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MOBILE PHONE MASTS GOING INCOGNITO

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Mobile phone companies are learning to disguise their masts in response to criticism that they are a blot on the la...
Mobile phone companies are learning to disguise their masts in response to criticism that they are a blot on the landscape but this might not be enough to prevent the government tightening the rules governing their construction.

The Daily Telegraph (Connected, 1 Oct, p6) reported that mobile phone masts have been going up all over the country for more than 10 years.

'The rules for putting up mobile phones were introduced in 1984 at the height of the Thatcherite policy of deregulation. The companies were obliged to achieve high coverage as fast as possible. At the same time planning guidelines were allowed to be extremely lenient,' says Henry Oliver, planning officer at the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.

For masts up to 15 metres, local authorities have only 28 days to decide on an application and have no requirement to inform the public that an application has been received.

'We think it's wrong that these sorts of developments should be outside the rules that apply to any other sort of development,' Oliver said. The government agrees. It is thinking of increasing the period to 56 days.

But the phone companies are already responding to criticism and are now disguising their masts, sometimes as trees, and sometimes on church towers.

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