Wester Ross Communities Oppose Plans for New Mobile Phone Masts

Six Wester Ross community councils, along with national conservation and mountaineering groups, have written an open letter to the UK Minister of Science, Innovation, and Technology, urging him to reconsider plans for over 30 new mobile phone masts in the UNESCO biosphere reserve area of Wester Ross.

The letter claims that the masts will "ruin" the area, putting at risk unspoilt views and threatening its "reputation as a heritage tourism destination." The masts are said to rely on diesel generators to keep operating and expensive helicopters for supplies, which will cause environmental damage and threaten rare plants and wildlife. The costs and environmental damage outweigh the benefits of improved connectivity in remote areas, according to the locals.

Despite the opposition, locals fear that a revised planning application for a mast in the same area may still be submitted by mobile phone operators. The UK government has a responsibility to ensure all parts of the country are able to benefit from the opportunities provided by digital connectivity, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Science, Innovation, and Technology.

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