In July 1996 my Department issued guidelines for planning authorities on telecommunications antennae and support structures. Their purpose was to assist planning authorities, An Bord Pleanála, operators of mobile telecommunications services and the general public by providing guidance on dealing with telecommunications masts and base stations within the planning system.
The guidelines advise that, in the vicinity of larger towns and city suburbs, operators should endeavour to locate in industrial areas or in industrially zoned land. They advise that only as a last resort should free-standing masts be located within or the immediate surrounds of smaller towns or villages and also that only as a last resort should free-standing masts be located in a residential area or besides schools. There is no proposal at present to introduce new guidelines for phone antennae and base stations.