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Government Consultation on Extending Permitted Development Rights for Code Operators

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

The government has published a consultation on proposed reforms to the permitted development rights available to electronic communications code operators (Code operators)…

…in England under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (SI 2015/596).

The proposals are designed to support the deployment of 5G networks and to extend mobile coverage, particularly in rural areas.

The consultation seeks views on extending the relevant permitted development rights to:

  • Remove the requirement for prior approval by the local planning authority (prior approval) for the installation of radio equipment housing on article 2(3) protected land, or on unprotected land where it exceeds 2.5 cubic metres. This amendment is intended to bring these rights in line with those relating to fixed-line broadband infrastructure. Prior approval would still be required for installations on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).
  • Allow Code operators to increase the width of existing ground-based masts by more than a third to encourage greater utilisation of existing sites. The consultation also seeks views on the maximum increase that should be permitted without prior approval.
  • Allow Code operators to increase the height of existing masts to the relevant permitted height without prior approval.
  • Allow masts to be installed within 20 metres of a highway on buildings less than 15 metres in height. The consultation also seeks views on whether this right should be subject to prior approval.
  • Increase the maximum height of new masts that may be deployed as permitted development, subject to prior approval. The consultation also seeks views on the appropriate maximum height and whether a lower limit should apply to masts located on article 2(3) land or on a highway.

The consultation also seeks views on what restrictions should be attached to each of the new rights, to promote safety and security and to control the visual impact of the relevant installation.

Interested parties are encouraged to comment on the likely impact of the proposals (with regards to the government’s stated aims) and to suggest further measures that could be offered to reduce the visual impact of new installations, ensure the removal of redundant apparatus and maximise the use of existing sites.

The consultation closes on 4 November 2019. Subject to the outcome of this consultation, the government anticipates a further consultation on the detailed proposals, including draft regulations.  The full consultation paper can be viewed here

If you need any Commercial Property advice contact our Specialist Team

Tom Warrender


Tom Warrender


Tom is a Partner and Commercial Property Solicitor with a wealth of experience acting for clients both locally and nationally since 2005.