The ESB has been granted planning permission for new telecoms infrastructure in Shantalla, Galway City to improve the 4G coverage in the area.
Plans were submitted to the city council for the construction of a new platform in the ESB substation at the junction of the Rahoon Road and Seamus Quirke Road.
This platform, which will be located on the existing Five Lamps mast structure, will accommodate new antennae and dishes which will allow local operators to improve their 4G coverage.
The application states that the existing site is crucial for the ESB network in the area, as well as to Vodafone and Eir Mobile, who also operate antennae from there.
However the quality of coverage, in particular 4G coverage, can “fail noticeably”, with the quality of the coverage declining the further one gets from the site.
New antennae are needed to upgrade their coverage, which cannot be accommodated on the existing sheaths of the Five Lamps structure. The current sheaths will, however, continue in use after the new infrastructure is installed.
The visual impact of the new development will be minimal, the application states, as it will be located on an existing structure inside a walled substation.
“The proposed location of the platform on the existing structure will be visible from passing road traffic on the Seamus Quirke Road in particular, however closer to the site the platform will be less obvious due to the ‘Five Lamps’, and for pedestrians the height of the boundary wall of the substation.”
Health & Safety
The ESB said in the application that Ministerial guidelines state that councils should only consider the design and site as regards planning permission for telecoms infrastructure, and leave health issues and monitoring to ComReg.
“With many developments of this nature, there may be concerns from residents about the perceived implications of the development, primarily in relation to the adverse health implications of the installation.”
“ESB Telecoms Ltd regard the protection of the health, safety and welfare of its staff and the general public as a core company value in all its activities. Accordingly it is ESB Telecoms policy to continually review and update standards in light of new developments and research findings.”
“Planning authorities are urged to concern themselves with design and siting issues only and should defer and health and safety issues to the relevant authorities, in this instance the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg)”.
The city council granted planning permission with two conditions, stating that the ESB must allow other mobile telecoms operators to locate their antennae on the proposed mast, in order to avoid the proliferation of masts.