Planning permission sought for mobile phone mast near Bullpot farm

Loki

Active member
Without the internet you wouldn't have been able to post this. In fact we wouldn't be having this discussion at all. We drove past that Emley Moor tower on the way home yesterday afternoon. That's quite tall, but is rather useful, and (still) looks fantastic, IMHO.
Without the internet or mobiles there would be no need for the mast. That’s my point.
 

Fjell

Member
It’s generally thought that building big metal structures in a National Park is something that should be driven by considerable need given the limited quantity of such places in England. There is no need in this case.

There are many areas in the high Pennines with no phone reception. Many consider that a feature, and it is no justification for covering the fells in masts to serve those who cannot bear to be isolated from Instagram et al for more than ten seconds.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
I've no issue with us balancing better communications for people in rural areas with 'wild' countryside (the actually proposed location is in the corner of a field BUT will be visible for considerable distance around. The roadside mast in Kingsdale, for example, is great - it's not enormous, it's on a road, it's not on the top of a hill (so less obvious) and gives signal to a large area that previously had none (although it probably only reaches a few properties).

There was recently a proposal for a similar mast near Ribblehead Quarry/Ribblehead Station. It wasn't a phone mast but instead of mast to be used by the emergency services. It was going to be installed next to existing structures and roads, and there was already a similar mast there. I supported that application, but it was rejected.

By contrast this mast is gloriously unnecessary. There are, as far as I can tell looking at the coverage map, four buildings that will gain phone signal that previously don't have phone signal - Bull Pot Farm, Gale Garth farm, Smithy farm and Fell House. Three of these are along the Fell Lane and could be reached by a much smaller mast not as far up the hill. But because the aim here is to fill in a coverage map, this antenna needs to be large (25m), near the top of a hill (and thus very visible) and have a considerable winding access track up a field.

At least two of the affected properties (Bull Pot Farm and Gale Garth farm) have objected to the proposal. I'm sure there will be lots of sheep happy to get phone signal...

The _only_ reason this proposal is being put forward is because there is a commercial company that has been told 'we will pay you to help us fill in spots on a map' and they have done so regardless of whether those spots actually _need_ filling or not.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
Just to be clear (because possibly it's not clear from some posts) - this is not a mast proposed at Bull Pot Farm or in the immediate vicinity, but high on the hill above it. If this was a proposal for a smaller mast on the road, I would be much more supportive. I suspect you could get similar coverage from one mast on the high point of the road in the Easegill valley, and one small roadside mast in Barbondale, but that would probably be slightly more expensive...
Bull Pot Farm was one of a number of rejected locations in their early planning because it's in a dip (so you wouldn't get coverage out from it).
 

alanw

Active member
'we will pay you to help us fill in spots on a map' and they have done so regardless of whether those spots actually _need_ filling or not.
I wonder whether the push to fill in blank spots is anything to do with the upcoming (real soon now!) Emergency Services Network which uses LTE (the same frequencies and technology as new mobile phones, also marketed as "4G").

From the Wikipedia article: As part of the construction of the ESN, almost 300 extra 4G sites will be added to extend the reach of the EE network to more remote parts of the country.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
I wonder whether the push to fill in blank spots is anything to do with the upcoming (real soon now!) Emergency Services Network which uses LTE (the same frequencies and technology as new mobile phones, also marketed as "4G").

From the Wikipedia article: As part of the construction of the ESN, almost 300 extra 4G sites will be added to extend the reach of the EE network to more remote parts of the country.
Not in this case, since it would have Three, Vodaphone and Telefonica antennae but _not_ EE antennae. I think the Kingsdale mast probably was/is (because I think that's EE since I get signal from it).
 

alanw

Active member
I'm sure there was a mast in Kingsdale long before mobile phones...
There has been a huge one off Westgate Lane for a long time (it's marked on my 2002 OS map), however the one by the lay-by at the top of the hill heading north from the Marton Arms before the drop into the valley is recent: it's not on the 2009 Google Streetview.


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Flotsam

Member
I think trivialising the need for reliable communications and internet is a poor response. There are a multitude of uses for internet and quality mobile coverage in the rural environment. There's lots more going on in those Dales than an invasion of tourists going on Facebook. The rural environment cannot be set in stone and never has been. What you see in the Dales is the outcome of centuries of technological development and land management. One could view a development like this one as a step towards "leveling up" we can't as outsiders expect rural people to be living in the stone age. There is a lot of rural poverty and deprivation.
 

