Publication Local Plan, Chapter 16: Digital infrastructure

Creating a fairer Salford by:

  • Improving access for all residents and businesses to high quality digital infrastructure, enabling them to fully participate in the world
  • Helping to address the areas of poor digital infrastructure connectivity that currently reduce opportunities for some communities
  • ‘Future-proofing’ the city for the benefit of future generations

16.1 Increasingly, the competitiveness of cities will be heavily influenced by the quality and capacity of their digital infrastructure, such as high speed broadband and the latest generation of mobile phone and wireless technology. Salford’s long-term success, and its ability to secure investment and attract modern businesses, will in part rely on constantly improving its digital connectivity, enabling it to respond to opportunities such as the ‘internet of things’ (the networking of a wide range of devices, buildings and other items) and ‘smart cities’ (integrating technology to manage assets and provide data). This will help the city to function more effectively, opening up new possibilities for residents and businesses.

16.2 Access to high quality digital infrastructure, and having the skills to utilise it, will be a vital component of social inclusion, enabling everyone to take up employment, education and social opportunities, as well to access the full range of services that are increasingly provided online. It will also enable greater homeworking, and hence reduce pressures on transport systems.

16.3 Salford is already well-positioned from an economic perspective, with MediaCityUK at Salford Quays recognised as an international centre of digital creativity, with a range of digital-based businesses and The Landing digital enterprise hub. It will be important to further enhance this position, whilst at the same time providing the rest of the city with access to similar standards of digital infrastructure.

Policy DG1 - Digital infrastructure 

The rollout and continued improvement of affordable, high speed, high capacity digital infrastructure serving all parts of the city will be supported. It will be particularly important to ensure that the City Centre and Salford Quays have the highest quality digital infrastructure, both in terms of fibre and the latest generation wireless technology, to strengthen their existing role. 

New development shall: 

  1. Enable the enhancement of Salford’s digital infrastructure;
  2. Incorporate full fibre connections, including ducting capable of accommodating more than one digital infrastructure provider; and
  3. Build in potential for Building Information Modelling, through being designed to accommodate existing and future smart cities applications including data collection and communications facilities. 

Telecommunications development shall: 

  1. Be located in the following order of preference:
    1. The sharing of existing telecommunications sites and installations, including masts, structures and buildings;
    2. The use of existing buildings and structures where there are no existing telecommunications installations; and
    3. Other locations;
  2. Limit street clutter through minimising the number, size and prominence of equipment cabins;
  3. Minimise the impact of equipment on the visual amenity, character and appearance of the surrounding area;
  4. If on a building, be sited and designed in order to seek to minimise its impact on the appearance of the building;
  5. Have special regard to the Green Belt, the natural environment and historic environment where the quality of the landscape/townscape may be particularly sensitive to the intrusion of communications infrastructure, including conservation areas and listed buildings;
  6. Not have a detrimental impact on the movement of pedestrians and cyclists or on the safe and effective functioning of highways;
  7. Not result in the International Commission guidelines on non-ionising radiation protection being exceeded;
  8. Not cause interference with other electrical equipment, air traffic services or instrumentation operated in the national interest;
  9. Where it is required to be operational during flooding, not be located in an area that would be subject to a 1 in 100 year risk of flooding (1% annual exceedance probability (AEP)), not taking into account flood defences; and
  10. Undertake appropriate pre-application consultation in accordance with national policy.

Protecting existing digital infrastructure 

16.4 As well as supporting new infrastructure provision, the successful functioning of existing digital infrastructure needs to be protected from adverse impacts, including from new development. Such infrastructure includes existing telecommunications apparatus, microwave links and switching stations. It will also be important to ensure that new buildings do not prevent residents from accessing strong and unbroken television reception.

Policy DG2 - Protecting digital infrastructure

Adverse impacts on the successful functioning of existing digital infrastructure shall be avoided. Where this is not practicable, appropriate mitigation shall be provided.


16.5 The main indicators that will be used to monitor this chapter are:

Indicator Baseline position Target
Proportion of businesses with full fibre connections Unknown Greater Manchester: 90% by 2025 [1]
Proportion of homes and businesses with full fibre connections 8% nationally [2]
36.9% in Salford [3]
100% nationally by 2033 [4]


[1] Greater Manchester Combined Authority (2019) Greater Manchester Infrastructure Framework 2040

[2] Ofcom (17 September 2019) Connected Nations Update Summer 2019

[3] Ofcom (4 November 2019) Connected Nations Update  Summer 2019 Data

[4] Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (July 2018) Future telecoms infrastructure review. The publication sets a nationwide target for all homes and business premises to be connected to full fibre by 2033

Next chapter

Rate this page