June 17, 2024

Mobile UK and Mobile Infrastructure Forum Publish Six-Point Planning Framework Ahead of the General Election

  • New reportFailing to plan, planning will fail’ calls on all political parties to urgently prioritise planning reform ahead of the General Election  
  • The report puts forward six key recommendations for the political parties to incorporate into their manifestos to unlock growth and get Britain fully connected.
  • Co-authored by Mobile UK and the Mobile Infrastructure Forum (MIF), the report outlines the shocking state of the planning system and how it is hindering the rollout of essential 4G and 5G mobile connectivity.

Mobile UK, the trade body representing the UK’s four mobile network operators and the Mobile Infrastructure Forum (MIF), comprised of the four major operators of shared macro wireless infrastructure, are calling on all political parties to step up on their commitments to delivering national connectivity by adopting a six-point planning framework for reform.

The report, Failing to plan, planning will fail, builds on the once in a generation opportunity highlighted by leading politicians, and presents a detailed six-point framework to overcome the underfunded and under resourced planning system. It specifically highlights the need to bust the backlog of delays and move forward with applications for critical mobile infrastructure which needs to be installed up and down the country.

The six policy recommendations are designed to tackle these challenges and accelerate the rollout of mobile infrastructure:  

  • 1. Urgently Increase funding for planning services.
  • 2. Recognise the importance of mobile infrastructure in the planning system.
  • 3. Hire Digital Champions to support the planning process.
  • 4. Do more to attract and retain talent.
  • 5. Improve planning policy frameworks.
  • 6. Foster proactive digital leadership from councils.

Large-scale investment is required if such connectivity networks are going to meet the demands of not only a growing population that is increasingly reliant on smart and mobile-connected devices but also businesses and industries trying to keep pace with the digital revolution.  

Hamish MacLeod, Chief Executive of Mobile UK, said:  

“There is widespread acknowledgement that the planning system is dysfunctional, and we are calling on all parties to acknowledge this and commit to our six-point planning framework.
We see this dysfunction on a daily basis. Planning departments operate on tight budgets and face severe labour and skills shortages, which has led to inconsistency and delays in decision-making.”

Belinda Fawcett, Chair of the Mobile Infrastructure Forum, added:

"A sluggish planning system is a roadblock to growth. We urge the next Government to adopt our six-point framework to empower local authorities and expedite infrastructure development. This will unlock economic potential, create jobs, and ensure everyone benefits from a connected future.

In short, mobile infrastructure providers and the mobile networks they power in the UK are suffering from an out-of-date planning system that lacks knowledge of mobile infrastructure issues.  

There are several specific pain points:

Replacing existing infrastructure is challenging, potentially leading to reduced connectivity in some communities.

  • Replacing existing infrastructure is challenging, potentially leading to reduced connectivity in some communities.
  • Planning decisions for mobile infrastructure in remote areas can take up to two years, and appeals against negative decisions are often slow despite being mostly successful.
  • A lack of awareness and understanding about the benefits of mobile connectivity for the economy and society, regularly resulting in objections.

To read the Failing to plan, planning will fail report in full, visit here.


About Mobile UK -

Mobile UK is the trade association for the UK’s mobile network operators -  EE, Virgin Media O2, Three and Vodafone.  

Its mission is to work with Government, regulators, civil society and others to harness the power of mobile to improve the lives of the public, businesses and contribute to the prosperity of the UK as a whole.

About the Mobile Infrastructure Forum -

The Mobile Infrastructure Forum (MIF) is made up of the four major operators of shared macro wireless infrastructure in the UK – Cellnex UK, Cornerstone, MBNL and Wireless Infrastructure Group.  

MIF’s goal is to support delivery of world class mobile infrastructure to improve wireless connectivity for society and businesses throughout the UK. In order to meet this goal MIF works to promote legislation, relationships and working practices that enable efficient deployment of wireless communications infrastructure.  

For further information: /  

+44 (0)117 925 1358 / 07538 914018

About Building Mobile Britain

Building Mobile Britain logo

Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.

See here for further information - or #BuildingMobileBritain

Media Contacts

Gareth Elliott
Head of Policy and Communications
Tel: 07887 911 076

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