SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING GUIDANCE FOR SUSTAINABLE MOBILE ....doc
SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING GUIDANCE
FOR SUSTAINABLE MOBILE
The Borough Planning Office
The Strategic Planning Team
London Borough of Hounslow
The Civic Centre
TW3 4DN May 2004
1 Introduction 2
2 Background 4
3 Planning Policy 6
4 Planning Permission and Prior Approval 8
5 Operational Need and Development 11
6 Pre Application Discussions and Consultations 12
7 Location and Siting 14
8 Mast/Site Sharing 19
9 Design and Appearance 21
10 Health Considerations 24
Appendix 1: Summary of Telecommunications Permitted
Development As Amended August 2001 26
Appendix 2: Required Information Checklist for Prior Approval
and Full Planning Applications 28
Appendix 3: Federation of Electronic Industries and Network
Operators ‘Ten Commitments’ 30
Appendix 4: Operator Enquiry Points 31
Appendix 5: Useful Websites 32
Appendix 6: Glossary 33
Appendix 7: Contact Details 35
1.1 This document sets out the Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) for
Sustainable Telecommunication Installations within the London Borough of
Hounslow. This guidance elaborates Hounslow’s Unitary Development
Policy (UDP) Policy ENV-B.1.7 (Telecommunications) and provides
detailed advice on the suitable siting and appearance of
telecommunication masts and related equipment.
1.2 Telecommunications is defined as ‘all forms of communications by
electrical or optical wire and cable and radio signals (whether terrestrial or
from satellite), both public and private’ (PPG 8).
1.3 Domestic satellite dishes will not be dealt with in this SPG. Government
guidance is provided in the Department of the Environment, Transport and
the Regions (DETR) publication ‘A Householder’s Planning Guide for the
Installation of Satellite Television Dishes’ (Copies available from the
Borough Planning Office at the Civic Centre). This guidance is itself
currently under review by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).
1.4 Growth in consumer demand for mobile telecommunications and
operational requirements to improve the quality and range of services has
raised a number of public concerns in a Borough which is crossed by
major transport routes, has significant areas of Green Belt and
Metropolitan Open Land, an historic built environment and extensive
1.5 The Government considers that modern telecommunications systems
have a vital part to play in peoples’ lives, bringing significant economic and
social benefits. In recent years the rapid expansion of the sector has made
telecommunications a major component of the national economy. However
there have been concerns as to the siting, appearance and health issues
relating to telecommunication installations. By appreciating the essential
infrastructure requirements of the network providers and the potential
impact on the environment, Hounslow Council seeks to ensure by working
with network providers and interested parties that telecommunication
developments are sensitively delivered within the Borough.
1.6 This Supplementary Planning Guidance aims to elaborate:
• Hounslow’s telecommunications policy
• Provide guidance for telecommunications operators
• Specify Hounslow’s siting and appearance requirements for
1.7 Planning Policy Guidance Note 12 (Development Plans) states that:
• SPG may be taken into account as a material consideration in the
determination of planning applications. The Secretary of State will
give substantial weight to an SPG which has evolved from the
development plan, and has been prepared in the proper manner.
• A public consultation should form part of the SPG preparation and
include interested parties. These views should be taken into
account before the SPG is finalised.
1.8 All references to the UDP are to the London Borough of Hounslow’s
Adopted Unitary Development Plan, 12th December 2003.
1.9 To assist in the understanding of this SPG, technical terms have been
defined and elaborated in the glossary in Appendix 6.
2.1 Growth of Telecommunications
New and advance communications technology has resulted in an
increased range of services available both to individuals and
businesses. With over 46 million personal mobile phone users, modern
telecommunications systems bring significant economic and social
benefits. However the Council is conscious of the need to strike the
proper balance between environmental objectives and sustainable
2.2 Existing Telecommunications Network
Mobile telecommunications require the use of radio systems. Radio
systems need aerials and towers to boost signals. The first mobile
phone network was an analogue service which was phased out in
2001. Currently the predominant UK mobile telecommunication
network is based on the 1990s second generation digital cellular Global
System for Mobile Communications (GSM). This network is maintained
by four licensed operators; O2 (formerly BT Cellnet), Orange, T-Mobile
and Vodaphone. Each provides a 98% coverage of the UK. Two other
service providers also provide a 2G service (‘3’ and ‘Virgin’) by using
2.3 The continued growth in customer demand for second generation
services (2G) i.e. mobile digital telephony, is placing stresses on the
capacity of the networks. To accommodate growing customer
requirements in terms of improvements to the quality of service
delivery, provision of short message services (SMS aka Texting) and
traffic handling capacity, many cells of the individual operator networks
will need to be enhanced with additional base stations and masts.
