Nesbitt Encourages Partnership On New Planning Laws On Telecommunications
Published on Mon, 22 Apr 2002
Minister of the Environment, Mr Dermot Nesbitt MLA, today highlighted the need to enter into a partnership involving the local community, the telecommunications industry and the DOE, in the Assembly debate on telecommunications masts today.
Mr Nesbitt said:
"The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland want to use mobile phones. The telecommunications industry wants to provide them with those mobile phones, and to provide the network coverage to allow people to use them. What the industry therefore needs to do is enter into partnership with the community to ensure that the communities needs and aspirations are fully taken into account when new masts are sited.
"I met representatives of the telecommunications industry before I announced tough new legislation which I will bring to the Assembly soon. I explained to them that the new measures would strike a balance between people having their voices heard, while providing them with a modern telecommunications system.
"This means that the industry must adhere to their commitments to the public, including significant improvements in their consultation with local communities."
Referring to the role for Planning Service Mr Nesbitt said:
"When I met with the telecommunications industry, I assured them that the DOE’s Planning Service would keep a close eye on the length of time taken to process new applications. I also re-assured them that we would not let deferrals from District Councils slow the process down unnecessarily.
"But I also emphasised to the industry that they must also stick to their side of the bargain, and implement faithfully their ten commitments, particularly their commitment to consult local communities before submitting planning applications.
"Only by working in partnership with government and with local communities will the telecommunications industry avoid the negative outcomes they have predicted. I encourage them in the strongest possible terms to do so."
Notes to Editors
- Environment Minister Mr Dermot Nesbitt MLA, spoke in the Assembly Debate on Telecommunications on 22 April 2002.
- For further information, please contact Philip Maguire DOE Information Office Tel 028 9054 0013