News for Scotland

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Scottish 'detox' farm fights to keep area phone mast free
Scotland Created: 3 Oct 2019
A remote Scottish farm nestled deep by the Galloway Forest Park has launched a bid to keep the area cut-off from phone connectivity.

Creeside Farm, which offers customers a chance to get away from modern life, is urging the local council to protect one of the UK's most popular 'off the grid' open spaces.

The South Ayrshire farm is located in an officially designated UNESCO Biosphere, a mark which seeks to reconcile human activity with the conservation of biodiversity.

Owner of the 200-acre diversified farm business, Sarah Redman, said the ability to get away from WiFi and phone signals is a 'big selling point'.

She is now urging local authorities to prevent the introduction of 3G, 4G and 5G networks in the surrounding area.

Ms Redman said: “Improving connectivity around the country is vital to all of our daily lives but as important steps are made towards improving this in rural areas, it’s interesting to consider the impact it might have on some of our much-loved off-grid spots.”

For most farmers, digital technology now plays a central role in their businesses with the widespread adoption of the internet, mobile connectivity, apps and smart farming.

In a survey released earlier this year, 16 percent of farmers now have access to superfast broadband, an increase of 12 percent since 2015.

But for Creeside Farm, this creeping connectivity of the British countryside is bad news.

South Ayrshire Council has recently published a consultation document on planning policy for the area.

“We have responded asking that they consider introducing policy to create or protect a blackspot on the land owned by Creeside Farm,” Ms Redman said.

“This high level of protection doesn’t currently exist anywhere in the UK so what we are proposing is unique.”
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Farming UK, 30 Sep 2019

Scottish pupils kept home from school amid health fears over 5G phone mast
Scotland Created: 21 Aug 2019
Two families are keeping their nine children home from an island school amid concerns about a 5G mast on the building.

It was put up at Stronsay Junior High in Orkney as part of a BBC trial testing live radio broadcasts over 5G mobile networks.

The trial, which began earlier this year, was initially due to run for six weeks but was later extended until the end of September.

Some parents are concerned about potential health risks relating to the project.

One family withdrew their three children last term while another family did not send their children to school on Tuesday, the first day of the new term.

Their father, Duncan Bliss-Davis, whose six children are aged between five and 11, said they were concerned about potential risks.

He said: "The NHS are saying children should only use mobile phones for essential purposes and keep calls short and Public Health England say excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged, yet there is a mast on the school and 20 handsets have been given out.

"One of the reasons we moved here was to get away from the explosion of mobile phone masts and mobile phones.

"People keep talking about how we've been using phones for years with no ill effects but my point is that is not for a person's lifetime."

The children are currently being home schooled but Mr Bliss-Davis said they will probably go back to the school, which has around 30 pupils, if the trial ends in September.

He added: "To us educating our kids is very important and when the trial was just going to be six weeks we thought we could take them out or leave them there and it was only for a short period of time so we left them in but then they extended it."

The 20 handsets were given to local adults as part of the trial.

In a letter to parents, the BBC said: "The equipment we're using for the 5G broadcast radio trial is based around 4G technology, which is widely used across the UK, and the radio frequencies being used are the same that are used to broadcast TV.

"The trial is fully compliant with advice from Public Health England that any exposure to radio waves must comply with guidelines set out by the ICNIRP, an independent international commission recognised by World Health Organisation.

"Those guidelines recommend that exposure to radio waves should be below a certain power level - and the power levels we measured are 1,000 times lower than that level."

Orkney Islands Council said it worked with the BBC to identify Stronsay, which has poor connectivity, as a suitable location for the trial.

A council spokesman said: "The council obtained guidance on 5G safety from Public Health England (PHE) before agreeing for the 5G equipment to be installed in Stronsay.

"PHE is the national body that takes the lead on public health matters involving radio frequency electromagnetic fields, or radio waves, used in telecommunications.

"PHE's advice is that there should be no consequences for public health."

He added: "The BBC has also said that there is no reason to believe there are safety concerns surrounding the trial as the equipment being used is based around widespread 4G technology and is operated at very low frequencies.

