The Knoydart Foundation recently took part in a joint discussion with other local groups, on further mobile phone masts on the Knoydart peninsula. A letter was sent to the Scottish Government. We print this letter in full here.
Further reading can be had via the links below.
To whom it may concern:
Knoydart Peninsula – Shared Rural Network 4G Telecoms Masts Proposals
In March 2023, the Knoydart Foundation was informed that a number of sites had been identified on our community-owned land for the installation of new telecoms masts under the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme.
We received detailed information on the proposals from Gateley Hamer and other sources, in relation to the preferred sites and roll-out of the programme across Knoydart. Following this, we held a community consultation to gauge local opinion which received the highest return ever recorded and showed unanimous opposition to the roll-out of SRN masts across the peninsula.
The Knoydart Foundation, as a representative of the community on Knoydart, respects the outcome of this recent consultation on proposals to erect further telecoms masts across the peninsula. We will not support or facilitate, in any way, future development of these proposals, and on community-owned land we are actively opposing such works.
The declaration included in the consultation, and signed by 103 members of our community, is attached along with the South Knoydart Community Council position statement on the matter.
Knoydart Foundation Board of Directors
Knoydart Community Declaration I oppose the proposals to erect any further telecoms masts across the Knoydart peninsula, as part of the UK Government Shared Rural Network programme.
As a community, our reasons for opposition include that the scheme:
- will not provide any additional benefit to the inhabited areas of the peninsula, now that the S4G Infill mast at Loch Bhraomisaig is operational
- is disproportionate in terms of population and landscape
- is a wasteful use of public funds
- will have a hugely negative impact on the environment and aesthetics of Knoydart’s National Scenic Area and Wild Land Area
- will likely become defunct in a short period of time, due to technology advancements
- is not necessary to improve safety in the remote areas of the peninsula, and actually has the potential to increase unsafe roaming and accidents
- conflicts with the net-zero aspirations of our community and government, requiring extensive use of carbon fuels for construction and operating remote equipment
- conflicts with one the Unique Selling Points of the peninsula – “remoteness” – and has the potential to harm our vital tourism economy.
The Shared Rural Network’s goal of achieving 95% coverage across the UK is being used as justification to erect masts in areas where it is not always necessary or wanted. We urge those in charge of delivering this scheme to re-evaluate, and ensure that it is rolled out in a way that is best fitting to the varied landscapes, and community needs, across the country.
- Finally, it is our opinion that this scheme does not take into account the needs or wants of our community. There is no justification for the extensive and unnecessary roll-out of further 4G masts across the Knoydart peninsula, and our opposition should be heard and respected.
- South Knoydart Community Council Position Statement The South Knoydart Community Council (SKCC), the most local tier of statutory representation on Knoydart, has carried out a community consultation on the Knoydart peninsula, to gauge community opinions on the proposed roll-out of mobile communications masts in remote parts of the peninsula, as part of the UK Government’s Shared Rural Network Programme.
- The results of this consultation, which received the largest ever response to a community consultation on Knoydart, showed unanimous opposition from the community. On the basis of information on the programme received and in the absence of any engagement, dialogue or evidence-based arguments from the prospective installers, our initial position is to oppose this widespread installation of new masts. SKCC would require convincing that the benefits of these masts meet an actual, rather than an externally perceived community need, to balance against the clearly and strongly based community opposition. That said, this initial opposition would not preclude us considering any actual planning proposals fairly and objectively, taking the arguments of the prospective installers and the community into account on a case- by- case basis before deciding to support, remain neutral or oppose any specific planning proposal(s). We would expect evidence that the prospective installers are adhering to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) code of practice to ensure best practice in protected areas such as Knoydart and ensure stakeholders are properly and fully consulted. The lack of dialogue to date suggests that adherence to the DCMS code of practice is not currently being made.