JAA

Member
I think trivialising the need for reliable communications and internet is a poor response. There are a multitude of uses for internet and quality mobile coverage in the rural environment. There's lots more going on in those Dales than an invasion of tourists going on Facebook. The rural environment cannot be set in stone and never has been. What you see in the Dales is the outcome of centuries of technological development and land management. One could view a development like this one as a step towards "leveling up" we can't as outsiders expect rural people to be living in the stone age. There is a lot of rural poverty and deprivation.
Agreed. To trivialise it as “But I like the peace and quiet and people should manage without Instagram” is irritating in the extreme.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
A smaller (15m) antenna near to other buildings and covering a valley with a reasonable number of rural dwellings and at least one hamlet? Seems very reasonable to me - unlike a big mast near the top of the hill to give coverage to a pair of nearly empty valleys...
 

Fjell

Member
Agreed. To trivialise it as “But I like the peace and quiet and people should manage without Instagram” is irritating in the extreme.
Years of moaning from teenagers has rendered me more than a little irritated on the subject of comprehensive access.

There are large areas of the Lakes and Dales without coverage. If getting it means large numbers of 80 foot masts (and buildings) on the tops it isn’t worth having.

Almost all villages have reasonable coverage now. I know this because was on the Cumbrian steering comittee representing our area dealing with Openreach et al for 3G and broadband. In the end I put a lump of capital into B4RN to get their attention that we were serious as Openreach were getting very tedious with their criteria for doing stuff properly.

If you absolutely have to have a reliable phone in remote areas get a sat phone. I have an Iridium phone for when the need arises, which isn’t going to be the case out and about in England. One of my kids just took it to the mountains in Peru where he was working as a medic as it has no phone coverage and it’s quite dodgy in general.
 

Rob

Well-known member
Topical to this discussion is the news that SpaceX's Starlink V2, which is set for launching next year, is pitched to be able communicate direct from satellite to mobile phones. Not for high speed broadband (yet) but fine for voice calls and messages. Surely that's the future, not putting new masts up?

For those not aware of Starlink, it's an operable system of already 3,000 satellites that puts high speed broadband (currently to a sat dish receiver) everywhere and anywhere. It probably undermines a lot of the hard work of the rural broadband projects (like B4RN), although you would probably need some system sharing to improve the economics...

This tracker is a good way to understand the existing scale of the investment!:
 

Steve Clark

Active member
The new iPhone 14 has the ability to send emergency text messages via a satellite network (iridium I believe) in areas of no mobile reception. It is not being activated until November and is initially only available in the US & Canada. I understand this is due to the network infrastructure/background setup of actually initiating the rescue with emergency services. An indication of where things are going.

Personally, I don't see a problem with suitably positioned masts. Is one big one any worse than 10 small ones with individual generators & fuel deliveries? There's already a line of timber pylons running up the fell north of bullpot farm, presumably suppling electric to the property. These are not sympathetically placed and go right over the top on the skyline. I presume no one would be in favour of removing these or the major digging exercise required to bury them, crossing streams and ancient walls etc.?

Maybe they could consider actually upgrading the electricity infrastructure so the new mast didn't need to run on diesel generators 24/7, like the one in Kingsdale does?

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Fjell

Member
I think trivialising the need for reliable communications and internet is a poor response. There are a multitude of uses for internet and quality mobile coverage in the rural environment. There's lots more going on in those Dales than an invasion of tourists going on Facebook. The rural environment cannot be set in stone and never has been. What you see in the Dales is the outcome of centuries of technological development and land management. One could view a development like this one as a step towards "leveling up" we can't as outsiders expect rural people to be living in the stone age. There is a lot of rural poverty and deprivation.
Have you encountered much rural poverty in the Yorkshire Dales?
I think trivialising the need for reliable communications and internet is a poor response. There are a multitude of uses for internet and quality mobile coverage in the rural environment. There's lots more going on in those Dales than an invasion of tourists going on Facebook. The rural environment cannot be set in stone and never has been. What you see in the Dales is the outcome of centuries of technological development and land management. One could view a development like this one as a step towards "leveling up" we can't as outsiders expect rural people to be living in the stone age. There is a lot of rural poverty and deprivation.
There really isn’t a lot of rural poverty in the Dales or Lakes. North Yorkshire is one of the richest parts of the UK and has a huge labour shortage. It’s a retirement theme park. For rural poverty and banjo-playing inbreeding I would direct you to North Wiltshire.

I can assure you from experience that the Park planning committees have every intention of not allowing industrial development. The largest employer in the Dales is a school, followed I think by the dairy in Hawes.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Wouldn't it make more sense to start building a new town up there then? Otherwise there's just going to be a load of rich dead people in ten years ;)
 
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