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UPDATE – PERMISSION GRANTED AT THE COURT OF APPEAL
United Kingdom Created: 29 May 2022
Secretary of State to be challenged on failure to give adequate information to the public about the risks of 5G and to explain the absence of a process for investigation of any adverse health effects.

We are delighted to announce that the Court of Appeal has today granted permission for our case to proceed on two grounds concerning:

1. The failure to provide adequate or effective information to the public about the risks and how, if it be possible, it might be possible for individuals to avoid or minimize the risks;

2. (a) The failure to provide adequate and sufficient reasons for not establishing a process to investigate and establish the adverse health effects and risks of adverse health effects from 5G technology and/or for discounting the risks presented by the evidence available; and/or (b) failure to meet the requirements of transparency and openness required of a public body.

These grounds advance a breach of the Human Rights Act 1998 by omissions and failings in violation of the positive obligations to protect human life, health and dignity, required to be met by Articles 2, 3 and/or 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case will now be sent back to the Administrative Court and we await the directions as to the full hearing in due course.

To our wonderful supporters: this is YOUR victory. Without your unerring faith in our case, this would not have been possible.

With eternal gratitude

Action Against 5G
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Source: Action Against 5G, 25 May 2022

Electrosensitive Ricky Gardiner, guitarist for David Bowie and Iggy Pop, dies aged 73
United Kingdom Created: 19 May 2022
Ricky Gardiner, the guitarist who performed classic riffs for albums including David Bowie’s Low and Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, has died aged 73.

Producer Tony Visconti announced the news on social media, saying Gardiner’s wife had informed him. He described Gardiner, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, as a “guitar genius”.

Born in Edinburgh in 1948, his first major band was the prog rock group Beggars Opera, who formed in 1969. Beginning with Act One the following year, he recorded six albums with the band, who became a cult favourite across Europe, particularly in Germany.

He was invited to play guitar on Tony Visconti’s solo album Inventory, and Visconti suggested that he perform on David Bowie’s Low – Bowie then invited him to join the recording sessions at a chateau near Paris, in 1977, later moving to Hansa studios in Berlin. Gardiner played lead guitar on the album’s first half, including the cheerful, whimsical lead line on Sound and Vision, the fanfare-like riff for opening track Speed of Life, and the cosmic solo on Always Crashing in the Same Car.

The Bowie recordings brought him into the orbit of another star, Iggy Pop, and he toured with Bowie and Pop for the latter’s album The Idiot, with Bowie on keyboards. On this famously debauched tour, Gardiner preferred to take early morning walks – “If others used [drugs], they must have been discreet. I enjoy the occasional drink but I would be quite happy if alcohol was returned to its rightful place in the laboratory,” he later said.

He then played guitar and contributed songwriting on the Bowie-produced Iggy Pop album Lust for Life later in 1977, describing the writing and recording sessions as “a joy”.

Among Gardiner’s contributions is a riff regarded to be one of the simplest and greatest of all time: the swaggering three-note motif for The Passenger, which came to him in bucolic surroundings not usually associated with Pop. “The apple trees were in bloom and I was doodling on the guitar as I gazed at the trees,” Gardiner later said. “I was not paying any attention to what I was playing. I was in a light dream enjoying the glorious spring morning. At a certain point my ear caught the chord sequence.”

He also co-wrote the songs Success and Neighbourhood Threat, and played drums on the closing jam Fall in Love With Me. “Lust for Life benefited from a lot of spontaneity and was largely recorded as the moon was waxing towards full,” he later explained. “The song Success epitomises this jubilant energy and the album on the whole shows imaginative qualities consistent with this rising lunar energy.”

Iggy Pop paid tribute to Gardiner, writing: “Dearest Ricky, lovely, lovely man, shirtless in your coveralls, nicest guy who ever played guitar.”

Gardiner became a father and didn’t continue to tour with Bowie and Pop. He set up his own studio and began exploring the possibilities of digital production, occasionally releasing albums with collaborators – including his wife Virginia Scott – such as the ambient project Kumara. In 1995, he released Auschwitz, an instrumental work marking the 50th anniversary of the camp’s liberation that he regarded as his most important solo work.

