Planning Sanity congratulate all parties in Wales for taking this bold step forward, particularly Janet Davis AM (Plaid Cymru) for her tenacity in ensuring this issue has stayed firmly on the Welsh Assembly agenda, and her willingness to work with all sides in the debate including organisations such as Planning Sanity to ensure that the fullest debate possible of all the real concerns that the Welsh people have over the inappropriate siting of telecommunication installations.
Planning Sanity Director Chris Maile said “This is a positive stand that will benefit many within Wales who were slowly becoming disenchanted with a planning regime that at face value is failing to serve those that are forced to live with the consequences of inappropriate developments close to sensitive areas such as schools, hospitals and residential areas.
Whilst there is still much that can be done to improve the system of planning control, not only in relation to telecoms but also in many other areas, the public must have confidence in the system, they can never have that whilst the system fails to allow proper consideration of their greatest fears, a negative effect upon the health of our children. These proposals go some way towards addressing those concerns, the improvements if fully implemented will see improvements that once recognised will be hard to resist in England. Today the lobbying must start to ensure that the next Telecoms Bill to go before Westminster MPs brings England into line with Wales”.
Janet Davis AM (Plaid Cymru) said “I am very pleased that two of the committee recommendations have addressed the main objectives of my subordinate legislation proposal. This is urgently needed to help to increase democracy in the decision-making process for masts and ensure that health concerns are taken into account in a meaningful way.
At the moment, developers are given almost a free rein to bypass the full planning system and we are, therefore, seeing an explosion of masts in our communities. The public is losing confidence in decisions made in relation to these types of developments, and, unable to see means of influencing decisions. This cannot go on and hopefully will not if the Welsh Assembly Government accepts these recommendations and implement them as soon as practically possible.”
Editors Note: Contact Chris Maile 01202 770391 (Director Planning Sanity) – Ioan Bellin 02920 898401 (Plaid Cymru Press Officer)
The position now is that the report will now be brought before the Welsh Assembly Government who will decide which of the recommendations of the report will be adopted in future Welsh legislation, guidance and practice.
The Report as voted on
Report of the Environment, Planning and Countryside Committee’s consideration of evidence taken on the planning aspects of electronic telecommunications apparatus
The recommendations in the report are:-
We recommend that the Welsh Assembly Government revises its Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development in line with the findings of the Arup/University of Reading review and in conjunction with subsequent revisions to the UK Government’s Code of Best Practice and further that it considers making the code a statutory document or incorporating relevant parts into TAN 19.
We therefore recommend that the Welsh Assembly Government develops a communication strategy to raise awareness of its Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development.
We therefore recommend that permitted development rights are removed and that mobile telecommunications apparatus up to 15 metres be subject to the full planning process.
Since there is clearly a conflict between planning policy and guidance, we recommend that the Minister clarifies guidance in line with Planning Policy Wales to ensure that local planning authorities take health impact assessments into account when deliberating on applications for planning permission or prior approval.
We therefore recommend that the Welsh Assembly Government, using the auspices of the Welsh Local Government Association, encourages local planning authorities to take up the offer of meetings with the MOA’s members following distribution of their annual network development plans each autumn.
We therefore recommend to local authorities that they publish the MOA members’ annual network development plans and arrange for them to be sent to key stakeholders as early as possible and that the Welsh Assembly Government revises its Code of Best Practice to reflect this.
We recommend that guidance be revised to make a commitment to the feasibility of site sharing obligatory in all applications.