Planning reforms proposed to speed up 5G deployment

Planning reforms proposed to speed up 5G deployment

Government launched a consultation on potentially amending permitted development rights for operators win order to extend mobile coverage and support 5G roll out. The joint consultation between DCMS and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government closed on November 4th. The BSG submitted a response.

2017 saw Government agree reforms to the Electronic Communications Code with the intention of making it easier and cheaper for communications apparatus to be installed, maintained and upgraded, following commitments from mobile network operators to invest significantly and reach specific coverage targets. Further Government reforms to planning regulations have followed, aiming to support expanding mobile connectivity.

The Government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, which aims to see nationwide 5G coverage by 2027, also set out Government commitment to tackling barriers to deployment and included measures on keeping the planning regime under review. This current consultation is ‘seeking views on the principle of amending permitted development rights for operators with rights under the Code to support deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage, and the circumstances in which it would be appropriate to do so’.

Permitted development rights are Government granted planning permissions across England for specific types of development. They generally fall into two camps – those requiring prior approval of the local planning authority (a lighter-touch process and much less prescriptive than planning applications) and those carrying only the requirement to notify, allowing the operator to deploy after one calendar month’s notice. The current consultation examines whether it would be appropriate to amend or introduce a new permitted development right in light of the new technology requirements of 5G.

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