The Scottish Government has launched a consultation to seek views on proposals to update the General Permitted Development Order regarding the maintenance and upgrade of existing mobile phone masts and associated apparatus.
Developers will be encouraged to make best use of existing sites to improve the speed at which enhanced mobile service and 4G can be offered and reduce the need for new sites. Planning requirements are not proposed to be relaxed for new masts.
Examples of proposals include increasing permitted development rights for the height of antennas and masts, allowing new and replacement telegraph poles in designated areas under the rights; and defining wording in the current General Permitted Development Order.
Increased reliable connectivity is vital for the growth and sustainability of communities and businesses, particularly in a rural environment which is lagging behind the urban centres in terms of internet connection. The Scottish Government’s Step Change Programme is increasing the availability of broadband and their target is for 95% of premises across Scotland to have broadband access by 2017/18. However, if the consultation results in increased permitted development rights, this target could be reached sooner.
The consultation closes on 8th April and is available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0044/00445772.pdf