CASEBOOK: Appeal cases - Telecommunications - Fake tree mast judged harmful to national park

A proposal to locate a fake cypress tree mast and three directional antennas on Dartmoor has been rejected on the grounds that they would be harmful to the character and appearance of the national park.

The proposed setting for the installation was within open fields edged with broad-leaved woodland. It was intended to form part of the Airwave Terrestrial Trunk Radio (TETRA) digital radio system for use by the emergency services. The national park authority had not questioned the need for the expansion of the network and confirmed that a mast in the general vicinity of the site was acceptable.

The inspector noted that the Lawson cypress was introduced from North America in the mid 19th century and is regarded as an ornamental coniferous tree, to be seen mainly in parks, gardens and churchyards. He judged that the site was an entirely unsuitable location for the installation of a fake cypress as it would be an alien species which would be entirely out of place.

He noted that the structure would be visible from a number of public viewpoints and would be even more apparent in winter when the deciduous trees had shed their leaves. He concluded that the proposal could not be reconciled with local and national policy objectives intended to protect the landscape and scenic beauty of the national park. The need to improve the TETRA network was outweighed by the harmful effect it would have on the character and appearance of the national park, he ruled.

DCS No: 44973668; Inspector: Colin Ball; Written representations.

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