Mobile Phone Masts. There are about 71 million mobile phones in use in the UK and none of them would function without the network infrastructure needed to route connections etc. The network infrastructure, includes aerials to route the calls and these have to be sited, near to where people are making calls. There are thee main equipment types : macrocells, microcells and piccolos all performing a different function.
The UK governments policy on the erection of mobile phone aerials, is to encourage the development of mobile phone networks but at the same time, minimise the effect they may have on the environment. This should also extend to the possible effect they have on human health. The location of these aerials is quite an emotive subject and various bodies are already suggesting that caution should be applied when dealing with new installations, particularly, when then are in close proximity to human habitation or schools etc.
Mobile Phone Masts on Blocks of Flats
If you were a leaseholder in a block of flats, how would you feel about the landlord allowing a mobile phone mast to be erected on the roof of your building? Many leaseholders are worried about this possibility as some landlords are attracted by the ‘easy money’ on offer from mobile phone providers to site a mast on a building. Many leaseholders also believe it is morally wrong for the owners of blocks of flats to take money in exchange for possibly putting residents’ lives and general health at risk, purely for financial gain. At the present moment, if you wish to prevent your landlord from erecting a mast on your building, you will need to obtain good quality legal advise, preferably from a solicitor who is well versed in leasehold law.
Apart from the fact that in the main, these installations are very unattractive, there are fears that mobile phone masts present a threat to health, more research is needed in to emissions of energy from these towers and to see if there is an correlation between them and a decline in health of residents living nearby. There have been reported stories of multiple residents in a block being struck down with cancer and whilst there is no real concrete evidence, most leaseholders would prefer to be cautious and not have a phone mast erected on their building.
As with any other building developer or landlord, a mobile phone operator carrying out minor works to a building are unlikely to need planning permission. So, just as the homeowner can normally install a television aerial without needing planning permission, so a mobile operator needn’t seek planning permission, providing of course, the installation is of a reasonable size. In most cases, masts will fall in to, two categories
- This category, allows for minor forms of development to be carried out such as the installation within limitations of antennas onto buildings as well as the installation of equipment cabinets relating to the antenna with a volume of less than 2.5 cubic metres. This can include some macro and microcell base stations where no radio tower is proposed.
- This category relates to larger forms of development and includes radio towers up to 15 meters in height and ground-based radio equipment housing up to 90 cubic metres. Within these limits planning permission must be obtained before installation can commence. The local authority has up to 56 days from date of receipt of application to make a decision. If the planning authority fails to notify the operator of it’s decision’s) within 56 days, permission is deemed to have been granted and the installation can proceed.
If you are worried about the proximity of mobile phone masts to your home or perhaps your children’s place of education, there are a number of websites that will allow you to check on their location.
Assetsure provides UK flat insurance and home insurance for buildings and contents for homeowners in the United Kingdom.