A UK infrastructure services company have won an appeal to build a mobile phone mast in a small South Cumbrian village.

Cornerstone’s application to install a 25m lattice tower in Casterton in Yorkshire Dales National Park was originally refused in December 2022 after strong local opposition from the Friends of the Yorkshire Dales and from the Friends of the Lake District.

However, the company appealed the decision and were successful this month after the Planning Inspector put more weight on meeting the Government’s £1 billion Shared Rural Network scheme requirement.

The scheme set out by the UK government requires mobile network operators to 4G geographical coverage from at least one operator over 95 per cent of the country by the end of 2025.

As a result, the mast will be installed on land at Hoggs Hill, Barbon Low Fell, off Fell Road.

The area is close to the Three Counties System of Caves, the Red Rose Cave and the Pothole Club at Bull Pot Farm. The location also sits close to the Dent Fault.

Merlin Hibbs, a retired engineer from Barbon, believes the implementation will have implications for all National Parks.

He made reference to Section 61 of the 1995 Environment Act which states that National Parks should ‘Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage’.

Mr Hibbs, who has previous experience in aerospace engineering, quality and safety management, said: “This site was going to be accessed by a new track from the road, but it is now understood that this is no longer required and access will be by helicopter.

“With a successful appeal, it is not obvious what will stop applications across all the high points of the National Parks where these are in private or crown ownership.

“It feels that this is a significant threat to our National Parks across the whole country.”