by Neil McDougall


by Neil McDougall
Neil McDougall
Case Owner
Neil was trained in town planning, and pursued a NHS career specialising in mental health care development. Since 20l9 he's worked with objectors to secure their rights in 5G mast planning cases.
on 22nd March 2023
pledged of £15,000 target from 69 pledges
Neil McDougall
Case Owner
Neil was trained in town planning, and pursued a NHS career specialising in mental health care development. Since 20l9 he's worked with objectors to secure their rights in 5G mast planning cases.

Latest: March 11, 2023

Proper application of EECC sought but not yet achieved

Mr Justice Jenner refused permission for judicial review at a one hour hearing on Thursday last based largely on the precedent set in this 2007 case:

Harris v First Secretary of State (2007) …

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Do you wish to object to a 5G mast in the UK or in Europe, and want your evidence of potential harms from wireless radiation - to yourself, to other people, and to fauna and flora - to be fully appraised?

This case is for you!

The Isle of Wight Council’s 25th October 2022 decision to permit a 5G upgrade of antennae on their County Hall is the focus of this challenge, and is just one example of many decisions made by planning officers across the UK where health considerations are being dismissed.

Case Significance

Regulating involuntary public exposure to radio frequency radiation (RFR) means more than local planning authorities (LPAs) complying with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) when determining mast planning applications.

The European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) requires LPAs to consider granting 'general authorisations'  for radio mast siting, making public health imperative when doing so, especially when masts are shared by telecoms companies. The authorisations regulate telecoms companies access to the use of the radio spectrum in the localities where objectors and vulnerable groups are likely to live. 

Objectors are likely to provide the only evidence that planners will receive on the adverse health effects of masts sited in residential and other sensitive locations. 

Only LPAs can provide the authorisations for masts/antennae. 

In determining a planning application evidence-based decisions are required to take proper account of arguments for and against the siting of the mast/antennae.

Case progression

This case challenges the Isle of Wight Council’s decision to disregard objector’s arguments and evidence ahead of granting planning permission for 5G upgrades to antenna arrays on its own County Hall roof in the centre of Newport, Isle of Wight.

The planning case officer was instructed to report the following:

'39 third-party objections to this application which have raised concern with the visual impacts of the proposal and well as public health/safety … whilst these comments are acknowledged, the concerns around public health and telecoms are not material considerations in the determination of the application'.

The case is now underway with Alex Goodman, a specialist barrister from Landmark Chambers, and Linda Felton, a specialist planning law solicitor from Fortune Green Legal Practice, providing representation to me as the Claimant. 

The case is the culmination of three years work supporting objectors to oppose 5G rollout from planning and public health protection perspectives.

Case History

The case draws upon early-2000 precedents that established objector rights on health grounds, and places these precedents before the Planning Court alongside the significance of the public health protection measures designed into the EECC. 

Those measures should override UK planning policy and LPA reliance on the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) certificates issued by telecoms companies, by making LPAs accountable for ensuring that public health is made imperative through the reconciliation of the health & safety and the environmental consequences of masts/antennae proposed in localities used by the public for residential, commercial, educational, recreational, and other community uses.

Claims included in the Case

The Isle of Wight Council argued in its defence that:

  1. there is no requirement to give further consideration to the health effects of the 5G activated antennae beyond following NPPF policy and accepting the ICNIRP certificate issued by a telecoms company as being sufficiently protective.

  2. any rights that objectors may have under the EECC would need to have been recognised by the European Court, or a UK Court, as having direct effect in UK domestic law before 31st December 2020, as the EU Directive would have no effect in the UK after that date

This stance was endorsed in the Planning Court on the 24th January 2023, through Mrs Justice Lang's initial refusal of my application for judicial review.

The EECC was brought into UK law on the 21st December 2020, under Section 2 of Chapter 16 of the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 which contrary to the position taken by Mrs Justice Lang, secured its continuing effect in UK domestic law before, on and after the 31st December 2020!

The day after Mrs Justice Lang's Order was issued, Alex Goodman took instructions to renew my application for judicial review on the two grounds

  1. that the case officer erred in holding that objector concerns on public health/safety are not material considerations and could be disregarded, and that in refusing me permission to obtain a judicial review the judge erred in supporting the Council's reasoning

  2. that it was clear: a) that the siting or location of telecommunications masts (or antennae) is a planning matter and paragraph 118 of the NPPF applies; b) that the public health consequences of the location and siting of a mast (or antennae) is not going to be wholly discharged by a ICNIRP certificate; and c) that the provisions of the EECC have taken effect as EU Retained law.