He was diagnosed with electrosensitivity in 1998, which made him feel unwell when in proximity to electronic devices – he had to adapt his home studio to accommodate the illness. As well as recording his own versions of The Passenger, in his later years he returned to the Beggars Opera project, releasing seven further albums.
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Source: The Guardian, Ben Beaumont-Thomas, 17 May 2022

Bradford: Wyke 5G phone mast plan refused for listed church
United Kingdom Created: 9 May 2022
A 5G phone mast will not be allowed to be built on a 176-year-old Grade II-listed church in West Yorkshire due to concerns it could harm its appearance.

The spire at St Mary's The Virgin in Wyke, Bradford, already has antennae attached and Cellnex UK had applied for permission to upgrade the base station.

But Bradford Council has rejected the application, saying it would "detract from the church's architectural form".

The building, dating back to the 1840s, was a "landmark", the council said.

Although Cellnex's planning application said 5G coverage in the area was "essential" and that any visual effect caused by a new mast would be outweighed by the benefits of 5G, Bradford Council's conservation officer Jon Ackroyd disagreed, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
'Unquantifiable harm'

Mr Ackroyd said: "St Mary the Virgin dates from 1846-7 and is an early example of a church responding to the Victorian expansion of Bradford and its surrounding settlements.

"The tower is particularly prominent and the building is a local landmark."

Existing antennae were visible, but work had made sure they blended into the spire, Mr Ackroyd added.

Cellnex UK said the design was the "least visually-intrusive option" given the equipment needed for 5G and had submitted a revised application.

"It is accepted there will be very marginally intensification in the amount of equipment [but] it is felt such a minor increase would not detract from the character of the area," Cellnex said.

"Any visual effects [would be] significantly outweighed by the immense benefits of the new 5G connectivity."

However, rejecting the revised application, Bradford Council said any installations would still project too much from the spire.

It added that the application was refused due to "lack of information and unquantifiable harm".
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Source: BBC News, 06 May 2022

Plan for 5G mast in Spalding’s Wygate Park has drawn opposition from South Holland politicians
United Kingdom Created: 9 May 2022
Plans for a 5G phone mast in Spalding have drawn opposition from politicians - who say it would be a ‘major blot’ on the landscape.

CK Hutchison - which operates the Three mobile phone network - has made a third bid to build a mast in Wygate Park.

The firm failed twice to get plans passed for land at the junction with Claudette Avenue last year - and was also knocked back in attempts to put masts elsewhere in the town.

Its latest plan is for a more ‘slimline’ design - but would still see a 15m mast put up.

District councillor Roger Gambba-Jones, ward member for the area, described the mast and its accompanying cabinets as ‘an industrial and inappropriate’ structure and says no effort has been made to camouflage it.

In a submission to the council’s planning department, he wrote: “The application site could hardly be more prominent when seen from the road itself.

“It is highly visible over significant distances from both directions as one approaches Claudette Avenue junction.

“A structure of this nature would be a major blot on an otherwise open and fairly uncluttered landscape.

“The introduction of this alien and industrial structure into this residential environment will detract from the general attractiveness of the area.

“It will also spoil the general enjoyment gained from that location as part of the linear park that helps to connect and maintain the link between the communities of Wygate Park.”

Coun Gambba-Jones criticises the applicant for failing to back up its assertion that there will be no material impact - and asserts that there will be and that this will ‘result in a demonstrable harm’.

South Holland and the Deepings MP Sir John Hayes has also lodged an objection. In a letter, he wrote that the mast should be in an industrial site, adding: “These masts are completely out of character with the surrounding residential area and will be an incongruous structure blighting the landscape, causing loss of amenity to the neighbouring properties and beyond.”

Such masts apparently need to be located close to the people served - and Three insists it has looked at several alternatives in and around Wygate Park.
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Source: Spalding Today, Andrew Brookes, 05 May 2022

Cafe owner slams "monstrosity" 5G mast as takings halve
United Kingdom Created: 9 May 2022
Ray Nicholson says people aren't sure if he's open because of the mast.

A takeaway owner says his profits have halved after a 'monstrosity' of a 5G mast was installed outside his business. Former football coach Ray Nicholson opened Nico Patties in Harrow, north west London, in summer 2020 - weeks before the mast was installed.

