BPT calls for a cohesive city-wide operations plan for the future installation of telecommunications equipment. This is essential in identifying potential sites for installation on a larger scale, to ensure appropriately low-sensitivity sites are selected, as well as avoiding the over-provision of telecommunications equipment. Cross-provider collaboration should be encouraged, either through the sharing of masts by multiple providers, or a co-ordinated plan of mast locations to avoid over-saturation.
Mast installations and upgrades would result in public benefit, including improved mobile connectivity and access, and the opportunity to provide service in rural areas that typically suffer from poor signal and network ‘blind spots’ to enable activities such as home working. These benefits should be proportionately weighed against the proposed visual harm of a mast of an increased size, and how impact may be most effectively mitigated. The following factors should be considered:
- Assessment of the visibility of the proposed mast/pole in short and long-range townscape or landscape views.
- Consideration of the sensitivity or special character of the site, particularly where installation would be situated within the open, rural landscape of the Green Belt and Cotswolds AONB.
- Use of existing green planting such as established hedgerows and trees to screen the proposed pole/mast from surrounding views.
- The use of a more slender monopole design is preferable to a bulkier, more top heavy design. Colours and finishes should be selected that would blend in with its surroundings and conceal it in longer-range views.
BPT has responded to a range of applications proposing the installation of 5G telecommunication monopoles and cabinets across Bath and its landscape setting; read an overview of our planning application responses below: