Planning considerations for Telephone Masts

Planning considerations for telephone masts

We take great care in the choice of location for masts and antennas. We balance this against the increasing demand for mobile services and technology.

Planning requirements

Whether or not a mobile mast is permitted development will depend on its height and location. As of April 2022, new ground-based mobile masts up to 30 metres in non-protected areas and up to 25 metres in protected areas (such as conservation areas and national parks) are permitted.

Regardless of whether planning permission is required, operators need to obtain agreement from the landowner to build mobile masts on private land.

Planning permission: new ground-based masts above 30 metres

A planning application is required for telecoms infrastructure that is not permitted development. An operator can only go ahead once they have obtained planning permission from us.

There is usually a consultation process which involves writing to local residents and a site notice.

Planning considerations

We consider applications in line with government policy and our local development plan

We aim to ensure that:

  • all phone operators comply with all Local and Central Government policies and guidelines
  • full and proper consultation is carried out with all parties
  • development is designed sensitively so as to minimize the visual impact and use is made of existing or new screening, such as trees, fences or buildings
  • radiation levels are kept as low as possible and in any case, below the ICNIRP

Prior approval: new ground-based masts below 30 metres

Telecoms infrastructure that counts as permitted development may still require ‘prior approval’ from us. 

For mobile masts under 30 metres, the main condition is that their siting and appearance must be such that their visual impact on the surrounding area is minimised.

Upgrades to existing masts and new masts on buildings

Some permitted development does not require prior approval from the LPA. This includes minor upgrades to existing masts and new building-based masts up to six metres.

Operators are still required to notify the LPA if they intend to install infrastructure in areas where they have not previously done so. The notice period is 28 days. 

Operators should:

  • contact us for pre-application advice to ensure that all options are explored and unsuitable locations discounted
  • place antennas on existing masts or buildings, to reduce their visual impact
  • build sensitively and as far away from schools, hospitals and residential areas as possible