Letter: Poor planning for mobile phones

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The Independent Online
Sir:Your editorial (24 May) omitted one important issue, that of the environmental impact of mobile phones.

Take a drive round the M25 and you cannot fail to notice the multitude of unsightly aerial towers which have sprouted during the past 15 years to service the needs of this growth industry. The towers are said to number some 8,000 at present, and are still increasing.

These structures may be acceptable in uninhabited regions beside motorways, but to ensure 90+ per cent coverage some must be sited in rural areas. To facilitate this the last government considerably relaxed planning regulations, to the extent that a tower of 15 metres could be constructed without planning permission, and issued guidelines advising local planners to be "alive to the special needs and technical problems of telecommunications development", which the DOE have stated "should prevail over the normal planning policies which militate against inappropriate development". Local authorities can refuse permission for a structure that they consider unsuitable, but are reluctant to do so since their decisions have tended to be overruled by the DOE on appeal.

CECIL and CHRISTINE HARDY

Ashford, Kent

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