The government publishes its response to the consultation (until 14/06/2021) relating to PD rights for electronic communications infrastructure …

[UPDATE: For the subsequent legislation relating to this consultation, please view this post.]

The government has published the following response to the consultation titled "Changes to permitted development rights for electronic communications infrastructure - technical consultation" (which ran for 8 weeks from 20/04/2021 until 14/06/2021):

  • March 2022: Changes to permitted development rights for electronic communications infrastructure - Government response to the technical consultation (link) (pdf print version of HTML webpage).

Notes:

  • The "Enabling deployment of radio equipment housing" section towards the start of the above response document includes the following information:
    - "To support the upgrading of sites and improve mobile connectivity in rural areas, we will enable small radio equipment cabinets to be installed on Article 2(3) land without prior approval - bringing regulations in line with those for unprotected areas. Cabinets over 2.5 cubic metres will still be subject to prior approval.".
    - "To further support site sharing and coverage in rural areas, we will also make it easier to deploy equipment cabinets within compounds, while ensuring that visual impacts are mitigated.".
    - "We will be introducing conditions into regulations to ensure that the impacts of development are minimised, as well as strengthening guidance on the siting of development through the new Code of Practice.".
  • The "Strengthening existing ground-based masts" section towards the start of the above response document includes the following information:
    - "To enable the upgrading of sites to support 5G deployment and increase network capacity, we will enable increases to width of existing [ground-based] masts without prior approval. We will enable width increases of two-thirds for existing narrower masts (those that are currently under a metre in width) and increases of one-half or two metres (whichever is greatest) for existing wider masts (those that are currently more than one metre in width). Greater increases beyond these limits would be subject to prior approval and planning conditions that require operators to minimise impacts will be introduced.".
    - "To further support site sharing and extend mobile coverage, we will also enable existing [ground-based] masts outside of Article 2(3) land to be increased to a height of 25 metres without the need for prior approval. Greater increases (up to 30 metres) would be subject to prior approval. We will not be amending the current provisions that allow increases to heights of existing masts on Article 2(3) land without prior approval (increases up to 20 metres are currently permitted), but we will enable limited height increases in these areas subject to prior approval (up to 25 metres). New planning conditions will ensure that Code Operators minimise the visual impact of infrastructure, especially on Article 2(3) land.".
  • The "Building-based masts" section towards the start of the above response document includes the following information:
    - "To incentivise the use of buildings and existing structures, and help mitigate the impact of new development, we will enable the deployment of building-based masts in closer proximity to highways, subject to prior approval. We will also permit smaller masts (up to 6 metres in height above the tallest part of the building) to be installed on buildings without the need for prior approval.".
    - "These changes will only apply on unprotected land. Furthermore, the existing conditions which limit the height of masts, and require visual impacts to be minimised on buildings, will continue to apply.".
  • The "New ground-based masts" section towards the start of the above response document includes the following information:
    - "To facilitate site sharing and provide greater coverage and capacity, especially in rural areas, we will enable the deployment of taller new ground-based masts - up to 25 metres in height on Article 2(3) land or land on a highway, and up to 30 metres on unprotected land.".
    - "All new [ground-based] masts will still require the prior approval of the local planning authority, which will assess the proposed siting and appearance of the mast. Masts that exceed these heights will require full planning permission. The new Code of Practice will also provide detailed guidance on how operators could engage and consult with local communities on new development proposals to ensure that their views are considered.".
    - "The government will not be taking forward the proposal to permit the deployment of monopole masts without the requirement for prior approval on unprotected land at this time.".
  • The "Other changes" section towards the start of the above response document includes the following information:
    - "To ensure that any impacts on safeguarded assets can be considered by the relevant parties through the planning system, we will make changes to the procedure for notifying aerodromes, technical sites and defence assets.".
    - "We will also update the definition of ‘small cell system’ to make sure that this encompasses new and emerging types of small cell technology.".
    - "As noted above, we recognise that concerns were raised about mitigating the visual impacts and protecting local amenity. To address these concerns, we will introduce new planning conditions that require Code Operators to minimise the visual impact of new network development, particularly on Article 2(3) land, and to minimise impacts on the accessibility of footways and access to properties.".
  • Note: For more information about the above, please also view the "Government response" section (paragraphs 49-60) towards the end of the above response document.
  • Note: Paragraph 70 within the above response document states the following:
    - "As set out above, in order to make these changes, we will now make amendments to Part 16 of [the GPDO 2015]. These changes will be made via secondary legislation, when parliamentary time allows.".

Other sources of information:

  • August 2019: Proposed reforms to permitted development rights to support the deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage - Consultation (pdf) (link).
    - Note: For more information about the above document, please view this post.
  • July 2020: Government response to the consultation on proposed reforms to permitted development rights to support the deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage (pdf) (link).
    - Note: For more information about the above document, please view this post.
  • April 2021: Changes to permitted development rights for electronic communications infrastructure - technical consultation (pdf print version of HTML webpage) (link).
    - Note: For more information about the above document, please view this post.