Evidence Base

This section provides information on the current coverage of mobile telecommunications availability and 4G / 5G coverage across Essex and how the gaps (‘Not spots’) and areas of poor coverage need to be addressed. This will be of particular interest and benefit to local planning authorities and helps these to identify areas within their districts / boroughs / city council areas that require particular attention and improvement.  However, site promoters / developers will also need to take into account the existing coverage of digital communications infrastructure when planning and designing their schemes to ensure effective and timely service provision for when it is required.

  • Coverage information for fixed and mobile telephony is available from the Ofcom website here. Please note that the Ofcom website advises that there are some limitations on accuracy of service coverage information
  • Essex-specific information on current fixed broadband coverage and future rollout plans can be accessed via the Superfast Essex interactive map available here. An address checker lookup can be viewed here.
  • Across the ASELA geography Think Broadband Data can be used to access Google mapping to check digital connectivity service coverage and quality. The Southend City Council area has the benefit of a newly installed superfast full fibre network

Information on new developments relating to mobile telephony infrastructure and deployment can be found on the Mobile UK industry association website. For major scale new developments it is recommended that site promoters / developers engage early with service providers in order to develop a digital masterplan to support their proposals. This will also assist in the process towards securing planning permission.

Perceptions of Harmful Impacts (e.g. 5G)[1]

It is recognised that some people have expressed concerns about the potential / perceived harmful effects on human health of 5G. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the Government’s independent adviser on public health matters, has advised that there is no credible evidence of a negative impact of mobile technology, including 5G on people’s health. Central to UKHSA’s advice are the guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which is formally recognised by the World Health Organisation[2].

The NPPF requires mobile infrastructure providers to self-certify their compliance with the ICNIRP guidelines. It also sets out that local planning authorities should not set health safeguards different from the International Commission guidelines for public exposure.

The Government has developed guidance to help councils and local politicians deal with queries from the public, counter misinformation and explain the facts about 5G[3]. This will help to support facilitating the rollout of next-generation infrastructure, and prevent misleading claims becoming a barrier to rollout. There is also information to help address concerns raised by a small minority of Essex residents that 5G may have potential harmful effects on human health provided on the Mobile UK industry website (see link above).

[1] NB This is included within this guidance since delivery of internet connectivity will include that through mobile telephone network services, as well as fixed line type broadband connections

[2] ICNIRP guidelines on 5G

[3] www.Gov.uk information on 5G technologies and health

Page updated: 19/01/2023

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