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5G mast plans halted as peregrine falcons make the proposed location their nest

Telegraph reporters
The proposed location of the 5G mast - Wessex

Plans for a 5G mast have been halted because two peregrine falcons have decided to make the proposed location their nest.

Two of the world's fastest birds of prey are raising chicks on top of an 84ft high Victorian water tower in New Milton, Hampshire, which was to be base of the mobile signal booster.

Town councillors have backed plans for a 5G mast on the 120-year-old, three-storey mock Tudor tower - but not until the falcon chicks have flown the nest.

For the past four years, the protected birds have been nesting at the tower annually, and the current clutch of four is expected to remain there until about August.

During a meeting of the town's planning committee, held via the Zoom video service, a member of the public questioned the timing of the work regarding the peregrines.

Planning chairman Cllr Steve Clarke said: "We wouldn't want any work to start there until the chicks have been fully fledged and the nest is empty until the next season.

"I think they keep using the nest, certainly through July and into August.

"They're a protected species that are now showing quite a strong comeback. It's good that we've got a breeding pair in the town."

The same female has nested there since 2016 and this year found a new mate after her previous one disappeared last year.

The nesting season at the tower usually starts around late February or early March.

The committee recommended Mobile Broadband Network Ltd's application be approved subject to the nesting peregrines.

New Milton's population is about 25,000.