Uncertainty Over Burlington Lane 5G Mast Plan

18 metre high monopole thought to contain Huawei equipment

Uncertainty Over Burlington Lane 5G Mast Plan
Proposed site of mast. Picture: Google Streetview

An application has been submitted to install an 18 metre high 5G mast at the junction of Burlington Lane and Staveley Road in Chiswick.

The submission is being made on behalf of the Three telecoms network and is to determine if prior approval is required. Telecoms operators can be exempted from the need to submit a full planning application if they can demonstrate they need to build necessary infrastructure.

The mast would be situated adjacent to the tennis courts on the opposite side of the road from Chiswick Community School. It is understood that parents of children at the school have been sent a letter informing them of the plan.

It would be around the height of the trees on the same corner.

The identity of the manufacturer of the equipment that would be placed on top of the pole is left blank in the documents submitted with the application but the model numbers shown indicate that they would be provided by Huawei. Three is ultimately owned by a Hong Kong listed company with close mainland Chinese connections which has generally used Huawei equipment for its 5G rollout so far.

Last Tuesday (14 July) the government ordered telecoms firms to strip equipment from the Chinese tech giant out of 5G networks by 2027. The reason for the move was that advice had been given that the security of Huawei's equipment could not be guaranteed. The Chinese government say that the UK has bowed to US pressure not to use their products for trade rather than security reasons.

We have asked Three for a comment on how the government’s ruling might affect their application but have not yet received a response.

The government have advised planning authorities that the scientific evidence does not give any indication of any extra health risk from 5G technology and therefore this would not be considered as valid grounds for an objection.

5G operates across multiple spectrums and therefore requires additional antennas and new equipment cabinets. The signals that are broadcast are more prone to the shadowing effect of adjacent buildings or structures, and also the effect of tree canopies reducing the broadcast range and effectiveness of the antennas. Consequently, the height of the 5G antennas needs to be raised meaning such high masts, dubbed ‘monster masts’ by objectors will become more common. The higher frequencies that 5G will use can provide more bandwidth and thus greater capacity but the signal will not travel as far as those of previous generations. This will mean that more of these masts will need to be built than were needed for previous generations of mobile technology.

To comment on this application email planningcomments@hounslow.gov.uk quoting reference PA/2020/2323.

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July 20, 2020