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The Accord was signed between the Association of National Park Authorities, Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Mobile Phone Network Operators: 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone (the Operators) in 2002.

The purpose of this Accord is to protect the special qualities of our finest landscapes while making the best possible provision for telecommunication services. In seeking to achieve their respective legitimate objectives:

  • THE OPERATORS RECOGNISE THEIR OBLIGATIONS TO PROTECT THE SPECIAL QUALITIES OF THE NATIONAL PARKS AND AONBS.
  • THE TWO ASSOCIATIONS RECOGNISE THE OBLIGATIONS UPON THE OPERATORS TO PROVIDE AS CONSISTENT A SERVICE AS POSSIBLE IN ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRYSIDE, INCLUDING THE PROTECTED AREAS.

To aid the achievement of these objectives:

The operators will provide copies of their roll-out plans to each National Park Authority in September/October each year. Where operators have requirements for sites, annual rollout discussions will be held between each operator and National Park Authority in order to explore optimum locations and opportunities for mast-sharing where this would represent the optimum environmental solution.

The operators will encourage LPAs to involve AONB Units/Conservation Boards in roll-out discussions. AONB Units/Conservation Boards will ensure that LPAs are aware of their interests in operators’ proposals in time to enable them to take part in roll-out discussions.

The operators’ acquisition agents/planning consultants will initiate pre-application discussions with the relevant National Park Authority prior to the submission of any application for telecommunications development within or immediately adjacent to any of the protected areas in order to explore the optimum environmental and network solution.

Where applications involve development within or adjacent to an AONB, operators will encourage LPA’s to consult with AONB Unit/Conservation Board as a stakeholder.

Discussions will seek to mitigate adverse landscape impacts and will include consideration of mast-sharing or site-sharing and any technical advances where this would provide the required coverage and represent the optimum environmental solution. Alternative designs and landscaping and other mitigation measures will also be considered. The relevant National Park Authority or AONB Unit/Conservation Board will contribute positively to these discussions in order to seek the optimum solution. These discussions will take place in line with the ODPM on Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development.

The two Associations and the operators will work together to share good practice in design solutions and promote good quality design,

To ensure that the objectives of this Accord are achieved, the signatories will establish a National Forum that will meet at least once a year to review progress and at any other times, if a specific issue demands it.

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.