Planning Portal

PPS 10: Telecommunications
Policy TEL 2

Policy Tel 2 Development and Interference with Television Broadcasting Services
The Department may refuse planning permission for development proposals which would result in undue interference with terrestrial television broadcasting services.

Justification and Amplification

6.39 Large, prominent buildings and structures such as tower blocks, sports stadiums, dock cranes and wind turbines can cause disruption to analogue television services by obstructing or reflecting the wanted signals. Digital television signals are far more robust than analogue signals and, as viewers change to digital over time, this offers the prospect of the elimination of problems such as interference caused by reflections from structures. Useful information on this matter is contained in the leaflet ‘The Impact of Large Buildings and Structures (including Wind-Farms) on Terrestrial Television Reception’ produced by the BBC, the Independent Television Commission and the Radiocommunications Agency.
6.40 The Department will wish to be satisfied that the potential for interference has been fully taken into account in the siting and design of large and prominent buildings and structures, since it will be more difficult, costly and sometimes impossible to correct after the event. Developers of wind turbines and any other structure which by virtue of its size, height or finishes is likely to result in undue interference are therefore encouraged seek expert advice on this matter before submitting their proposals.
6.41 In cases where evidence is submitted that undue interference is likely to occur as a result of development the Department will consult with the Radiocommunications Agency and the broadcasters or fixed-link operators before reaching a decision, to ascertain whether an engineering solution to the problem of interference in any particular case is feasible. Where potential interference is causing genuine local concern, the Department may also seek the help of these experts to assess the likelihood and degree of interference (see Annex B).
6.42 Certain factors can be taken into account at the planning application stage, in particular the height and width of each face of the structure, the material and outside surface finish, and the orientations of the sides of the structure in relation to any local transmitter. If it is clear, by the nature of the development, that disruption to television reception will be a significant problem, the solution may be for the developer to incorporate a television relay (repeater) or cable system. In such a case the developer will need to consult with and obtain the agreement of the broadcasting authorities. Only in extreme cases where there is evidence that no practical remedy exists to overcome or otherwise mitigate problems of undue interference would the Department be justified in refusing planning permission.
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