2.4 Third Generation Network
Progress in telecommunications technology has resulted in the
development of a new international standard and services. Known in
the UK as the third generation mobile phone system (3G), in April
2000, five Universal Mobile Telecommunications Services (UMTS)
licences were granted. The new licence holders include the four
existing 2G operators and Hutchinson 3G. Improved data handling
capacity means that 3G technology will enable the viewing of pictures
and video and other enhanced services.
2.5 Under the terms of their licence each 3G operator is required to provide
network coverage of 80% of the population by 2007. Much of the
existing infrastructure can be re-used although the new entrant,
Hutchinson 3G, is required to build a network from scratch. The higher
frequency ranges used by 3G technology means that the area
coverage of individual cells will be reduced. This will result in an
increased demand for new sites for masts and base stations. The
Electronic Communications Code Operators have adopted a Ten
Commitments framework which is enclosed in Appendix 3.
2.6 Other Networks
In addition to the new 3G licences, TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio)
has been developed for use as a secure network for such users as the
emergency services. TETRA networks provide an integrated, digital
mobile communications system. O2 is currently developing a national
network for the police called Airwave. Many new sites will be required
for this network including some in environmentally sensitive areas.
3.0 PLANNING POLICY
3.1 National Planning Policy
Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 (PPG8), published in April 2001, sets
out the Government’s planning guidance on the siting and design of
telecommunication systems and installations. These cover a very wide
range of systems including picocells (burglar alarm box size antennas),
microcell and macrocell mobile phone base and relay stations and
3.2 PPG 8 offers guidance on environmental and health issues and
consultation procedures. The guidance can be a material consideration
in the determination of planning applications, and in the prior approval
process and appeals.
3.3 The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in November 2002 published a
revised Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development.
This code was produced jointly by representatives of central and local
government and the telecommunications industry. It provides advice on
procedures, siting and design. It brings up to date best practice
guidance and provides practical advice to facilitate improved
communication and consultation between local operators, local
authorities and local people. It aims to standardise practice thereby
promoting greater consistency of approach and aid the transparency of
the process for all concerned. This SPG by highlighting London
Borough of Hounslow issues provides a local context for mobile
3.4 The Mayor’s Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London
The London Plan (February 2004) recognises the significance of
modern communication technologies in enabling London to maintain its
economic and cultural status as a World City. The Mayor supports
measures to minimise the short-term social, economic, transport and
environmental costs of introducing e-infrastructure including ducting
and wireless equipment. There are already more Londoners in the
teleworkforce than in any other European region. It is hoped that
increased teleworking will reduce the need to travel thereby having a
positive bearing on the fundamental issue of sustainability for London.
3.5 The Hounslow Unitary Development Plan
The London Borough of Hounslow Unitary Development Plan
(December 2003) includes Policy ENV-B.1.7 which seeks to strike a
balance between the environmental impacts of telecommunications
development whilst recognising the Government’s general policies of
facilitating the growth of new and existing telecommunication networks.
Policy ENV-B.1.7 Telecommunications
Any proposal for telecommunications development will be assessed in
terms of its operational requirements and impact on the local
environment, and should satisfy the following criteria:
(i) The siting and design of the telecommunications equipment
should cause the minimum visual impact on the local
(ii) Existing facilities should be shared wherever possible;
(iii) Particular account should be taken of environmental policies
relating to Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, High Buildings,
Green Belt, Metropolitan Open Land and other sensitive areas.
The Council is concerned about the visual impact of
telecommunications equipment on the environment and aims to
prevent a proliferation of structures, i.e. satellite dishes, microwave
antennas, radio masts, aerials, etc, and a decline in environmental
quality. Particular concerns relate to the siting and design of
telecommunications equipment, sharing facilities wherever possible
and taking account of other UDP environmental policies. Policy ENV-
B.1.7 will be used to determine all prior approval applications.
4.0 PRIOR APPROVAL AND PLANNING PERMISSION
4.1 Permitted Development Rights
All development requires planning permission except those which are;
very minor (‘de minimis’); are specifically excluded from the definition of
development by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; have been
granted a general planning permission through the Town and Country
Planning (General Permitted Development) (amended) Order 1995
(GPDO) which effectively grants permission for a range of operations
(i.e. ‘permitted development’).
4.2 Part 24 of Schedule 2 details the permitted development rights of
telecommunication operators. This was revised in 2001. A Summary is
included in Appendix 2.
4.3 The Town and Country (General Permitted Development) (Amendment)
(England) Order 2001 sets out the permitted development rights for
telecommunications code system operators (Now known as the Electronic
Communications Code Operators), including masts and other apparatus.
