A ten-week consultation has been opened by the government which seeks views on the principle of amending permitted development rights in England to grant planning permission for mobile infrastructure to support deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage, particularly in rural areas.
NFU chief economics adviser Dr Andrew Francis said: “It is crucial that rural areas receive the same level of mobile coverage and broadband connectivity as urban areas and we welcome the Government’s commitment to ensuring it delivers connectivity to these areas.
"We welcome the opportunities that 5G can provide to improve farm productivity, but its roll-out must be practical and be balanced with the interests of landowners and the visual impact in the countryside.
“The NFU’s annual broadband and mobile survey has consistently highlighted the poor level of coverage experienced in the countryside, with only 17% of respondents in 2018 having access to a reliable outdoor mobile signal. It is essential that the rural economy is not left behind because of a lack of mobile coverage and connectivity.”