Following your invitation to submit evidence relating to planning and associated issues concerning mobile phone masts, I would like to present to you the following information: I write as somebody who has been working with the mobile communications industry now for 7 years, working on special projects where towers/masts are to be built in sensitive or rural areas and require camouflaging.
We have recently developed a product which disguises monopole towers/masts from heights of 10 meters and up to 30 meters, as a Leyland Cypress tree.
The tree is suitable for siting not only in rural areas, but blends in very well in urban and sub-urban landscapes. The tree is aesthetically pleasing from close range as well as from afar. From an operators point of view, it is easy to fit (usually in 1 day), has no additional health and safety issues, all materials used are environmentally friendly and it has been fully tested for wind loading, snow loading, ultra violet damage and other adverse weather conditions. The tree is suitable for site sharing (up to 3 users). Whilst there is an additional cost for using this product over and above that of a standard pole, we have been able to modify it to an extent whereby it only increases the cost of establishing a base station by usually no more than 20%.
We are now entering a phase because of technological advances with 3G and beyond, that telecommunication sites are coming closer to residential areas, and as the publics usage of picture messaging and other memory hungry features come on line during the coming years, this will increase the demand for more and more towers/masts in these areas. With that in mind, I believe that the Leyland Cypress tree product is an excellent solution / compromise between operators wanting to establish more sites in sensitive areas, and the public who need the service, but are reluctant to accept the poor aesthetics that standard towers/masts afford.
In conclusion, although we have a financial interest in this product, I would recommend that planning authorities take into account products such as this when considering an application for a tower/mast instead of declining the application, which affects the operator or granting permission for a standard tower/mast, which affects the public, the Leyland Cypress camouflage solution offers a third way, which hopefully benefits both.
I enclose attachments showing pictures of the Leyland Cypress Tree mast in both residential and rural locations.
I hope this information is helpful and can be used in your debates concerning best practise and other planning issues.
Evergreen Tree Towers Ltd.
Tel: 01751 417 776
Fax: 01751 417 706
Mobile: 07831 694 317
e.mail: [email protected]