4.4 Some types of development authorised by Part 24 are subject to the
‘prior approvals procedure’ as set out in A.2 (4) of Part 24 of the
GPDO. The prior approvals procedure applies to the construction,
installation, alteration or replacement of any development permitted by
Part 24 in a conservation area and some larger telecommunications
development still falling within Part 24.
4.5 Where the operator considers that a proposal is permitted development
under Part 24 Class A.3 the operator must apply for a determination to the
Council as to whether approval of the siting and design of the development
is necessary. Under the ‘Prior Approval’ procedure, the local planning
authority has the opportunity to decide within 56 days whether they wish to
approve details of the siting and appearance of a proposal. The authority
is able to refuse approval where they consider that the development will
pose a serious threat to amenity.
4.6 If the proposed development falls within Part 24 but is not subject to prior
approval then the development has permitted development rights.
4.7 Where it is considered that the exercise of a permitted development
right may have a serious impact on local amenity, the Council may
consider the imposition of an Article 4 direction withdrawing permitted
development rights. This can only be applied where it can be
demonstrated that a development would pose a real and specific threat
to a locality and would first require the approval of the Secretary of
4.7 Full Planning Permission
Full Planning Permission is required for development which is not
covered by permitted development rights (for example masts
exceeding 15m above ground level or development on a listed building)
or where such rights have been removed (for example in a
conservation area). Applications will be determined with regard to UDP
policies and other material considerations.
4.9 Some small telecommunications proposals are classed as ‘de minimis’
and consequently do not generally require planning permission.
Examples include picocell and microcell antenna, additional antennas
on existing masts and equipment cabins with a volume less than 2.5
4.10 Until 2001, telecommunication code system operators (now known as
Electronic Communications Code Operators) were required to provide
28 days notification for any proposed equipment installation, except
when submitting an application for prior approval or planning
permission. Although ‘licence notification’ is no longer a statutory
requirement, paragraph 67 of the Revised Code of Best Practice
indicates that operators should continue to notify local authorities with
regard to the installation of mobile phone antennas. The Council
supports this approach.
4.11 Applications for development on buildings will depend on the number of
antennae systems and the height of the building. For installations on
buildings of less than 15m or on buildings over 15m but where the
apparatus is attached below 15m, a full planning application will be
required where the development will result in more than two antennae
systems. For development on buildings over 15m planning permission will
be required where there are more than three antennae systems. With
GSM and 3G cells usually requiring different antennas the Council will
normally consider same operator GSM and 3G networks as separate
network systems in accordance with the Ministerial reply dated 1
November 2001 to Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, (Ref: SB/022844/01).
5.0 OPERATIONAL NEED AND COMPETITION
5.1 PPG 8 states that local authorities should not ‘seek to prevent
competition between different operators and should not question the
need for the telecommunications system (i.e. the individual network)
which the proposed development is to support’. However PPG 8
considers it appropriate for planning authorities to request evidence
from operators regarding the need for a specific proposal forming part
of the overall network.
5.2 Prior Approval and Full Planning Applications should be accompanied
by evidence of the need for the development in terms of the network
coverage and/or network capacity. If an operator is seeking to increase
capacity, a demonstration of existing traffic levels and evidence of the
need for extra capacity (for example overloading circuits), would need
to accompany the application as justification for the proposal. Similarly
when seeking to increase network coverage, an operator would need
to supply similar suitable evidence with the application.
6.0 PRE-APPLICATION DISCUSSIONS AND CONSULTATIONS
6.1 In accordance with the advice in PPG 8, the Council will undertake pre-
rollout and pre-application discussions with operators. Similarly in line with
PPG 8 and the Code of Best Practice, operators are encouraged to
provide the Council with their annual rollout plans and to inform the
Council of changes as they become available.
6.2 Operators will also be expected to consult the Council before the
submission of prior notification or full planning applications in order to
ensure that the optimum solution for each case is achieved.
6.3 At the pre-submission consultation stage, operators should provide basic
information for proposal sites including site maps, outline plans,
photographs and details of the type of installation.
6.4 Operators should demonstrate that the proposed installation is the
minimum possible size and that the output is commensurate with effective
6.5 At the time of notification or submission of an application, operators should
be able to show the level of community consultation and discussions with
other stakeholders which may have already taken place.
6.6 In accordance with the Code of Best Practice, telecommunications
operators are encouraged to use the ‘Traffic Light Model’ developed by the
Federation of Electronic Industries (FEI) and telecommunications
operators. This model takes into account community, environmental and
planning issues in relation to site selection.
6.7 Where a proposal is on or near a school or college, the operator, in
accordance with PPG 8 should consult with the appropriate educational
bodies. Paragraph 60 of the Code of Best Practice states the following
factors should be taken into account when determining whether a school
or college should be consulted:
• The proposed site is on school/college grounds
• The proposed development would be seen from the
• The site is on a main access point used by pupils/students to the
• There is a history of concern about base stations within the local
• The local planning authority has requested consultation with the
• The school/college has requested that it be included in any
6.8 The Council will expect the network operators to provide evidence of all
consultations undertaken and will undertake any further publicity as
may be considered necessary.