"The power levels the BBC has measured in and around the school are 1,000 times below the recommended levels for these frequencies."

The council has agreed the 5G antenna can remain in operation until September 30.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Scotsman, 20 Aug 2019

School faces boycott over phone mast health fears
Scotland Created: 10 Aug 2019
A tiny island school faces a boycott by parents over a 5G mobile phone mast near by.

Some parents have said that their children will not return to Stronsay Junior High, on Stronsay, Orkney, until the antenna is removed because they fear that it is a health risk.

Russell and Naomi Bremner removed Dorothy, ten, Wilbur, nine, and Martha, seven, and started home-schooling them in April. They have been joined by Duncan and Anna Bliss Davis who say their six children, aged five to 11, will not go back after the summer break. The two families account for nine of the 29 children in the combined primary and secondary school.

*SNIP*
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Times, John Jeffay, 09 Aug 2019

High levels of screen time linked to cancer and heart disease
Scotland Created: 27 May 2018
Researchers at the University of Glasgow analysed the amount of time 390,089 people spent looking at TV and computer screens during leisure time.

They found that the association between a high level of screen time and poor health was almost twice as strong in those with low fitness levels.

Professor Jason Gill said the findings could affect public health guidance.

Discretionary screen time - watching screens during leisure time - is said to be a contributor to sedentary behaviour which is associated with higher risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease.

Professor Gill, one of the lead authors of the study, said: "Our study shows that the risks associated with sedentary behaviour may not be the same for everyone, with the association between leisure time screen use and adverse health outcomes being strongest in those with low levels of physical activity, fitness or strength.

"This has potential implications for public health guidance as, if the findings are causal, these data suggest that specifically targeting those with low fitness and strength to reduce their sedentary behaviour may be an effective approach."
Health promotion

The researchers analysed the behaviour of 390,089 people from the UK Biobank.

They found that higher levels of screen time were associated with a higher risk of "all-cause mortality" as well as a higher risk of both heart disease and cancer.

The findings were independent of physical activity, grip strength, BMI, smoking, diet and other major confounding factors, including socio-economic status.

Study author Dr Carlos Celis said: "If the discretionary screen time health associations we found in this study are causal, it suggests that people with the lowest levels of strength, fitness and physical activity could potentially gain the greatest benefit from health promotion interventions aimed at reducing sedentary behaviours.

"While fitness testing can be difficult to measure in healthcare and community settings, grip strength is a quick, simple and cheap to measure, so could easily be implemented as a screening tool in a variety of settings."

The study is published in BMC Medicine.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BBC News, 24 May 2018

Some potentially good news, maybe UK farmers will think twice before allowing masts on their land!
Scotland Created: 23 Jan 2016
Pressure on phone mast rents
BT'S TAKEOVER of mobile giant EE in a £12.5billion deal given final clearance by regulators last week could be bad news for farmers letting land for mobile phone masts.
According to rural property specialists Savills, the recent history of the telecoms market suggests that the takeover is likely to lead to increased pressure on farmers from telecoms agents striving to drive down rents for mobile phone sites.
As well as the takeover of EE - itself formed from a merger of Orange with T-Mobile - rival firm O2 is in the process of acquiring the 3 network, further complicating an industry landscape that features joint infrastructure ventures by O2 and Vodafone, and by 3 and EE, in the names of Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) and Mobile Broadband Network (MBNL) respectively.
Savills warned that all this change within the sector had lead to confusion, with misleading information in the public domain about what is a fair rent for a mast site, and bewildered farmers receiving numerous letters from agents, often located outwith Scotland, threatening to make sites redundant if new terms, at greatly reduced rents, are not accepted.
Savills Rural director Kenneth Munn said: "Most of these letters have been veiled threats and we have been able to protect farmers' interests. However we know there are instances where farmers have given in to the pressure and accepted new leases on considerably poorer terms and much lower rents. This has taken place when there is no evidence of market rents falling.
"In the vast majority of cases, there should be financial incentive for the landlord to agree to an effective assignment to a new company, especially where this is to be a network sharer such as CTIL or MBNL," advised Mr Munn. "Needless to say the rent increases, and or lease premiums payable, will vary from site to site.
"It is imperative that landlords do not sign any letters, however innocuous they may appear, without having first spoken to their agent or solicitor."
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Agnes Ingvarsdottir

Pressure on phone mast rents
Scotland Created: 21 Jan 2016
BT'S TAKEOVER of mobile giant EE in a £12½ billion deal given final clearance by regulators last week could be bad news for farmers letting land for mobile phone masts.

