Changes to UK planning system to smooth process for mobile broadband rollouts

8 May 2013

Proposals to alter the UK’s planning system with a view to speeding up the regulatory process for the rollout of mobile broadband infrastructure have been unveiled. According to, a number of changes have been recommended, with the plans designed to ensure that the use and sharing of existing infrastructure is maximised while maintaining environmental safeguards. As reported, among the key proposals are plans to: clarify existing permitted development rights to remove ambiguity; amend the rules on masts on buildings to enable mobile operators to install antenna further back from the edge of a building; make it easier to allow the wall mounting of antenna, maximising the use of existing buildings/structures and minimising the number of new ground-based masts; and to facilitate the use of small wall-mounted ‘microcell’ antenna, which are said to offer a quick way to add network capacity with minimal visual impact.

Speaking on the likely impact of the new regulations, planning minister Nick Boles was cited as saying: ‘These proposed technical changes allow the new technology needed for improving mobile coverage and speeds for local residents to be installed in a way that ensures better use is made of existing infrastructure.’

United Kingdom