Planning permission obtained for phone masts due to council blunders

A BBC News investigation has revealed that errors made by councils across southern England have allowed dozens of mobile phone masts to win planning permission.

On 68 occasions, councils have fallen victim to a legal loophole allowing masts to be approved if an operator is not sent an answer within a set time limit. In 39 of those cases, the council had intended to object to the application.

A catalogue of errors was uncovered across the BBC South region using the Freedom of Information Act: the mistakes were revealed after the BBC News website made Freedom of Information requests to 41 councils covering Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset, the Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire and West Sussex.

Council mast blunders uncovered (BBC News website, 28 March 2006)