Problem

Landscape disfigurement from mobile phone relay masts

Other Names:
Degradation of landscapes from cellular phone antennae
Nature:
The environmental damage caused by the virtually free rein granted to the telecommunications industry is easily seen. Masts are sprouting on countless hilltops across the countryside and towns are blighted by unwelcome new landmarks. Masts can be placed in locations where other structures simply would not be considered.
Background:
Part of the problem is that mobile phone technology is based on radio signals which are weak, easily blocked and prone to interference. Operators look for the highest site to ensure each tower, which covers a radius only of just over half a kilometre, has direct contact with its neighbour.
Claim:
1. The relay towers totally ruin our landscape. Some of the hills look like pin-cushions. The masts are visible for miles and it's not as if they are bringing any local employment.

2. In the UK, one of the planning law's most controversial aspects is that, outside protected areas, masts of up to 15 metres are 'permitted development'. GSM operators need only notify the council of their intention to erect one; the council has 28 days to comment. There is no requirement even to inform residents.

3. No one knows how many masts there'll be - that's the trouble. It could be hundreds of thousands.

Counter Claim:
1. New antennae are more powerful and less conspicuous, with single poles replacing lattice work designs. They can be painted to blend into the backdrop.

2. The mobile phone relay masts will soon be obsolete, as satellite technology makes the towers redundant.

Broader Problems:
Landscape disfigurement
Related Problems:
Electromagnetic pollution
Problem Type:
J: Problems Under Consideration
Date of last update
23.02.2000 – 00:00 CET