Mobile UK and National Parks Announce New Agreement to enhance connectivity and protect beauty

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Media release

Thursday 21 June 2018

Mobile UK and National Parks Announce New Agreement to enhance connectivity and protect beauty  

Mobile UK, the trade body for the Mobile industry, and National Parks England have come together to announce a landmark agreement that seeks to assist the deployment of mobile infrastructure while respecting the beauty and sensitivity of the nation’s national parks.

The Accord [1,2] was brokered between National Parks England [3] and Mobile UK [4] and has attracted support from Government Ministers in both DCMS and Defra.  The Accord aims to:

  • help communities living in National Parks to benefit from consistent high-quality connectivity;
  • protect the special qualities of the National Parks by minimising any adverse environmental impacts; and
  • to support close working between Operators and National Park Authorities to achieve these aims.

With English National Parks covering almost 10% of the country, the new agreement is an important step forward in making sure our rural areas benefit from modern technological advances.

  • There are now over 92 million mobile subscriptions in the UK in 2016 [5].
  • Increasingly mobile and smart phones are being used to access the internet which is driving the convergence of mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity [6].

Chair of National Parks England and the South Downs National Park Authority, Margaret Paren said:

“National Parks have always been about finding pragmatic long-term solutions to the many competing demands on land.  Ensuring modern telecommunications infrastructure is no different.  Today’s agreement will be very good news for the thousands of businesses and people living in our National Parks, for the millions who visit them, and for the stunning landscapes and towns that are the lifeblood for our rural economies.”

Director for Mobile UK, Hamish MacLeod said:

“Mobile connectivity is crucial to today’s modern world yet in areas such as national parks it is often more difficult to find suitable sites which are practical yet also minimise the impact on an area’s beauty. This agreement brings together the industry and National Parks to work collaboratively to explore opportunities for ensuring the benefits of mobile connectivity reach communities in these beautiful parts of our country and help them survive and thrive in the 21st century.”

Minister for Digital at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Margot James, said:

“Everyone in the UK should be able to get good quality mobile coverage where they live, work and travel. This agreement will help to improve connections for rural communities, protect the landscape and wildlife of our treasured National Parks and help to build a modern Britain that’s fit for the future.”

Minister for National Parks at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Lord Gardiner, said:

“It is vitally important that people living and working in our National Parks have the same opportunities as those in urban areas. That means ensuring access to high quality mobile connectivity.

This accord is an encouraging commitment from both industry and National Parks England to help connect communities and we hope it can deliver tangible improvements as soon as possible”.

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Notes

  1. Copies of the National Parks England and Mobile UK Joint Accord are available in advance on request, or can be viewed at the National Parks England website section on publications or Mobile UK’s website by clicking here.
  2. The accord will come into force on the 1 July 2018.
  3. National Parks England is the umbrella organisation that brings together the nine National Park      Authorities (NPAs) and the Broads Authority.  It exists to support policy and practice by providing a          collective voice for the views of the English NPAs; raising the profile of their work; facilitating discussion on issues of common concern; and working in partnership with other bodies.  For more information see:

Web: www.nationalparksengland.org.uk Twitter: @natparksengland  

  1. Mobile UK is the voice of the United Kingdom’s mobile network operators - EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

    Web: http://www.mobileuk.org/ Twitter: @MobileUK_News

  2. About Building Mobile Britain - Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.  For further information – www.buildingmobilebritain.org.uk or #BuildingMobileBritain

6.  Source: OFCOM, The Communications Market Report 2017

Contacts for further information:

Paul Hamblin – Executive Director                                                                 (w) 020 3096 7979      

National Parks England                                                                                   (m) 07968 760 854

paul.hamblin@nationalparksengland.org.uk

Gareth Elliott - Head of Policy and Communications                                     (m) 07887 911 076

Mobile UK
ge@mobileuk.org

Contact details for Media Officers for each of the National Parks are available.