We’ve received notification of plans to upgrade four mobile phone masts in Cheadle & Gatley: one off Pendlebury Road, one at Gatley Hill, a rooftop mast in Cheadle High Street and a mast at Kingston Hill, off Wilmslow Road. There’s another mast just outside the ward on Wool Lane, near the Demmings Industrial Estate.
Vodafone Limited has entered into an agreement with Telefónica UK Limited, commonly known as O2, pursuant to which the two companies plan to jointly operate and manage a single network grid across the UK. These arrangements will be overseen by Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) which is a joint venture company owned by Vodafone Limited and Telefónica UK Limited.
This agreement allows both organisations to pool their basic network infrastructure, while running two, independent, nationwide networks. It also enables both organisations to maximise opportunities to consolidate the number of base stations and significantly reduce the environmental impact of network development.
A number of suitable existing sites within your Council area have been identified for upgrading and we aim to work with you to progress these proposals in a manner that is both acceptable to your Council and meets the technical network requirements. The purpose of this letter is to consult with you and seek your views on our proposal before any planning submission is made. We understand that you are not always able to provide site specific comments, however, Vodafone and Telefónica are committed to consultation with communities on our mobile telecommunications proposals and as such would encourage you to respond.
Mobiles can only work with a network of base stations in place where people want to use their mobile phones or other wireless devices. Without base stations, the mobile phones and other devices we rely on simply won’t work.
This email therefore invites you as a local Councillor, in accordance with planning policy guidance and Best Practice Commitments, to enter into pre-application discussions with regard to our preferred sites prior to a formal planning submission. Several steps in the site identification process have already been undertaken. The Local Planning Authority mast register and our records of other potential sites have already been reviewed, the policies in the Development Plan have been taken into account and the planning history of the site has been examined.
A number of existing sites have been identified to be upgraded and are listed on the attached excel document. A map showing the locations of the proposed sites to be upgraded is available via the following weblink:
(N.B. Please note that the online map has been generated using the postcode of the existing base station and is for illustrative purposes only).
Our next stage is to attend a design visit to establish the nature of the upgrade required and prepare drawings. In many cases, the upgrade will be very minor in nature requiring only additional cabinets and antennas to an existing structure. In some cases, a change in the design of the existing structure will be required to accommodate further equipment.
All Vodafone and Telefónica installations are designed to be fully compliant with the public exposure guidelines established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). These guidelines have the support of UK Government, the European Union and they also have the formal backing of the World Health Organisation. A certificate of ICNIRP compliance will be included within each planning submission.
In order to give you time to send your comments or request further information, we commit to allow at least 14 days before an application is submitted to the Local Planning Authority. This 14 day period starts from the date of this email.
We would also be grateful if you could please advise of any local stakeholders or groups that might like to make comments.
We look forward to receiving any comments you may have on the proposal.
From my own investigations, I’m not aware of any problems with this sort of upgrade. The amount of radiation you’re exposed to from holding your mobile phone to your ear is many times more than you would receive from standing near a base station, and this proposal is about upgrading base stations to work with an additional network rather than adding new ones. If you have concerns or comments, please post them here or get in touch.