But the 54-year-old says takings at his eatery, which sells Caribbean patties, doughnuts and sweet treats, halved from £300 to £150 a day after the installation appeared. He says he now pulls 12-hour shifts and pumped in £14,000 of his own money meaning he has 'nothing left' to put in.

He said council bosses never warned him or asked what he thought- and claims he has never seen another phone mast in front of a shop anywhere in the borough. Ray, who has lived nearby since 1974, worries the Caribbean café could end up having to close its doors.

He even thought about shutting the shop on Harrow View but has vowed to keep going as running it has been a ‘great journey’ and he wants to create ‘something special’ for his loyal customers. To tempt in more customers he has bought a trellis and hedge which he plans to wrap around the ugly creation.

He says he has bought a parasol to put between the new hedge and the shop which can fit in an outdoor terrace with seating. He said: “I was selling patties in the traffic before it was there. When we first started we were flying.

“It went up in Summer 2020 just after we opened. I thought ‘I am going to have a lovely shop, everyone is going to see it.’ Now I have this monstrosity outside my shop. People said they were going to try and get it removed but it never has been.

“My rent has gone up- initially when I signed a contract for five years it was for £750 a month and then it increased by £100 even though that monstrosity has been put up in front of the shop. I phoned the landlord saying ‘what are you doing?’ but he said he had nothing to do with it.

“Eventually I got so frustrated I called EE and they gave me £250 for a new sign. It has affected my business and I have had no compensation at all.

“When I started two years ago we were taking around £300 per day and now we are taking around £150 a day. I am worried my business will have to close and I am worried about my health.

“I just don’t understand why the council could do that? When you try and phone the council you are on the line for hours.

“There is all that space on the pavement. They have got all that space and they have just stuck it in front of my shop?

“I am going to put a trellis and a hedge around it and put a new banner up. It has become a little social gathering spot for people after we are closed at 9pm because you can sit on and around it.

“My daughter said to me ‘get out of here, you don’t need to be here, go and get another shop.’ We have got another shop in Bushey but it has not opened yet.

“This is my area and has been for such a long time. I have lived here since 1974. The business has just been phenomenal and most days we are doing alright- but it has been a major, major problem.

“I don’t understand why they have done it, it is the worst planning I have ever seen. The masts are all around the borough but I have never seen one outside a shop.

“We are the only black shop around here. They have put it outside our shop.
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Source: SurreyLive, Gwyn Wright & Matt Jackson, 07 May 2022

Will 5G Kill Me? When Telecom Politics Become a Deadly Sin
United Kingdom Created: 9 May 2022
5G is undeniably the talk of the moment, much more in the business corridors and governmental strategies, than in the telecom community. This does not come as a surprise since 5G with its promising capabilities paves the way to a myriad of new business use cases and digital transformation opportunities.

5G and the trend in wireless network evolution in general, have a dark side to it: HEALTH!! This is probably the least discussed topic in wireless networks. In all honesty, why would someone bring a topic to the limelight if it will affect the adoption of the associated technology and stir unnecessary controversy.

The short episoAde that associated 5G with coronavirus was theatrical, but rather illustrated what effect even a myth could have on the telecom industry. During the most stressful period of the pandemic when thousands of casualties were counted each day, a group of people started burning 5G cell towers linking radiation to the spread of coronavirus. According to the groups involved, 5G radiations would weaken the immunity system making it more prone to the effects of the virus. Other theories have link the 5G network to virus transmission.

Clearly “radiophobia” shouldn’t be taken to that extreme. 5G and the associated radio frequency radiations are far from being the biological weapons which will spread the virus and exterminate humanity. What this short episode teaches us though is that the effects of beyond 5G networks should be taken more seriously, and “objective” medical studies should be conducted in “full transparency” and communicated to the public.
Back to Basics: What Are Telecom Tower Radiations?

The connectivity provided by wireless networks is mainly due to electromagnetic waves emanating from antennas distributed over transmission towers and other cell sites. The frequency at which the energy is radiating from these antennas is known as the radio frequency. Radio frequencies used for communication systems go all the way to 300 GHz, just below the infrared/visible light spectrum. As the frequency of usage is higher, it will become more difficult for the signal to reach the user without increasing the power with which it is transmitted. The reason is that it can be easily blocked by obstacles and attenuated by the environment. As a consequence, more transmission stations are to be used or a much larger transmission power from existing ones.

