The Code of Practice for the siting of new telecommunications infrastructure has now been published. As noted previously on this site, we have been very concerned about the government proposals to remove the requirement for planning consent for new poles and cabinets. In the rush to implement superfast rural broadband we believe that this could lead to a rash of additional unsightly overhead wires and roadside cabinets.
Although our worst fears have been somewhat allayed, keeping the impact of this infrastructure to a minimum will depend on the goodwill of the telecommunications companies themselves. Whilst the code of practice urges infrastructure to be shared between operators, there is no element on compulsion.
Operators are obliged to place notices in locations where new poles are to be erected which should alert local residents of impending development. Operators are also obliged to maintain a procedure for handling complaints from the general public.
Not as bad as it could have been perhaps; but our key objection remains that legislation protecting the landscape that was considered to be inconvenient was simply temporarily set aside to allow this to proceed. This time it was broadband, what will it be next time?