Taller mobile phone masts on the cards for Norfolk countryside

Taller mobile phone masts could be allowed if the government relaxes current planning restrictions.

Taller mobile phone masts could be allowed if the government relaxes current planning restrictions. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: Evening News © 2007

Mobile phone masts up to 20pc taller than the current models could get approved in the Norfolk countryside, under new government plans announced today.  

The move is an effort to tackle mobile blind spots in rural communities and boost the rollout of 5G networks.  

However, areas like the Broads and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) like the Norfolk coast will have stricter rules.  

Masts will be allowed a maximum height of 30 metres in unprotected areas and 25 in protected areas and Telecom firms will be allowed to make existing masts up to five metres taller and two metres wider without prior approval.  

The government said will help increase the range of masts and fit on more equipment.  

Michael Rayner of the countryside charity Campaign to Protect Rural England Norfolk (CPRE) seemed unconcerned by the plans, saying all new applications need to be considered “on a case-by-case basis”.  

He said: “With all these applications that affect the countryside we have to take into account the various impacts - there are areas where harms would be caused and there are settings where it won’t.”  

Michael Rayner, from CPRE Norfolk. Pic: CPRE Norfolk.

Michael Rayner, from CPRE Norfolk. Pic: CPRE Norfolk. - Credit: CPRE Norfolk

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Mr Rayner said there would have to be proper consideration of the visual impact in areas like the Norfolk Coast AONB.  

Adding: “On the other hand, you have to appreciate the need for good connectivity for rural communities, so there has to be infrastructure in place.  

“There just needs to be care taken, while taking into account the public’s views.”  

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden said they wanted to “level up the country”, end poor and patchy signal in rural communities, and provide a boost for families, businesses and visitors.  

Adding: “These practical changes strike a careful balance between removing unnecessary barriers holding back better coverage, while making sure we protect our precious landscape.”  

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has urged football clubs who have furloughed staff, like Norwich Cit

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden - Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Images

Hamish MacLeod, director of industry body Mobile UK, welcomed the proposals, urging the government to bring legislative change as quickly as possible  

He said: “We welcome the proposals set out in this consultation which will provide better certainty and flexibility to technological changes required to build world-class mobile networks.” 

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