6.9 Supporting Information
The Code of Best Practice states that; ‘The quality of information
submitted as part of an application …should always be clear and
complete. Good quality submissions can help explain to local people
and consultees as well as officers and elected members exactly what is
being proposed and its likely impact ‘ and result in speedier decisions.
The Code of Best Practice Annexes F, G and H, derived from PPG 8,
identify the information which should accompany both prior approval
and full planning applications in the London Borough of Hounslow.
7.0 LOCATION AND SITING
7.1 When assessing an application for telecommunications development,
be it for prior approval or for planning permission, there will be two
main areas of assessment: location and design and appearance. The
main aim is to minimize the environmental intrusion of
7.2 Environmental Considerations
The Council will have to determine whether the need to fill in the
deficiency in a network outweighs any harm to the landscape or the
environment. Protection from visual intrusion will be an important
consideration in determining applications.
7.3 The sensitivity of the location of the proposal site for the
telecommunications mast is a material consideration. Hounslow’s flat
topography may require more ground based aerial masts and antennae
and positioning of antennae on high buildings than in areas with a more
7.4 Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land
As an outer London suburban Borough, Hounslow’s environment
benefits from significant sections of Green Belt and Metropolitan Open
Land (MOL). Planning Policy Guidance note 2 (PPG2) provides the
national planning guidance with regard to Green Belt Land. PPG2
considers that inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to
the Green Belt. ‘The visual amenities of the Green Belt should not be
injured by proposals for development within or conspicuous from the
Green Belt which, although they would not prejudice the purposes of
including land in Green Belts, might be visually detrimental by reason
of their siting, materials or design.’ PPG8 (para. 65) further considers
that telecommunications development in Green Belts is likely to be
inappropriate unless it maintains openness. The applicant will need to
demonstrate very special circumstances that would outweigh any harm
to the Green Belt or MOL. (Green Belt Policies ENV-N.1.1 – 1.4 and
MOL Policies ENV-N.1.5 -1.9). Such applications would normally be
treated as a departure from the Plan.
7.5 Nature Conservation Areas
Hounslow has two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). These are
at Tide Meadow at Syon Lane and Kempton Nature Reserve. There
are a further thirty nature conservation areas of Metropolitan and
Borough Importance. Key UDP polices are ENV-N.2.1 (Strategic
Nature Conservation Sites), ENV-N.2.2 (Sites for Local Nature
Conservation) and Table ENV-N.2 (Nature Conservation Sites in the
London Borough of Hounslow). Development adjoining strategic nature
conservation areas will only be permitted where there would be no
damage to the nature conservation interests. English Nature will be
consulted on applications which would affect an SSSI. The Greater
London Authority will be consulted on applications affecting nature
conservation areas of Metropolitan Importance, and may be consulted
on those affecting nature conservation areas of Borough Importance.
7.6 Historic Parks
In addition to Green Belt/MOL and Nature Conservation Sites, there
are a number of Historic Parks and Gardens in the Borough. Such
statutorily designated landscapes may also be Green Belt, Metropolitan
Open Land and Nature Conservation sites. They provide landscapes of
historic importance, identified by English Heritage and the setting of
such protected areas should be respected and protected from visually
intrusive development, including telecommunications development.
This impact can be felt both singly and cumulatively. These sites are
listed in Policy ENV-N.1.16 (Historic Parks and Gardens) and include
Chiswick House and Grounds, Hogarth House, Osterley Park,
Strawberry House, Syon Park, Walpole House, Gunnersbury Park,
Hanworth Park and Boston Manor. Furthermore it is considered
important that development in this Borough should not have an
adverse effect on the setting or views of historic parks and gardens in
adjacent boroughs. When considering a telecommunication proposal
which would affect an Historic Park or Garden the applicant should
consult the Council’s Conservation and Design Officer
(020-8583-4941). English Heritage and the Garden History Society will
be consulted on any such application.
7.7 Tall Buildings
In the case of proposals to locate masts and antenna on tall buildings,
in addition to other policy considerations, regard will be given to UDP
Policies ENV-B.1.2 (High Buildings and structures affecting sensitive
areas) and ENV-B.1.3 (High Buildings or structures in areas other than
those listed in ENV-B.1.2).