According to rural property specialists Savills, the recent history of the telecoms market suggests that the takeover is likely to lead to increased pressure on farmers from telecoms agents striving to drive down rents for mobile phone sites.

As well as the takeover of EE - itself formed from a merger of Orange with T-Mobile - rival firm O2 is in the process of acquiring the 3 network, further complicating an industry landscape that features joint infrastructure ventures by O2 and Vodafone, and by 3 and EE, in the names of Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) and Mobile Broadband Network (MBNL) respectively.

Savills warned that all this change within the sector had lead to confusion, with misleading information in the public domain about what is a fair rent for a mast site, and bewildered farmers receiving numerous letters from agents, often located outwith Scotland, threatening to make sites redundant if new terms, at greatly reduced rents, are not accepted.

Savills Rural director Kenneth Munn said: "Most of these letters have been veiled threats and we have been able to protect farmers' interests. However we know there are instances where farmers have given in to the pressure and accepted new leases on considerably poorer terms and much lower rents. This has taken place when there is no evidence of market rents falling.

"In the vast majority of cases, there should be financial incentive for the landlord to agree to an effective assignment to a new company, especially where this is to be a network sharer such as CTIL or MBNL," advised Mr Munn. "Needless to say the rent increases, and or lease premiums payable, will vary from site to site.

"It is imperative that landlords do not sign any letters, however innocuous they may appear, without having first spoken to their agent or solicitor."

Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Scottish Farmer, 21 Jan 2016

Abhorrent Animal Cruelty, and in the name of science!
Scotland Created: 3 Jun 2015
An elephant seal wearing a wireless sensor designed and made at the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews.
The seals have gathered information from some ofthe harshest polar environments on the planet;" which will now be made available to academics around the world.

LARS BOEHME/PA WIRE
from "I" from the Independent

And another view from the : All Analytics Academy
Those Data-Driven Elephant Seals
Ever since I shared the details of what is arguably one of the coolest big-data projects to date -- photographer Rick Smolan's Human Face of Big-Data project -- I haven't been able to stop wondering one thing. Do elephant seals, one of the big-data stars mentioned in Smolan's press release, really like having antennas glued on their heads to map the oceans?
Noreen Seebacher
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Agnes Ingvarsdottir

Looking for EHS sufferers for research documentary & webplatform
Scotland Created: 12 Aug 2014
Hello all,

My name is Gemma Barendse and I work as a research assistant for filmmaker Marie Lidén in Glasgow.

We're working on a documentary and a webplatform about electrosensitivity. We would like to get in contact with people who are electrosensitive and would like to share their experiences. We're also interested in hearing from journalists, activists and researchers.

If this is something you'd be interested in, please contact me at gemmabarendse {-at-} gmail.com
(note: substitute {-at-} with @ )

All the best and thank you,
Gemma

See also this forum thread:
http://www.mast-victims.org/forum/index.php?action=vthread&forum=1&topic=5790
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Gemma Barendse, 11 Aug 2014

Residents do battle again over phone mast
Scotland Created: 27 Mar 2014
Residents in Canmore Street are preparing themselves for their second struggle against a mobile phone mast being sited near their homes.

A massive campaign mounted in 2004 prevented the installation of a third generation phone mast at the BT exchange in the street.

At that time the councillors’ collective decision was swayed by 260 letters of objection as well as a 960-signature petition against the mast’s installation.

