DCAN 14: Siting and Design of Radio Telecommunication Equipment
3.34 Access tracks can sometimes be more visually prominent in the landscape than masts. In particular they can have a greater landscape impact at high elevations where there is a lack of natural screening and the ground takes longer to recover. The construction of access tracks and other less formal access arrangements can also be damaging to archaeological or nature conservation interests. Locating a mast next to an existing track is always preferable.
3.35 Lattice masts can generally be erected without an access track. The erection of a monopole mast usually requires an access track to allow a crane to lift it into position. There are a number of construction techniques including floating tracks or green roads, which can reduce the environmental impact. Furthermore, temporary access can be constructed and the track removed after construction is complete. Access for maintenance can be on foot or by all-terrain vehicles. Frequent use by all-terrain vehicles on wet or soft ground can itself lead to deep rutting and multiple tracking particularly where several operators are sharing a mast or site.
3.36 It may be feasible to construct a track to carry heavy vehicles during the construction stage then part-reinstate the ground to leave a narrower track suitable for small maintenance vehicles. Restricting entry to the track could then deter larger vehicles.
3.37 The impact of a new access track can be reduced by;
- relating it to field boundaries and other features;
- following the boundaries of natural vegetation; and
- avoiding adverse impact on sensitive archaeological and nature conservation sites.