16 Oct 2009

MPs told how fewer cell towers can be achieved

7:13 am on 16 October 2009

MPs have been told the best way to reduce the number of cellphone towers in communities is to ensure they are shared.

The Local Government & Environment Select Committee heard from telecommunication company representatives on Thursday in relation to three petitions on cellphone towers.

Strategist Tex Edwards from new mobile company 2degrees said the Resource Management Act needs its own section on telecommunications infrastructure.

He told the committee New Zealand is "littered" with an excess number of wireless towers and needs to follow other countries by having third-party owners of the towers which are shared by several telcommunication companies.

Lawyer Sue Grey, representing petitioners who want restrictions and community consultation on where cell towers go, said getting telcos to share sites is vital.

Meanwhile the Telecommunications Carriers Forum which represents the country's biggest wireless service operators tabled a draft of new guidelines on public consultation.

These include giving residents near new cell tower sites 10 working days notice before construction begins.