The capabilities of the 5G and next generation wireless networks come from improvements on different fronts, mainly from a technical nature. One prominent feature however is the increasing use of higher frequencies. To put it in simple terms, accommodating a higher number of mobile users while satisfying their needs in terms of extremely high data rates and low delays requires a higher bandwidth; and this bandwidth is not possible without going to higher frequencies. It is in fact this simple equation that reinvigorated the discussion on the harmful effects of electromagnetic radiations.
Are Telecom Tower Radiations Dangerous?

Radio frequencies in general belong to the class of non-ionizing radiations. This type of radiation does not cause changes at the atom level, that is, the energy is not enough to remove electrons from atoms, thus producing charged ions. On the other hand, ionizing radiations including far ultraviolet light and X-rays have the capabilities of ionizing existing molecules. The common consensus is that non-ionizing radiation has mild effects such as increasing skin temperature which may induce sunburn at most. Some other radiations such as ultraviolet A (UV-A) may cause melanoma. Ionizing radiation is mostly carcinogenic, that is, it may cause several types of cancer after a relatively long exposure. Most health groups and commissions have deemed that radiations from telecom towers as not dangerous mainly because the thermal effects do not cause any harm to the human body (at least a scientifically confirmed harm). However, little attention is given to the non-thermal potential effects of these radiations such as DNA, protein, or cell damage.
So What is the Problem with 5G?

The dilemma regarding harmful effects of non-ionizing radiation is not new. It dates back to the 2G era, the fabled GSM system. However, the network was largely made of dispersed cell towers covering large areas. Subscribers were not even close to transmission entities as antennas were usually mounted on building rooftops. As standards evolved, cell sites have been getting closer to the subscribers to ensure proper capacity and coverage. 5G is the pinnacle of wireless standards with an expected relatively dense deployment of street-level cell sites at close proximity of mobile users. The projected addition of higher frequencies to the 5G palette makes things even worse.

The divergence of opinions in the medical circles regarding 5G radiation have even emerged to the public. The conclusions that non-ionizing radiation is in general not harmful have been contested by many scientists worldwide. These scientists claim that this type of radiation is carcinogenic, although not to the extent of ionizing one. Several cases of glioma, the typical form of brain cancer, have been attributed to non-ionizing radiation. In a report dating back to 2011, the international agency for research on cancer (IARC) has called to classify radio frequencies as potentially carcinogenic (a class denoted as 2B). A “5G Appeal” was even established in Europe in 2017 calling countries to halt the roll-out of 5G networks until a scientific confirmation of its harmless effects. An increasing number of scientists have been joining the appeal since then, calling for the moratorium of 5G.

Even if temporary exposure to non-ionizing radiation is not harmful, our constant presence in the electrosmog would certainly have more dangerous effects that need to be studied closely. The debate does not even end with 5G as future generations are already considering much higher frequencies for their operation.

Another factor is the increased power used for transmission. Cost-saving is one of top goals of operators around the world. To avoid the capital and operational expenditures resulting from the erection of new cell sites, some operators crank up the power on existing sites to extend their coverage range. This has an adverse effect on mobile subscribers who are unaware of this invisible threat.

Several researchers are studying the health effects of 5G deployment. Notably, a paper published in 2020demonstrates the effects of 5G deployment in significantly increasing the power density (power in watts per square meters) for an area in Texas, USA.
Telecom Politics, Outdated Standards, and Conflicts of Interest

To make matters worse, the dark alleys of the telecom industry largely contribute to this ongoing controversy. After all, the telecom sector is among the most profitable around the world. Any obstacle hindering the roll-out of new wireless technologies should be eliminated as soon as possible the limit the financial loss, notably for entities who invested in these technologies.

The main issue concerns institutions that define safe exposure limits to electromagnetic radiations. These include health organizations, in addition to specialized entities such as the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Such commissions and organizations have made use of safety guidelines that date back to the 1990s, ignoring new research results that contradict their conclusions. Among others, they have maintained their stance regarding the thermal effects of non-ionizing radiations and have consequently kept their prescribed exposure limits loose. They have even resisted recognizing the adverse non-thermal effects of radio frequency radiation.

