Responding to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announcement of a change in planning laws to “turbocharge” 5G rollout across the country, Cllr David Renard, housing and planning spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said:

“Access to fast and reliable digital connectivity is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, and councils have been a key player in the roll-out to the hardest to reach areas in the last five years.

“Tackling the digital divide will be important to levelling up in every community, ensuring everyone has the connectivity they need to thrive.

“However, weakening planning control and increasing permitted development rights takes away the ability of residents, businesses and councillors to contribute in a meaningful way to the deployment of new or upgraded masts, sites and infrastructure, and circumvents local plans.

“Instead of pushing for more permitted development, we would like to see the Government continue to work with local government and the mobile industry to help the streamlined deployment of infrastructure within the current planning system.

“We are also calling on Government to provide funding for councils to put in place a local digital champion, to act as a central contact point to help coordinate local delivery.”