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|United Kingdom||Created: 10 Jul 2005|
PARENTS' BATTLE TO BLOCK PHONE MAST BID
Parents have vowed to fight plans to put a mobile phone mast within 100 metres of a children's playing field.
O2 Ltd wants to install the mast outside Birchwood Shopping Centre, in Lincoln.
The plan means the mast would be within 100 metres of Birchwood Junior School, in Larchwood Crescent.
There is already a T Mobile mast at the back of Birchwood Shopping Centre and an Orange one at the opposite end of Birchwood Avenue,
near its junction with Pershore Way.
But parents of Birchwood Junior School pupils say this latest mast is too close for comfort.
The planned mast is also close to a clutch of other schools, including Leslie Manser in Kingsdown Road, the Lancaster School and the
Papermoon Day Nursery, both in Jasmin Road.
The Government says there are no proven health risks.
But parents say they fear that radiation emitted by such masts could lead to infertility or diseases like cancer.
Mum Sam Wakefield (39), of Caistor Road, has Daisy (nine) at Birchwood Junior and Emily (six) at the Lancaster.
"I just don't see the need for it," she said. "Why situate something like that there when you have got so many schools around?"
Her neighbour Angela Fleming agrees.
Mrs Fleming has Lauryn (six) at the Lancaster and Daniel (eight) at Birchwood Junior.
"I wouldn't want any more being put in when there are schools in the area. All you hear about is the health risks," she said.
Birchwood Junior headteacher Carol Smith was due to meet governors to discuss the plans last night "The safety of our children is our primary
concern," she said.
O2 originally applied to install the mast in October 2004. But Lincoln city councillors asked the company to look into the possibility of combining the mast
with existing ones in the area.
O2 now says those masts would have to be made unreasonably tall to accommodate it.
It has submitted another plan to the city council to put the mast on the grass verge at the shopping centre.
O2 says its plans are in line with guidelines issued by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) -
a body of independent scientific experts.
"O2 is committed to ensuring all new installations are ICNIRP compliant and on this basis there is no basis for this application to be refused on
health and safety grounds," the application says.
O2 community liaison officer Jim Stevenson added: "It is a very low-level radio transmitter and receiver.
There should be no health and safety fears over the emissions."
The application is the latest in a string of mast plans to cause controversy.
These include a row about a placing a mast on St Giles Church, in Lamb Gardens, Lincoln, and worries about extending a mast on the maternity
unit at Lincoln County Hospital.
Lincolnshire Echo. 14 July 2005
FEARS ON LINE OVER MAST PLAN
Residents are in uproar over a site for a proposed mobile phone mast - on a grass verge.
Vodafone is consulting with the public as it tries to find a suitable site in Humberston's North Sea Lane for a base station to provide 3G coverage
for mobile users. It will then decide whether or not to make a formal planning submission to North East Lincolnshire Council.
A grass verge at the junction of Carrington Drive and North Sea Lane has been earmarked for the 8m-high telegraph-style pole, with three antennae at the top.
But a petition has been signed by more than 100 people and posted to Mono, the consultants for Vodafone.
Father-of-four Michael Swift (47) has lived on North Sea Lane for five years, just metres away from the site.
He said: "The Government still hasn't done all the research into the effects of mobile phone masts.
"I would have safety concerns for my children and grandchild. It's also an eyesore and would lower the value of properties."
Vodafone says an existing tree there "will provide some screening of the installation from the residential properties to the south." and states in letters to
nearby residents it "will not look out of character" with the rest of the telegraph poles and street lamps lining North Sea Lane.
Miles Davis (32) is another who lives within 20m of the proposed mast site. He has written letters of objection to the consultants and the council's
"It's rather silly of them to put it so close to the houses when the health effects are unproved and it's an unsolved issue," he said.
"The tree will not prevent it being clearly visible."
His mother Wynette (67) added: "I couldn't believe it when we got the letter. Nobody round here wants it to happen."
Patricia Barrs prepared the petition to record her own and many others' dismay.
12:30 - 09 July 2005
PARENTS CALLING FOR A BAN ON PHONE MASTS
Mobile phone mast campaigners say they have been vindicated by an Australian ruling that masts should not be next to schools.
The Australian government has followed New Zealand, Italy, Sweden, Luxembourg and Salzburg in banning masts near schools, child care centres,
hospitals and nurseries.
Bishop King Primary School in Kingsway, Lincoln, has a mast just metres away from its building, and the parents and teachers have been campaigning
Headmaster David Tinsley said: "I think this just shows that other governments accept that there may be a risk with these masts, although sadly ours
appears not to.
"The point is that nobody knows whether there is a risk or not.
"They may be perfectly safe, but on the other hand they may not, and if theyare not then children are the most vulnerable to ill effects.
"We are baffled by this Government's attitude when its own reports have suggested that a precautionary approach should be adopted, and yet nothing is
put into practice."
His frustration was echoed by parent Andrew Gill, who is a member of the phone mast committee.
"We would just like to see the Government and the council taking some responsibility for this," he said.
"At the moment all the council has to consider is how it looks, not whether it will affect the health of children.
"The Government's advice in the Stewart report is quite clear, yet nothing is done."
The mast is situated on top of the fire station in South Park, next door to Bishop King School.
It is even closer to the half-built new special school, which is scheduled to open next Easter.
"We don't want the next generation to be picking up the pieces if something does turn out to be wrong with these things," said Mr Gill, who lives in Kingsway.
Green MEP Caroline Jackson is pressuring the Government to follow Australia's lead and ban mobile phone masts next to schools.
"Without it, the result has been fear and uncertainty as mobile phone masts have sprung up - often requiring no planning permission or even advance warning - on schools, hospitals and in densely populated areas," she said.
However, mobile phone operators insist there is no scientific basis for a ban on masts near schools.
A spokeswoman for the Mobile Operators' Association said: "Since 2000, Ofcom has undertaken more than 360 random audits of base stations near schools and hospitals.
"The measurements from these audits show that emissions levels from base stations are typically small fractions of the international health and safety exposure guidelines."
She said parents should be comforted by a National Radiological Protection Board report in January, which said measurements showed there was no scientific basis for establishing minimal distances between base stations and areas of public occupancy.
Write to Your View at the Lincolnshire Echo, Brayford Wharf East,
Lincoln, LN5 7AT. Lincolnshire Echo. - 30 May 2005
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