These loose thresholds would normally make most wireless networks which are deployed around the world, compliant with international standards. Surprisingly, the ICNIRP even increased the safe exposure power density from 10 Watts per square meters to 40 Watts per square meters. This gives additional flexibility for telecom operators to design their network at a lower cost. However, higher exposure limits are allowed and more subjects would probably fall victims of the technology evolution.

An article analyzing the performance of heath commissions, outlines several conflicts of interest among scientists responsible for the evaluation of the effects of non-ionizing radiation. For instance, several members of the ICNIRP, were also members of the EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) and a dedicated group of the World Health Organization (WHO). The same article mentions the relation between Swiss scientists and governmental groups responsible for assessing the effects of 5G in addition to mobile operators. When political and economic considerations affect health-related assessments, the outcome normally lacks credibility. The guidelines of standardization bodies therefore cannot be trusted to have the clear picture regarding radiation-associated risks.
Summary

Radiations from telecom towers are essential for the operation of wireless communication systems. No technology such as 5G or Wi-Fi can even exist without these distributed cell sites equipped with transmitting antennas. However, from a health perspective, the telco domain looks pretty much unregulated. Non-ionizing radiations usually have limited implications on the user’s health, but open questions remain largely open: What is the safe exposure time to these radiations? What is the safe distance between a person and a transmitting antenna? What are safe transmission power levels? Why haven’t safety guidelines been updated for some time? Why are the opinions of some scientists been disregarded? Can telecom tower radiations clearly cause cancer or other devastating effects?

While there is no clear answer for these questions, there is one significant problem which is controversy and lack of transparency. People have the right to have a definitive answer regarding the effects of wireless technologies on their health, and they have the right to know that before the mass rollout of such technologies.
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Source: Inside Telecom, Ahmad El Hajj, 04 May 2022

Legal: Can I refuse to host a 5G mast on my land?
United Kingdom Created: 15 Apr 2022
Q: I am paid to have a mobile phone mast on my land. I’ve been asked to host a 5G mast for a measly extra sum - What are my rights?

A: Two legal regimes apply to phone masts on private land. The first is any existing agreement allowing operators to use land. This is usually a long lease of the site, which will probably be a business tenancy under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. If operators ask for permission to upgrade to 5G, landlords generally can’t refuse permission without reasonable grounds. Rents may be subject to review, and tenants are generally entitled to new leases when their old ones expire.
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Source: The Times, Mark Loveday, 15 Apr 2022

Man claims £10,000 knocked off price of his flat after phone mast put up
United Kingdom Created: 9 Apr 2022
An angry homeowner has claimed a mast was erected outside of his property without notice, depreciating its value.

Brian Swanson, 61, has owned the house in Wolverhampton for 15 years and planned to move into it once he had retired.

He discovered the mast when visiting the property to do maintenance checks, and found it was blocking the view of a nearby park.

‘I was livid to tell you the truth. Nobody wants to see a great big mast with a box at the side,’ he told Bimingham Live.

‘There are plenty of parklands there where it could have been hidden.’

Mr Swanson claims he did not receive a letter from the council notifying him the pole was to be erected, although admits he was told there was a ‘notice put on a lamppost’.

The City of Wolverhampton Council said telecommunication network Three UK was responsible for the mast, adding the council had ‘limited control’ over the installations of such things.

A spokesperson said: ‘We placed site notices at the location on August 3, 2021 inviting comments about the planned mast and also included the proposal on our website. No objections or comments were received in this case.’

Mr Swanson wanted to make the house, which he currently rents out, a permanent home with his partner in the future but that is now hanging in the balance due to a fallout over the pole.

He now faces the option of selling the property for ‘thousands less’ than it is supposedly worth.

‘It has spoilt it now – I’ve considered selling it and think I could lose money. [The mast] has definitely reduced the value,’ he said.

‘I know that I wouldn’t buy a home with a huge mast straight in front of the window. I want to get a valuation but I would say it’s knocked off about £10,000.

‘My partner was going to move into the flat with me but there’s no way she’d live near a mast. She won’t even use a mobile phone, she’s that paranoid.’

He insisted the long-term effects of living close to a mast were unknown, adding it may be possible to ‘get brain damage from the waves’.

