Last week the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) held in favour of EE and Hutchison 3G. It granted the companies interim rights of access, under the Telecoms Code, to enter into one of London Underground’s operational buildings to assess it’s roof’s suitability for the installation of telecoms apparatus.
So why is this controversial? London Underground had concerns about the security risks arising from allowing third parties to access the building. The building is one designated as critical national infrastructure. Whilst these risks were considered by the Tribunal, ultimately it was decided that the risks could be addressed by imposing appropriate conditions (i.e security vetting of the attending third parties and proper supervision).
This case stands as another example of the Courts reluctance to stand in the way of telecommunication companies exercising rights under the Telecoms Code. Landowners will need to think creatively as to how best to mitigate security concerns if they are approached by a telecommunication company wishing to inspect their buildings with a view to the installation of telecoms equipment. If they refuse, then they too could be looking down the barrel at Tribunal proceedings.
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