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Publication - Consultation Responses

Relaxation of planning controls for digital communications infrastructure: consultation responses

Published: 25 May 2017
Part of:
Building, planning and design, Economy, Research

Analysis of responses to public consultation on digital infrastructure (e.g. phone masts, street cabinets and antennas).

32 page PDF


32 page PDF


Relaxation of planning controls for digital communications infrastructure: consultation responses

32 page PDF



Q19a - Is there scope to extend PD rights for supporting equipment (ground based masts)? (Yes -11 , No - 7)

Respondent Group Yes No Comments only No answer/ comment Total
Industry 3 2 1 6
Planning Authority 4 3 2 1 10
Govt & Agencies 1 3 4
Heritage Bodies 2 1 2 2 7
Individuals 1 3 1 5
Other 6 6
Total 11 7 6 14 38

Q19b - If yes, please describe the type of development involved and the circumstances in which additional PD rights should apply (for example, should these apply within Class 67 designated areas)?

Respondent Group Comments No Answer/ Comment Total
Industry 5 1 6
Planning Authority 9 1 10
Govt & Agencies 2 2 4
Heritage Bodies 6 1 7
Individuals 1 4 5
Other 1 5 6
Total 24 14 38

71. Several 'Industry' responses referred to the need for PD rights for back-up power supplies/ generators, one suggesting that existing compounds should be able to increase by one third under PD rights. Two of the responses referred to their responses to Question 15 and calls for PD rights for cabinets and ancillary development in all areas, with limits in designated areas above which prior approval would apply. Another respondent felt appropriate PD rights existed in this regard for their interests. One respondent also specifically mentioned a need for PD rights for poles at existing sites for satellite antennas as part of integrated backhaul, i.e. the connection to the wider communications network.

72. Of those in the 'Planning Authority' group who responded, three said no to additional PD rights due to concerns about clutter. Four agreed but with qualifications regarding designated areas, limitations on height and area of works and the need for guidance on appearance. Another wanted limitations specifying a defined compound, restrictions regarding visibility, intrusiveness and the use of prior approval in designated areas.

73. HES saw limited scope for further extensions to PD rights for existing masts in designated and non-designated areas, referring the need for appropriate size restrictions and prior approval. SNH referred to their previous concerns around the potential impacts of PD on the environment and species and the need for safeguards.

74. The 'Heritage Bodies' who responded had mixed responses, with two disagreeing with further increases in PD rights for such works, one specifying no extension in designated areas, another agreeing to an extension to such PD provided there were robust procedural safeguards in all areas. Another cited the possibility of extending PD rights in larger designated areas, but considered it difficult to generalise what would be acceptable in all circumstances.

75. Three 'Individuals' disagreed with any such extension and one supported any change to help promote infrastructure and services.

Q20 - Do you have any further comments on the proposed miscellaneous changes to Class 67?

Respondent Group Comments No Answer/ Comment Total
Industry 3 3 6
Planning Authority 3 7 10
Govt & Agencies 4 4
Heritage Bodies 4 3 7
Individuals 5 5
Other 6 6
Total 10 28 38

76. One 'Industry' respondent felt a definition of 'moveable structures' in emergencies was needed, indicating these can involve a concrete base to support a mast but there would be no foundation as such. Another two respondents referred to the need to simplify and extend PD rights where possible to encourage the rollout of infrastructure and meet demands for services.

77. Two 'Planning Authority' respondents cited concerns about the impact of underground works under PD, especially on un-designated archaeological remains and in those designated areas which do not have their own consent regimes. They felt prior approval procedures and other controls on restoration and mitigation requirements should apply to such works. One 'Planning Authority' was concerned about the non-inclusion of antennas in the limitations on dimensions for masts under PD, and that this might mean ever increasing structures to support larger antennas.

78. Of the 'Heritage Bodies', one wanted to see investment in smaller equipment and sharing of apparatus encouraged, while another wanted safeguards in relation to even minor ground disturbance. Two raised concerns about underground works, one with reference to SSSI and European Sites (referring to the requirements for Habitats Regulations Appraisals [4] ), and another about historic sites, such as historic battlefields, which have no separate statutory protections, with archaeological remains a particular concern.


Email: Alan Cameron

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road