There is no strong proof 5G is harmful to health with numerous studies showing this, including from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Public Health England and the UK Health Protection Agency.

Cancer Research UK says there is no good evidence that 5G mobile phones increase cancer risk as ‘they still don’t have enough energy to damage DNA to cause cancer’.

A Three spokesperson said: ‘5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of Wolverhampton. We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this site is critical to making that happen.

‘Masts need to be situated where people will be using the service and, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage.

‘We carried out extensive searches and surveys to evaluate siting options before applying for planning permission on Patshull Avenue. Wolverhampton City Council granted planning permission in September 2021.’
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Source: METRO, Zaina Alibhai, 08 Apr 2022

Not smart but clever? The return of 'dumbphones'
United Kingdom Created: 7 Apr 2022
"If aliens came to earth they'd think that mobile phones are the superior species controlling human beings," he says. "And it's not going to stop, it's only going to get worse. Consumers are realising that something is wrong, and we want to offer an alternative."

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Seventeen-year-old Robin West is an anomaly among her peers - she doesn't have a smartphone.

Instead of scrolling through apps like TikTok and Instagram all day, she uses a so-called "dumbphone".

These are basic handsets, or feature phones, with very limited functionality compared to say an iPhone. You can typically only make and receive calls and SMS text messages. And, if you are lucky - listen to radio and take very basic photos, but definitely not connect to the internet or apps.

These devices are similar to some of the first handsets that people bought back in the late 1990s.

Ms West's decision to ditch her former smartphone two years ago was a spur of the moment thing. While looking for a replacement handset in a second-hand shop she was lured by the low price of a "brick phone".

Her current handset, from French firm MobiWire, cost her just £8. And because it has no smartphone functionality she doesn't have an expensive monthly data bill to worry about.

"I didn't notice until I bought a brick phone how much a smartphone was taking over my life," she says. "I had a lot of social media apps on it, and I didn't get as much work done as I was always on my phone."

The Londoner adds that she doesn't think she'll ever buy another smartphone. "I'm happy with my brick - I don't think it limits me. I'm definitely more proactive."

Dumbphones are continuing to enjoy a revival. Google searches for them jumped by 89% between 2018 and 2021, according to a report by software firm SEMrush.

And while sales figures are hard to come by, one report said that global purchases of dumbphones were due to hit one billion units last year, up from 400 million in 2019. This compares to worldwide sales of 1.4 billion smart phones last year, following a 12.5% decline in 2020.

Meanwhile, a 2021 study by accountancy group Deloitte said that one in 10 mobile phone users in the UK had a dumbphone.

"It appears fashion, nostalgia, and them appearing in TikTok videos, have a part to play in the dumbphone revival," says Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at price comparison site Uswitch.com. "Many of us had a dumbphone as our first mobile phone, so it's natural that we feel a sense of nostalgia towards these classic handsets."

Mr Doku says it was the 2017 relaunch of Nokia's 3310 handset - first released in 2000, and one of the biggest-selling mobiles of all time - that really sparked the revival. "Nokia pushed the 3310 as an affordable alternative in a world full of high-spec mobiles."

He adds that while it's true that dumbphones can't compete with the latest premium Apple and Samsung models when it comes to performance or functionality, "they can outshine them in equally important areas such as battery life and durability".

Five years ago, Przemek Olejniczak, a psychologist, swapped his smartphone for a Nokia 3310, initially because of the longer-lasting battery. However, he soon realised that there were other benefits.

"Before I would always be stuck to the phone, checking anything and everything, browsing Facebook or the news, or other facts I didn't need to know," he says.

"Now I have more time for my family and me. A huge benefit is that I'm not addicted to liking, sharing, commenting, or describing my life to other people. Now I have more privacy."

However, Mr Olejniczak, who lives in the Polish city of Lodz, admits that initially the switch was challenging. "Before I'd be checking everything, such as buses and restaurants, on my smartphone [when travelling]. Now that is impossible, so I have learned to do all those things beforehand at home. I got used to it."

One maker of dumbphones is New York company Light Phone. Slightly more clever that the norm for such products, its handsets do allow users to listen to music and podcasts, and link by Bluetooth to headphones. Yet the firm pledges that its phones "will never have social media, clickbait news, email, an internet browser, or any other anxiety-inducing infinite feed".

