The current arrangements for 'permitted' development are unsatisfactory - they provide insufficient time for consultation between the local authority and the community, and lead to increasing public concern about the proliferation of ground-based masts.
The institute argues that such relaxed control over telecoms structures is no longer appropriate when there are so many competing operators. It will simply result in an unacceptable accumulation of telecommunication equipment within both the built and natural environments.
The institute also calls for the prior notification approach to be scrapped, not enhanced. There would be too little scope for the local authority to resist proposals for masts and their siting. It would be a 'half-way house' between permitted development and a planning application.
If the government wants to stick with the prior notification approach, and is really concerned about the desirability of greater public consultation, the existing single-stage process should be retained with a 42 or 56 day time-frame. There will then be scope for proper public consideration of all proposals for telecommunications development.