7.8 Listed Buildings
There are more than 800 Listed Buildings in Hounslow, details of which
are kept by the Council on a database. UDP Policies ENV-B.2.5
(Development Affecting the Setting of a Listed Building), ENV-B.2.6
(Identification and Protection of Buildings of Local Townscape
Character) and ENV-B.2.7 (Alterations to Listed Buildings and
Buildings of Local Townscape Character) aim to ensure that the setting
and character of these buildings and structures is not harmed, that any
scheme is both well designed and sympathetic and that the works are
justified. Any application involving a Listed Building will require Listed
Building Consent in addition to a Full Planning Application. It is
recommended that an applicant should consult the Borough’s
Conservation and Design Officer (020-8583-4941) when considering a
proposal which would affect a Listed Building or building of Local
Townscape Character. English Heritage will also be consulted where
7.9 Conservation Areas
There are more than twenty conservation areas in Hounslow. Policy
ENV-B.2.2 (Conservation Areas) details the policy framework for
conservation areas with further information in Supplementary Planning
Guidance. The unique character of these areas means that special
attention will be paid to their preservation and enhancement and in
particular any harm caused by new development. It is recommended
that when considering a telecommunications development in a
conservation area, the applicant should contact the Conservation and
Design Officer (020-8583-4941).
7.10 Heathrow Airport
With Heathrow airport to the west of Hounslow, much of the Borough is
within a 3km radius of the airport. Consequently, the applicant will need
to notify British Airports Authority (BAA) and the National Air Traffic
Services Ltd (NATS) for the installation of a mast within this 3km area,
as a requirement of their network operator licence. Moreover, there are
some areas beyond this range which would require BAA and NATS to
be consulted for development proposals with heights above ground
level exceeding 45m.
When considering the location of masts in or adjoining residential
areas, operators should demonstrate that nearby industrial or other
areas are unsuitable and that the need for the development outweighs
the harm to the visual amenities.
7.12In addition to the designated area/special issues key site considerations
• Height of site in relation to surrounding area
• Existence of topographical features/natural vegetation/
• Site prominence from any side/vista
• Site in relation to existing mast/ structures / buildings. Need to
• Landscaping and Screening
7.13 When a building or structure supporting telecommunication equipment
is demolished/replaced, any new/replacement installation will need to
be considered by the Council either as a prior approval determination
or as a planning application.
8.0 MAST/SITE SHARING
8.1 A long standing Government policy objective has been to encourage
telecommunication operators, wherever practicable, to share masts
and sites as a means to reduce overall mast numbers. Having regard
to this, operators should demonstrate that the site they have chosen is
the most environmentally suitable for the proposed development. The
Council will expect all possible options to have been considered before
new sites are proposed. Operators will be expected to provide
evidence of alternative site considerations and will be required to
demonstrate that existing structures are unsuitable.
8.2 Where additional antennae share one mast/site the cumulative impact on
the environment will need to be assessed.
8.3 The Council are aware that there may be technical limitations which
prevent the installation of additional equipment on existing sites/structures.
However operators should consider the potential for upgrading such sites
where it would provide an optimum environmental solution whilst meeting
network operator needs.
8.4 Where mast/site sharing does take place, an increase in the number of
antenna and/or an increase in antenna strength will most probably
increase the electromagnetic field strength from the site. The Council will
therefore expect operators to provide certification that the combined output
from the site (rather than the proposed development output) including the
output of equipment used by other operators complies with ICNIRP EMF
8.5 The Government maintains a national database of mobile phone base
stations and their emissions. This is maintained by the
Radiocommunications Agency. The database contains information on all
operational, externally sited cellular radio transmitters in England, Scotland
and Wales. Further information can be found at
8.6 Where appropriate the Council may seek to ensure that new
telecommunications development can support mast sharing in the future.
Such a scheme will be the product of a legal agreement process involving
the Council, the landowner and the network/mast operator.
9.0 DESIGN AND APPEARANCE
9.1 In determining telecommunication proposals, the Council will balance the
need for a modern communication system with the impact on the local
townscape/landscape and amenity. Protection from visual intrusion and
the implications for network development will be material considerations.
9.2 PPG 8 emphasises the importance of good design. The Code of Best
Practice states that ‘Good siting and design should not only be respected
in environmentally sensitive areas but also be applied to all
9.3 In finding the best solution for an individual site, the design of the
development should be sympathetic to the surrounding area, so as to
minimise the impact on the environment. Proliferation of multiple masts
and installations in one area will be resisted if it is considered to harm the
visual amenities of the locality.
9.4 As the safe operation of telecommunication technology may be
dependent on appropriate shielding and safety areas, particular
consideration should be made, where appropriate, to the provision of
satisfactory enclosures and perimeter security, exclusion zones and
relevant signage, to help ensure a safe and secure operation.
9.5 Mast Design
Operators should consider the use of sympathetic mast design to limit
the visual impact of the scheme. Applicants would be expected to
justify the height of any proposal. Generally slimline poles are less
intrusive but they may restrict mast-sharing opportunities. Masts
capable of sharing may, depending on site, be more appropriate.
