England's National Parks will benefit from improved mobile coverage while respecting their environment, following a landmark agreement between National Parks England the Mobile Operators Association. National Parks covers around 10% of England.
The deal aims to help those living in national parks to benefit from high-quality connectivity, minimising any adverse environmental impacts on the park while close working between the operators and park authorities.
Jim Bailey, chair of National Parks England and the North York Moors National Park Authority, 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, said Bailey.
'Today's agreement will be good 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.'
While the national parks are areas of beauty, they are also places where people live and work. The parks need access to the 'modern communications' that many of us have taken for granted for years, said Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey MP. 'The new agreement could make a real difference to those who live, work or visit our glorious national parks.'
Environment Minister Lord de Mauley, said the government is taking the issue extremely seriously. 'We are funding the £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project to deal with mobile 'notspots' across the UK, just one aspect of our long-term economic plan.'
There are compelling social and economic reasons for having good mobile connectivity, said John Cooke, executive director for the Mobile Operators Association; these include mobile broadband, in rural areas; the benefits are even greater to rural communities, because such connectivity mitigates the disadvantages of greater physical distances and poor transport links.
'Operators have worked well with National Parks England to ensure that the benefits of mobile connectivity reach communities in these beautiful parts of our country and help them survive and thrive in the 21st century.'