Written Answers. - Mobile Phone Communication Masts.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

690 Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he intends to amend the exempted development regulations on telecommunication structures (S.I. No. 86 of 1994 and S.I. No. 78 of 1997) in regard to the location and sitting of mobile phone communication masts in residential areas in order to ensure that communication companies must apply for planning permission to co-locate mobile phone masts and antennae; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19971/00]

S.I. No. 78 of 1997 provides that the attachment to an existing radio mast of antennae for mobile telephony and the replacement of an existing mast are exempted development. The addition of antennae for mobile telephony to an existing radio mast and the replacement of an existing mast are, subject to certain criteria – restrictions on the size, number and type of mobile phone antenna and compliance with certain emissions standards – exempted development. The exemption for mobile phone masts in S.I. No. 86 of 1994 was a temporary one which expired on 16 November 1994.

The exempted development regulations give statutory support to the policy of co-location of antennae by licensed mobile telephone operators set out in my Department's guidelines for planning authorities on telecommunications antennae and support structures and are a key measure to avoid the proliferation of masts. I have, therefore, no plans to amend the exempted development regulations as proposed by the Deputy.