Alternative mast designs should be considered which resemble trees or
telegraph poles (may be more appropriate in open space areas of the
Borough) or street furniture. In some cases it may be possible to
incorporate a mast within an existing building or structure and these
options should be explored before external structures are considered.
Similarly operators are encouraged to adopt more innovative designs.
Large numbers of antennae and support structures on a building will be
resisted. Although this may be an efficient engineering solution, such
development can have a cluttering effect and could potentially harm the
visual qualities of the skyline/townscape. Instead operators will be
encouraged, where technically feasible, to install wall mounted
camouflaged antenna or antenna hidden in appropriate architectural
forms such as chimneys and towers. Antenna should be positioned,
where possible, beside roof structures such as lift housings thereby
helping to limit any harm to the visual amenities.
9.7 Equipment Cabins
The dimensions of these structures should be appropriate for the
location. Materials and colours selected for equipment cabins, cable
boxes and other equipment should blend in with the surrounding area.
On rooftop locations equipment cabins should be located inside
buildings or be concealed by existing structures.
Fencing for equipment compounds should not detract from the visual
amenities of the area. Steel palisade fencing will not normally be
acceptable unless the site is within an industrial environment. All
fencing should be colour treated through powder coating during
manufacture in a colour which is appropriate for the site locality.
9.9 Planting and Landscaping
Site selection should consider the use of vegetation, both in terms of
existing cover and in terms of additional planting or landscaping.
Careful planting and landscaping should camouflage
telecommunication installations, equipment cabins and masts.
Operators should define the extent of proposed planting with a longer-
term management support plan.
9.10 Highway Considerations
When considering telecommunication Installations on or adjacent to the
Highway special attention should be given to:
• Effect on sightlines
• Access for maintenance
• Effect on pedestrians/cyclists
• Effect on other utilities
• Relationship and distance from adjacent carriageway
• Relationship to street furniture
• Need for protection during construction
• Need for licences.
10.1 The expansion of the mobile telephone network has been
accompanied by growing concerns regarding the potential health risk
from exposure to the electromagnetic fields (EMF) generated by mobile
phone usage, base stations and transmitters.
10.2The Government has responsibility for protecting public health. In 1999
the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) was set up to
examine the health effects of mobile phone use, base stations and
transmitters under the chairmanship of Sir William Stewart. In 2000 the
findings of the group were published as the Stewart Report and concluded
(para. 1.33) that ‘the balance of evidence indicates that there is no general
risk to the health of people living near to base stations on the basis that
exposures are expected to be small fractions of the guidelines. However
there can be indirect adverse effects in some cases.’ To this end the
Government has adopted the ICNIRP EMF safety guidelines.
10.3The ongoing research has recently resulted in Professor Swerdlow’s
Report (January 2004) on the Health Effects From Radiofrequency
Electromagnetic Fields concluding that the exposure levels from living
near to mobile phone base stations are extremely low, and that the overall
evidence indicates that they are unlikely to pose a risk to health.
10.4 In PPG 8, the Government has accepted the Stewart Report’s specific
‘precautionary approach’ recommendation in respect of emission
controlling and monitoring and transmitter safety zones. The
Radiocommunications Agency (RA) is conducting an audit of base
stations and has already found that of the first 100 sites located near
schools which have been tested, the electromagnetic emissions were
significantly below the ICNIRP guidelines.
10.5 Based on the findings of the Stewart Report, the Government has
adopted a precautionary approach to mobile telecommunication
installations. Due to these actions the Government has taken the view
that local planning authorities should not implement their own
precautionary policies i.e. introducing a ban or moratorium on
10.6 Furthermore PPG 8 establishes that the planning system should not
duplicate existing controls under other legislation and is not the place
to determine health safeguards.
10.7 Public perception of risk to health from a proposed development can in
principle be a material consideration in determining planning
applications. This needs to be supported by evidence of likely harm.
However it is for the local planning authority in the first instance (and
ultimately the courts), having regard to the Stewart Report and
Government guidance, to determine what weight to attach to such
considerations on an individual case basis. It is the Government’s view
that if a proposed development conforms to International Compliance
for Public Exposure Guidelines for Public Exposure to Electromagnetic
Fields established by the International Commission on Non-Ionising
Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), further consideration of this issue
should not be necessary by the local planning authority. These
standards are monitored by the Radiocommunications Agency. The
Council will therefore expect all applications for prior approval or
planning permission to include confirmation that the proposal would
comply with ICNIRP guidelines.