The company says it recorded its strongest year for financial performance in 2021, with sales up 150% compared with 2020. This is despite its handsets being expensive for dumbphones - prices start at $99 (£75).

Light Phone co-founder, Kaiwei Tang, says the device was initially created to use as a secondary phone for people wanting to take a break from their smartphone for a weekend for example, but now half the firm's customers use it as their primary device.

"If aliens came to earth they'd think that mobile phones are the superior species controlling human beings," he says. "And it's not going to stop, it's only going to get worse. Consumers are realising that something is wrong, and we want to offer an alternative."

Mr Tang adds that, surprisingly, the firm's main customers are aged between 25 and 35. He says he was expecting buyers to be much older.

Tech expert, Prof Sandra Wachter, a senior research fellow in artificial intelligence at Oxford University, says it is understandable that some of us are looking for simpler mobile phones.

"One can reasonably say that nowadays a smart phone's ability to connect calls and send short messages is almost a side feature," she explains. "Your smart phone is your entertainment centre, your news generator, your navigation system, your diary, your dictionary, and your wallet."

She adds that smartphones always "want to grab your attention" with notifications, updates, and breaking news constantly disrupting your day. "This can keep you on edge, might even be agitating. It can be overwhelming."

Prof Wachter adds: "It makes sense that some of us are now looking for simpler technologies and think that dumbphones might offer a return to simpler times. It might leave more time to fully concentrate on a single task and engage with it more purposefully. It might even calm people down. Studies have shown that too much choice can create unhappiness and agitation."

Yet back in London, Robin West says that many people are bewildered by her choice of mobile. "Everyone thinks it's just a temporary thing. They're like: 'So when are you getting a smartphone? Are you getting one this week?'."
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BBC News, Suzanne Bearne, 21 Mar 2022

Hundreds of objections to plans for 20m 'super-mast' in Clarkston 'thrown out'
United Kingdom Created: 4 Apr 2022
Residents concerns that the new telecomms site will tower over surrounding homes and create an 'industrialised look and feel' to the area have been dismissed by the council.

Hundreds of people have had their objections to plans to erect a 'super' telephone mast in Clarkston 'thrown out'.

The 20-metre high telecommunications pole is set to be positioned on Mearns Road - despite 328 locals signing a petition opposing plans and 50 objections being sent to the local authority.

Residents are worried that the new telecomms site, they describe as a super-mast, will tower over surrounding homes and create an 'industrialised look and feel' to the area.

A petition set up to oppose the plans reads: "The mast itself will be extremely unsightly, with exposed antenna and appliances protruding from the top of the tower.

"Two telecommunication masts have already been erected within a 30-metre radius of this recent application in the last several years, however, these are both much smaller than this new proposal, which will be two and a half times the height of a street lamp.

"This will tower over surrounding homes and further create an industrialised look and feel to this area, which is an important pocket of green space for the surrounding area and local children. Trees at the proposed site may need chopped back to accommodate this mast too. The application also proposes several equipment cabinets, which will almost completely obstruct the narrow pathway here."

One objector wrote: "I walk my dog to this green area regularly and enjoy watching the many birds that visit there. This will affect local wildlife if trees have to be cut back. It doesn't seem fair that we have to live with this towering monstrosity when we already house masts in this particular area.

"It will be placed next to a busy junction, on a main road, on a route that is used frequently by children walking to school. I understand that we need masts but is this really the best option for the residents of Clarkston or just the easiest option for the council."

Locals have described the proposed as a "monstrosity" and a "huge eyesore".

Another commenter said it would "affect the visual character of the area" and that "local residents are being unduly affected".

East Renfrewshire Council has said that the objections were considered when looking at the location for the mast.

A spokesperson said: “In line with the legislative planning framework, planning permission is not required for most mobile phone masts up to a height of 30 metres.

"A prior notification application does need to be submitted to the planning authority though, to allow the location and design of the proposals to be considered. A previous application by this provider was withdrawn given concerns raised about its position.

"This revised location on Mearns Road is considered acceptable and all representations received were considered as part of the assessment. Given the proposed structure is 20 metres in height, the guidance provided outlines that masts of this size should generally be acceptable.”
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Source: Glasgow Live, Holly Lennon, 28 Mar 2022

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