The Government must streamline the planning process for new telecoms infrastructure to boost rural businesses and safeguard farmers and their workers, the NFU said today.
The NFU has written to the Communities & Local Government and Culture, Media & Sport departments calling for changes to planning rules to speed up the roll-out of 4G mobile broadband and improve mobile phone services.
NFU chief rural affairs adviser David Collier said: â€œOne in fifty people in rural areas cannot get a mobile phone signal from any operator, a problem that is unheard of in major urban areas. Farms and other rural businesses also stand to benefit from 4G mobile broadband and improvements to 3G, but only if the infrastructure can be erected or extended as needed without undue delay.
â€œThere are not only strong economic benefits to be had from improving these services. A mobile phone can offer a lifeline in the event of a farm accident â€“ especially when the farmer or their worker is out of earshot and out of sight.â€
The NFU is calling for planning controls for mast provision to be relaxed throughout England, including National Parks where mobile phone services and mobile broadband are in particular need of improvement.