APPENDIX 1 – Summary of Telecommunications Permitted Development
As Amended August 2001
All network infrastructure required by the code system operators may be
installed in, on, over and under land (including on buildings and other
structures), or altered or replaced, are subject to a number of restrictions.
• A mast or tower being installed on the ground must not be greater than
15m, or the apparatus which it replaces, whichever is the greater. This
limit does not apply to antennae installed on a mast.
• Apparatus located on a building or other structure should not itself
exceed 15m in height, if the building (or structure) is 30m or more in
height, or exceed 10m if the building (or structure) is less than 30m in
height. The height of 15m does not include antenna on top.
• Furthermore such apparatus must not add to the overall maximum
height of the building by more than 10m for buildings of 30m or more;
8m for buildings between 15m and 30m and 6m for buildings of less
• Antenna may be installed on a building other than a dwellinghouse,
15m or more in height, or on a mast located on such a building subject
to limitations to the size of the antenna and would not exceed three
• A dish antenna is permitted development up to a size of 1.3m or in the
case of a number of dishes the aggregate size of all dishes on a
building, structure or mast should not exceed 3.5m, when measured in
• Radio equipment housing, including ancillary works such as fencing,
may be installed provided that it is ancillary to a telecommunication
installation. This should not exceed 30 cubic metres on a roof or 90
cubic metres elsewhere.
• Before it is possible to use permitted development rights in respect of
telecommunication apparatus with a volume greater than 2.5 cubic
metres or a public call box, a code operator must apply to the local
planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval
of the authority will be required with regard to the details and siting and
appearance of the apparatus. The local planning authority will have 56
days to make a decision. If no decision is made, or the local planning
authority fails to notify the developer of its decision within 56 days,
permission is deemed to have been granted.
• There are no permitted development rights for the installation of an
antenna, a radio mast or radio equipment housing with a volume in
excess of 2.5 cubic metres on any Article 1(5) land (Conservation
Areas) unless in an emergency (and then for only a period of up to 6
• When apparatus for telecommunication purposes is no longer required,
it should be removed as soon as reasonable and the land returned to
its pre-development condition.
• Any antenna located on a building should, as far as reasonable be
sited so as to minimize its visual effect.
APPENDIX 2 – Information Required for Prior Approval and Full
The following list, based on PPG 8 and the Code of Best Practice, shows the
type of information expected to accompany all telecommunications
applications submitted to the London Borough of Hounslow. The information
should be clear and all maps should be plotted to a recognised metric scale.
A written description of the proposal.
Evidence of owner or agricultural tenant notification.
Evidence that the Civil Aviation Authority has been notified where the
proposal includes the installation of a mast within 3km of the perimeter
of an aerodrome (i.e. Heathrow Airport).]
The appropriate fee.
A location plan. This should be at a scale of 1:1250
Site layout and elevation plans. Site layout plans should be at a
minimum scale of 1:500. Elevation/roof layout plans should be at a
scale of 1:100 or 1:50.
Plans showing proposed landscaping.
Evidence that the use of existing masts, buildings or structures has
Information in respect of the need and purpose of the proposal.
Evidence of network coverage/network capacity in locality.
A statement that a base station or other equipment will meet ICNIRP
Details of the proposed antenna, power output, frequencies used and
level of modulation.
Justification of mast/antenna height and location.
Use of the ‘traffic light model’ for determining the appropriate level of
Details of discussions and consultations which have occurred including
where appropriate schools and colleges, statutory undertakers,
community groups, Council Members, etc.
Where appropriate, evidence of physical trials in addition to computer
The use of photomontages.
APPENDIX 3 – Telecommunication Network Operators 10 Commitments
1. Develop with other stakeholders, clear standards and procedures to
deliver significantly improved consultation with local communities.
2. Participate in obligatory pre-rollout and pre-application consultation
with local planning authorities.
3. Publish clear, transparent and accountable criteria and cross-industry
agreement on site sharing, against which progress will be published
4. Establish professional development workshops on technological
developments within telecommunications for local authority officers and
5. Deliver, with the Government, a database of information available to
the public on radio base stations.
6. Assess all radio base stations for international (ICNIRP) compliance for
public exposure, and produce a programme for ICNIRP compliance for
all radio base stations as recommended by the Independent Expert
group on Mobile Phones.
7. Provide, as part of planning applications for radio base stations, a
certification of compliance with ICNIRP public exposure guidelines.
8. Provide specific staff resources to respond to complaints and enquiries
about base stations, within ten working days.
9. Begin financially supporting the Government’s independent scientific
research programme on mobile communications health issues.
10. Develop standard supporting documentation for all planning
submissions whether full planning or prior approval.
