commission: Official Documents.

FCC Office of Engineering and Technology

International Telecommunications Union
tel: +41 22 730 6164


89.9 Million Mobile Subscriptions

Mobile telecommunications are vital for the UK’s economic competitiveness and in promoting social inclusion. There are now 89.9 million subscriptions in the UK. In Q1 2015 61% of UK adults used their mobile phone for internet access. Tablet ownership is 54% of UK households. Operators are working with Ofcom to extend the benefits of mobile communications as widely as possible; 99.7% of UK premises (homes and businesses) had outdoor 2G coverage from at least one operator; 3G coverage is slightly lower at 99.3% and 4G has reached 89.5%.

Smartphone ownership 

Two thirds of all adults (66%) now own a smartphone, this is on a par with laptop ownership. The proportion of adults that accessed the internet on a mobile handset increased to 61%. Over half of households (54%) had a tablet computer. Twenty eight percent of individuals now own an e-reader.