Potential outcomes of the case

How the EECC impacts upon LPAs post-Brexit, and whether the Government should have enacted EECC public health protection measures more effectively after the EECC was approved EU-wide in 2018, are crux issues that the Planning Court must address.

At stake are

  • the rights of objectors to bring evidence of the adverse health and environmental impacts of 5G technology whenever a telecoms company seeks planning permission to construct a new mast, or to upgrade an old one;

  • the right of objectors doing so, to be sure that LPAs will act in accordance with their full obligations to protect the public and the environment

  • recognition that it is not irrational for LPAs to refuse masts on credible independent evidence pointing to real hazards

  • the ability of LPAs to act freely and openly to serve the public interest.

Government policy on involuntary public exposure to RFR should support and reinforce LPAs acting in accordance with their legal obligations rather than undermining their ability and willingness to comply with their public health obligations.

As the EECC has effect post-Brexit, our focus on the public health consequences of this legislation in the UK has relevance across Europe and beyond, because telecoms companies are granted,

'freedom to provide electronic communications networks and services',

subject only to the conditions laid down in the EECC as a legal framework, and in particular,

'measures regarding public policy, public security and public health'.


Are required to fund the ongoing legal work and representation to challenge the first stage refusal, allowing the case to progress though to a substantial and full hearing.

We need to challenge how local authorities perceive their public health and environmental protection obligations, and ensure that the risks of harm, injury and nuisance created by 5G technology are regulated openly and effectively.

A positive outcome for this case will set a precedent that will need to be applied by all LPAs, and accepted as applicable country-wide by the UK Government.

Please support this vital legal challenge.

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Update 2

Neil McDougall

March 11, 2023

Proper application of EECC sought but not yet achieved

Mr Justice Jenner refused permission for judicial review at a one hour hearing on Thursday last based largely on the precedent set in this 2007 case:

Harris v First Secretary of State (2007) 


Paragraph 24 

'In the light of the reasoning of Laws L.J. it seems to me that the statement of Richards J. at paragraph 41 of Phillips, cited above, can no longer be regarded as a correct statement of the general approach.  The effect of T-Mobile is to recognise that, where the policy guidance applies, public concerns about the health implications of the creation of a radio base station can be a material consideration only if there exist exceptional circumstances which justify departure from the policy.' 

My case for the proper application of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) was made carefully by Alex Goodman but we were unsuccessful.

Currently, we are exploring the prospects for appealing against the refusal.

The EECC was agreed in 2018 with the intent of securing an effective legal framework for managing the rollout of 5G technology.

From my perspective it is unacceptable that the health protection measures designed into the EECC are not being applied as an essential foundation for protecting the rights of objectors to ensure that adverse health effects are properly taken into account in the decisions that local authorities take on the proposed location of 5G masts.

Further updates will be posted next week.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support for my case.


Update 1

Neil McDougall

March 3, 2023

Action taken ahead of the 9th March permission hearing

After explained to Alex Goodman where I'm hoping the case will lead, he issued yesterday a skeleton argument for the judicial review permission hearing next Thursday (9th March), making the case that the public health protection aspects of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) are material planning considerations that have to be addressed by local planning authorities (LPAs) when they are required make decisions on the siting of masts/antennas.
By coincidence, he's drawing on his success on 1st March in this case
where the Supreme Court concluded that it could not, and should not try to anticipate the outcome of the local authority having to reconsider its decision after taking into account critical material planning considerations that the local authority previously failed to address!
Still, the Isle of Wight case will either confirm our rights to object to mast siting on health grounds and that LPAs are obliged to take evidence on adverse health effects seriously (as DLA Piper Solicitors acting for Public Health England affirmed in August 2019), and be made accountable for doing so; or, the Council's stance of reliance on ICNIRP would be reinforced leaving open the prospect the Council's stance might then be applied nationwide!
To maximise our chances of success, we need further support to reach the Crowdjustice target pledges of £15,000 to guarantee we can cover the cost of legal fees.  Thanks to all who have pledged support so far!


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