APPENDIX 5 – USEFUL WEBSITES
For planning information the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is at
For Hounslow Council planning information visit www.hounslow.gov.uk
For health information visit the Department of Health at
The Stewart Report (Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones Report)
can be found at www.iegmp.org.uk/report/text.htm
The Swerdlow Report (Health Effects from Radio Frequency Electronic Fields)
can be found at
For the audit of mobile phone base station emissions is at the
Radiocommunications Agency website at www.radio.gov.uk
For specific mast sites consult www.sitefinder.radio.gov.uk
For an independent view on mobile phone masts and associated EMF issues
Powerwatch have a website at www.powerwatch.org.uk
APPENDIX 6 – Glossary
2G The second generation or GSM is the technology
currently used in the operation of mobile phones at
900MHz and 1800MHz.
3G Third generation is the generic term used for the next
generation of mobile communication systems. The
high-speed data handling capacity of these new
systems will offer advanced services (such as video
Aerial/antenna A passive device which transmits and receives radio
waves. There are different designs including Omni-
directional, Sectored and dual/tri-band antennas.
Article 4 direction Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General
Permitted Development) Order 1995 (As amended)
allows the use of a direction withdrawing permitted
development rights in certain circumstances.
Base Station A base station is a macrocell, microcell or picocell
site and consists of the radio transmitters and
receivers in a cabin or cabinet connected to antennas
by feeder cables.
Cabin/Cabinet A structure which protects radio transmitters and
receivers from the elements often air conditioned.
Cell A geographic area within which a radio base station
transmits and receives radio signals to and from
Code System A telecommunications network operator as defined
Operator under schedule 2 of the Telecommunications Act
1984 (Known as the Telecommunications Code).
Compound Normally fenced off, compounds are the area
surrounding a mast and ancillary equipment.
Dish Antenna Operating on a line of site basis, these transmit and
receive highly focused radio waves in one direction.
These are often used to link base stations to the
Electromagnetic EMFs are emitted by many natural and man made
Fields (EMF) sources. EMFs are used to transmit and receive
signals from mobile phones. These are called
radio/frequency (RF) waves/fields.
Federation of This organisation has recently merged with the
Electronic Industries Computing Services and Software Association to
(FEI) form Intellect.
Feeder Cable A co-axial cable which connects an antenna to a
base station receiver or transmitter.
Frequency This is the number of times per second an electronic
wave oscillates and is measured in Hertz (Hz). 1
MHz is one million oscillations per second and 1 GHz
is a thousand million. 2G systems operate at 900MHz
and 1800MHz. 3G will operate at 2GHz.
GSM Global System for Mobile Communications is the
international, pan-European standard for the second
generation of mobile phones.
International Set up as an independent scientific body, the ICNIRP
Commission on has produced a set of guidelines for public exposure
Non-Ionising to radio frequency waves. These guidelines were
Radiation Protection recommended by the Stewart Report and
(ICNIRP) subsequently adopted by Government.
Macrocells The largest area of coverage within a mobile phone
network. Macrocells provide radio coverage over
varying distances depending on the terrain,
frequency and volume of calls. Cell radius can range
from 500m to 35km.
Mast A ground-based or rooftop structure that supports
antennas at a height where they can satisfactorily
send and receive radio waves. These can appear as
lattice steel or tubular monopole construction. There
are a wide range of mast types.
Microcell These provide additional coverage and capacity
where there are high numbers of users within urban
and suburban areas. Antennas are normally mounted
at street level and can be blended into building
features. These provide coverage of between 100m
and 1000m distances.
Modulation This is the process of adding information such as text
or speech to a carrier wave.
Network Capacity The limit to the volume of calls a network can handle.
Photomontages These are photographs which have been overlaid
with scaled images of the proposed development.
Picocell These provide more localised coverage than
microcells and are normally found in buildings where
coverage is poor or there are large numbers of users
such as airport terminals and shopping malls.
Power Output Measured in Watts this is the power of the radio
waves transmitted from the base station.
SMS Short Message Service commonly known as texting.
Can be use to send written messages and images.
Traffic Light Model This is a guide to ascertain the amount and type of
public consultation required for a proposed site. By
rating planning, environmental and community issues
sites according to green, amber and red, the
appropriate level of public consultation can be carried
Transmitter Electronic equipment that generates radio waves to
convey information and is connected to an antenna
via a feeder cable.
UMTS Universal Mobile Telecommunication System
(UMTS) is an international 3G standard which the UK
network operators have adopted.
Appendix 7 - CONTACT DETAILS
For further details contact:
The Borough Planning Office,
London Borough of Hounslow,
The Civic Centre,
Area Planning Teams Telephone Number
Chiswick, Gunnersbury and Turnham 020 8583 4998
Feltham, Bedfont, Hanworth and 020 8583 4940
Heston, Cranford and Hounslow 020 8583 4965
Isleworth and Brentford 020 8583 4970