Latest Public Sector News

10.09.12

Broadband roll-out measures ‘ride roughshod’ over planning

Government plans to scrap the requirement for council approval of broadband infrastructure installations have been criticised for ignoring residents’ interests.

On Friday, the Government announced a package of temporary measures to make it easier for communications providers to deploy infrastructure and speed up the roll-out of superfast broadband.

The Government will legislate immediately, or use existing powers to ensure that “broadband street cabinets can be installed in any location other than a Site of Special Scientific Interest without the need for prior approval from the local council and without any conditions being placed upon the construction or design by local authorities except in exceptional circumstances”.

Overhead broadband lines will also be able to be installed in any area without the need for planning or other permission.

Culture secretary Maria Miller said: “Superfast broadband is vital to secure our country's future – to kick-start economic growth and create jobs. We are putting in the essential infrastructure that will make UK businesses competitive, and sweeping away the red tape that is a barrier to economic recovery.”

Secretary general of Digital Policy Alliance, Edward Phelps, said: “Broadband is critical to our return to economic growth and to creating new jobs. This is a welcome step towards removing the red tape that stifles innovation and will encourage the private sector to do more to ensure all areas of the country have superfast broadband.”

But Local Government Association housing board chairman Mike Jones said: “The answer isn’t riding roughshod over planning protections, and it’s vital Government doesn’t lose sight of the bigger picture in a race for short-term gain.

“You cannot take away the rights of people to have a say on six-foot high, humming junction boxes outside their windows and gardens or poles and wires festooning their streets. Rushed and unnecessary road works to lay cables also risk costing council tax payers a fortune in repairs and, even when done properly, shorten the life of the roads.”

Westminster City Council shared the LGA’s opposition. Cllr Philippa Roe, Conservative leader of the council, said: “We are concerned that the ability of local people to oppose commercial broadband boxes, of which some can be large eyesores, will be diluted by these proposals. It is more important that councils work in partnership with broadband companies to locate infrastructure sensibly.

“I would question why the Government’s approach is needed at all – it will only result in a gradual and prolonged development across the UK rather than the big bang in broadband that the UK needs.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Northern Powerhouse Partner aims to connect the North once again

02/09/2019Northern Powerhouse Partner aims to connect the North once again

In February this year, official Northern Powerhouse Partner, Cognitive Publishing, delivered EvoNorth 2019.  The two day event was designed to amplify and highlight futur... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >