A new code should establish an equitable relationship between individual landowners and the large electronic communications companies for the locating of masts on their land, says the CLA.
In its response to the Government consultation submitted yesterday (30 April), the CLA calls on new Ministers to reform the Electronic Communications Code in line with the expert recommendations made by the Law Commission in 2013.
The Electronic Communications Code sets outs the regime that governs the rights of electronic communications operators to install and maintain infrastructure on public and private land.
CLA President Henry Robinson said: “We want a new code that establishes clear and fair rules that all parties can understand, and that addresses the inbuilt imbalance between the individual and multinational companies. If this is undertaken correctly, it will enable the continued roll out of mobile phone infrastructure and improve coverage in our rural areas without lengthy negotiations and possible legal battles.
“The Law Commission was clear that the only way to ensure fair agreements is to set in law that rents must be based on open market valuations. We will continue to oppose a determined lobbying campaign by the mobile phone giants seeking to get ministers to impose unsustainable rents on landowners.”
Mr Robinson continued: “We also need to see a system that encourages engagement by the operators when rents are reviewed or agreements are terminated. There should be no instances where infrastructure and equipment remain on site where there is no agreement in place and market rent is not being paid – doing nothing is not an option.”