UK Puts Local Authorities on Notice: Say ‘Yes’ to 5G


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In the UK, all local planning authorities are being contacted by the Minister for Digital & Broadband and being told unless they have “legitimate grounds and evidence,” they cannot withhold permission for 5G development, according to Mobile Europe.

The letter is a reaction to many instances in the UK where, not only have infrastructure building permits been turned down, but organized campaigns have taken root. The town of Glastonbury, for example, opposed the introduction of 5G “until further information has been obtained on the health effects on residents.”

Nearby towns of Frome, Totnes, and Brighton & Hove have all denied development, with the latter forming the “Brighton and Hove Radiation Free group.”

Minister Matt Warman, whose name is on the letter to the locals, hopes to dispel any health myths surrounding 5G and its development. “There is no compelling evidence for any increased concern about 5G roll-out compared to WiFi, 3G or 4G and there are well-established limits for radio equipment within which any new kit must operate,” Warman said. “These limits are acknowledged by Public Health England in the UK and the World Health Organization. We want to support work that will bust health myths over 5G and provide evidence-based reassurance to the public. The benefits of 5G are huge – both to people’s everyday lives and to the economy,” he said.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport came out with a supportive statement, saying the Minister is “setting out the government’s commitment to gigabit-capable networks such as 5G, the economic benefits of roll-out, the stringent safety guidelines, and also to make the key point that only objections with legitimate grounds and evidence should prevent planning permission from being granted.”

The government’s proposal to ease planning rules include:

  • Changing the permitted height of new masts with the aim of promoting mast-sharing and minimizing the need to build more infrastructure;
  • Allowing existing ground-based masts to be strengthened without prior approval to enable sites to be upgraded for 5G and mast-sharing;
  • Deploying radio equipment cabinets on protected and unprotected land without prior approval, excluding sites of special scientific interest; and
  • Allowing building-based masts nearer to roads to support 5G and increase mobile coverage.

October 16, 2019

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