Ghana demands permit for telecom masts


Ghana’s Ministry of Environment Science and Technology (MEST) has ordered all mobile communication operators to obtain the necessary environmental permits before installing telecommunication masts.

Sherry Aryittey, the sector Minister, said each investor was expected to complete an environmental assessment registration form and submit it to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as a site plan duly signed by a licensed surveyor, block plan, evidence of neighbourhood consultation and a lease agreement .

A statement issued in Accra on Saturday said the directives had become necessary because investigations indicated that most of the installations were done without the necessary permit from the EPA. These had resulted in numerous complaints concerning potential public health risks and the safety of such masts particularly those located in residential areas.

The Ministry advised telecommunication companies to avoid locating their masts in areas which are not suitable, particularly densely populated residential areas, to avert possible accidents to life and property.

"The Ministry wishes to remind all investors in communication. that under section 29 of the Environment Assessment Registration 1999, LI 1652, all such developments are to be registered and environmental permits obtained before construction commences."

It said non compliance with this regulation was an offence, which may evoke the necessary sanctions, which include summary conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a term of not exceeding one year or both.

The statement said: "All residents should take note that residential plots are zoned purposely for residences and are not to be leased for the construction of communication masts." The mobile telecommunication companies have been complaining that they were finding it difficult to install masts that would guarantee good quality reception.