Birkenhead 5G plan passed after pledge to minimise impact on town

A plan for new 5G technology in Birkenhead has been approved and those behind it insist it will not harm the look of the town.

Crucially, Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL), a partnership between EE and Three UK, had decided to add 5G antennae to an existing Vodafone mast on Thomas Street.

Over the last three months, Three UK has had two 5G applications rejected by Wirral Council on the basis that they would have harmed the appearance of the local area.

On both occasions, the proposal was for a new 20-metre tall mast to be erected, but MBNL’s proposal benefits from being an addition to an existing mast and adding less than one metre to the mast's height.

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MBNL’s application statement said this would help to minimise the visual impact of the antennae on the local area, while being fit for use by EE, Three UK, Vodafone and the Emergency Services Network.

Long-distance views of the mast will be “partially screened” by buildings and trees, preventing it from being a major blot on the landscape.

The installation of 5G technology will mean that the height and width of the mast will increase, but the applicant did not believe this will be enough to harm the character of the local area.

Despite having its two previous plans rejected, Three UK were adamant that Wirral needs better mobile connectivity both for personal use and to help businesses prosper.

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MBNL argued that if this need was not met by its proposal, a separate mast would have to be built and that would “unnecessarily add to the clutter in this location and result in a greater visual impact”.

Summing up its aims and the need for 5G technology in Wirral, MBNL said the goal of its application was to “provide an efficient and competitive telecommunication system for the benefit of the community while minimising visual impact”.

It is necessary for 5G infrastructure to be built in areas close to major populations which will benefit from it, as base stations do not operate on a high enough power to reach areas far away from their location.

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Additionally, demands on internet capability and mobile phone technology are constantly growing as more people use mobiles in their homes and add pressure to the network.

5G has been a controversial topic in recent months, with campaigners who oppose the technology promoting conspiracy theories linking it to coronavirus without any evidence.

Scientists and other officials including the World Health Organisation have debunked the 5G Covid-19 theory, stating it is not possible for the virus to be transmitted by electromagnetic radiation.

Speaking earlier this year, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson blasted 5G conspiracy theories as “bizarre” and added: "How can anyone contemplate relating putting a 5G mast up in Liverpool [to] coronavirus?

“The very idea that Covid-19 was created by 5G is patently nonsense.”

A spokesperson for Three UK, said: “5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of the Wirral.

“We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and our submission for new masts, as well as the upgrades to other sites, will be critical to making this happen.”

An EE spokesperson said: “We’re upgrading a site in Birkenhead to 5G to bring local residents and businesses the latest mobile technology.

"We always seek to minimise visual impact when we’re looking to build new masts or upgrade equipment and strictly follow all planning procedures.

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