The company has recently lodged an application with Angus Council for a 12-metre tall radio pole fitted with a 30cm radio dish at the same
location.

Several nearby residents, however, have again lodged objections on the grounds of the dish’s possible visual impact on their properties and concerns over health.

Alison Simpson, whose home is next to the exchange, said: “This is the second time they’ve applied for this and I don’t know why they
 need it.

“It’s so tall it will be visible from all around and all but two of our windows will look out at it.”

Mrs Simpson’s husband, Brian, also said he felt there were other locations the dish could have been located away from houses.

He said: “There’s a mast up at Balmashanner and one at the Market Muir. Surely there would be room for a 300 millimetre disk on one of them.

“We spend a lot of time in the garden during the summer and it will be overlooking that.”

Alan Petrie, the Simpsons’ neighbour, also said he has concerns on health grounds about a radio dish being sited close to people’s homes.

He continued: “Why put it there? It’s one of the lowest points in town, and there are hills all around. There have also been reports of people being affected by radio waves. There are so many going around and no-one knows how their effect is.”

A BT spokeswoman said that the location had been chosen partly because it was felt the pole would have a minimal visual impact.

She added: “The purpose of this mast is to enhance mobile coverage on the outskirts of Forfar. The pole is located within the boundary of our BT exchange building and planners deliberately sited it at the rear of the exchange to minimise the impact on visual amenity.

“It is adjacent to a local car park which has floodlighting so it was felt it would be in keeping with existing street furniture.

“The radio dish meets all the relevant international public safety level guidelines. BT will of course comply with any planning guidelines that are required by Angus Council.”
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Forfar Dispatch, 27 Mar 2014

Mobile ‘not spots’ may become hot spots
Scotland Created: 8 Dec 2013
Eleven ‘not spots’ in the Western Isles have been identified and earmarked for the installation of new mobile phone masts to improve coverage.

‘Not spots’ are defined as areas were no mobile coverage is available from any mobile network operators. A list of possible locations for the new mast was presented to councillors last week.

The Gazette was told by an industry insider that it is “highly likely” the vast majority of the sites will get 3G coverage following the installation. However a spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport did not confirm this. Instead he said the project “at this stage” is “committing to deliver voice and basic data”.

The development is part of the Mobile Infrastructure Project, which aims to deliver mobile services in rural areas where market-driven investment is not commercially viable. Masts for operators O2, Vodafone, EE and Three will be erected.

The eleven sites are in Back, Shader, Balivanich, Ranish, Cnoc a’ Chonaisg, Lochboisdale, Upper Carloway, Ardroil, Sollas, Nask and Swainbost.

However these sites are not yet guaranteed, and the installation of masts at these locations will be subject to technical and operational considerations along with acquisition and planning constraints.

The next stage will be Site Search and Report followed by Site Agreement with landowners, Planning Applications and finally, Build and Commission. The aim is for the sites to be acquired and built by 2015.

The Western Isles arm of the development is part of the national project which will see £150m of government funding spent on improving coverage all over the UK.

The news was welcomed by councillors at last week’s Policy and Resources Committee meeting - however concerns were raised about the roll-out of 3G. Members agreed to voice their concerns with mobile operator Vodafone.

Cllr Kenneth Murry commented: “3G should be up here in the islands with Vodafone, but they seem to be dragging their feet.”

Speaking after the meeting he added: “The lack of 3G coverage by Vodafone is an issue as they are the dominant supplier of mobile in Western Isles.

“They tend to be reticent in sharing their planned rollout of 3G/4G and with more mobile content available on smart phones and tablets it is leave us far behind rest of UK.”

Responding to the comments a Vodafone spokesperson said: “We’re always looking to improve network coverage and capacity for our customers - we spend more than £2.5 million every day doing this.”

She said the process of developing sites can take up to a year and added: “ Not surprisingly, when upgrading sites, we focus on areas with higher population first but we also have a strong commitment to bring coverage to rural areas.”

She said the company are unable to give out detailed plans of network development, however the Comhairle are given outline plans every year.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Stornoway Gazette, 08 Dec 2013

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