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Row over broadband cabinets plan
Viscount Younger of Leckie said the green broadband cabinets will 'blend in where possible'
The Government has come under fire for allowing broadband providers to put up equipment cabinets on streets without planning permission.
Ministers argue bureaucracy is holding up the spread of superfast broadband across the country and believe lifting planning restrictions is crucial.
But campaigners have claimed the new cabinets, which councils will be able to block only in exceptional circumstances, are unsightly and intrusive.
And at question time in the House of Lords, Labour former culture minister Lord Howarth of Newport called for the Government to rethink.
Government spokesman Viscount Younger of Leckie said the green cabinets, which will be 1.6 metres high and 1.2m wide, would "blend in where possible" and in some cases be camouflaged.
But Lord Howarth demanded: "Will the Government think again about allowing broadband providers to install their bulky and intrusive equipment whether they decide is convenient for them without a requirement for planning permission or even for local consultation?
"While no one wishes to thwart the distribution of superfast broadband cannot we handle this in a civilised way and in a spirit of genuine localism?
"Should not the claims of amenity and the quality of the built environment be weighed alongside the claims of economic development and adjudicated through the local planning system as has long been the practice in our country?"
Lord Younger said the changes in the formal planning system did not mean broadband providers had "carte blanche to install cabinets or poles wherever or whenever it suits them".
He added: "They must still notify planning authorities of their sighting plans and consider requests for changes to be made. In exceptional circumstances planning authorities can remove a permitted right to develop."