Councillors call for change to rules on communication poles - The Evesham Observer

Councillors call for change to rules on communication poles

Evesham Editorial 11th Dec, 2023   0

COUNCILLORS have called for the Government to toughen up the regulations around the installation of communication poles to prevent them blighting communities.

Wychavon’s politicians  unanimously backed a motion on Wednesday (December 6) to lobby the Government to give more power back to councils to control how and where communication poles are installed.

Councillors specifically want the Government to change The Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Regulations) Regulations 2003 so communication companies are forced to share apparatus.

The code currently only gives the first operator in an area permission to share its appratus with another ‘where practicably possible’ but it does not require it to do so.

The move follows the installation of communication poles against the wishes of communities in Broadway, Droitwich Spa and other parts of the district.

In Broadway the police had to be involved due to the strength of the protests and one man was hospitalised.




Similar protests have been made across the country as more and more poles are installed to support the rollout of faster broadband infrastructure.

Wychavon does not have any power to stop communications companies from installing poles or to force them to share apparatus, as they are classed as permitted development, meaning they do not need planning permission.


Coun Emma Kearsey, Executive Board Member for Planning and Infrastructure on Wychavon District Council, said:

“In Broadway we had 22 poles installed just days after underground cabling had been put in to do the exact same job. But when we tried to get the two companies involved to work together and share apparatus it was frankly like dealing with petulant children and we had no power to force them to do anything different.

“The Government’s intention to provide access to faster broadband speeds, particularly in rural areas, is the right one and is to be applauded. But communities and local councils up and down the country need more of a say and control over how this infrastructure is installed.

“We believe as a minimum, changing a few words in the code will still allow for the fast rollout of increased broadband speeds we all want to see, but not at the expense of our communities for commercial gain.

“The fact the motion was unanimously supported shows the strength of feeling on this issue and I hope councillors up and down the country will support us in our call for the Government to make this change.”

 

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