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|United Kingdom||Created: 10 Jul 2005|
Go online to check how masts affect you
A city MP has urged council chiefs to consider adopting a pioneering scheme which monitors the emissions being pumped from phone masts near homes
The initiative, one of the first of its kind in the country, involves a device, known as a Cassiopeia, which will measure the electromagnetic field (EMF) in
parts of the city affected by phone masts.
Results from the Cassiopeia, which is installed by Vodafone, will be displayed in a graph on the council's website.
Families worried about the health effects of masts can check the website to see if they are within health and safety guidelines.
Dr Ian Gibson, MP for Norwich North, said he supported the scheme, which has been launched in Cambridge, and called on Norwich City Council to take
part in a similar scheme.
Sounds to me like it (the council) recognises the needs of people who are suspicious of masts and who will become suspicious of them in the future,
â€œThe more data we get the more informed we will become. If there's nothing to hide lets have it, let's be having them.â€?
Although the monitoring scheme was to be carried out by Vodafone Dr Gibson said it would be better than nothing.
â€œIt's a step in the right direction,â€? he said. â€œWe have no other regulator prepared to do it at the moment so we should be grateful for this small mercy.â€?
The Evening News has campaigned against the installation of mobile phone masts near to homes and schools until it is proved they are safe through our Put Masts on Hold campaign.
Hereward Cooke, deputy leader of Norwich City Council, said the council would be supportive of any initiative which would help allay fears about mobile phone masts.
We could certainly ask our communications department to see what lead Cambridge have taken and whether it could be adapted for Norwich's use,? he said.
Thatt will need the co-operation of all the mobile operators for it to be really effective. It will mean that each mast will need have to be well defined so it's known which area it covers.
Mr Cooke said implementing such a scheme in the city would have a number of advantages.
That could help us to set people's minds at rest as to whether they were in a danger area or not,? he said.
Thatt would also fall in line with our wish to share as much technical information as possible and thus try and remove the anxieties that people might feel.?
Graham Barker, 67, from Lloyd Road, Taverham, lives near to a controversial replacement mast on Fakenham Road.
He said he would be favour of the scheme being adopted by councils in the area.
It's a small step in the right direction, a lot of people are concerned about the output from these masts,? he said.
But it would be much better on an independent basis - it's like the phone company policing itself.?
Dr Rob Matthews, from Vodafone who is leading the project in Cambridge, said: Vodafone's sister companies in Greece and Italy have carried out this type
of 24-hour monitoring so we know how well it can work.
But now, thanks to the council, for the first time in this country, residents will able to check EMF levels in their own locality.
PETER WALSH. 31 August 2005 13:46 Norwich Evening News
Mast families renew calls for research
Families who claim their street has higher than average rates of cancer because of a mobile phone mast looming over their homes today renewed calls for
proper research into health risks from the technology.
Three years ago the Evening News reported how at least six people living in the shadow of a mobile phone mast had developed cancer.
The victims' homes in Furze Road, Thorpe St Andrew were several hundred metres away from the 120ft mast in St Williams Way, and they had all
developed tumours in the previous six years.
Out of the six people featured in our story two have died from the disease and the others called for more research to be carried out into a possible link
between their illnesses and radiation emissions from the antenna.
Three years down the line and families are once again urging more work to be done.
In 2002 Norwich North MP Ian Gibson added his voice to the calls for more research, but today he said that without any more cases, any further
research into the links would be unlikely.
He said: There has been no new research done but there have been no new cases that we know of.
As the people concerned were all suffering from different types of cancer, it would make it hard to link them all to living near to the mast.?
Ivan Bond, 77, of nearby Churchfield Green, was one of the people who called for research three years ago.
He has lived only feet away from the 120ft structure since 1987.
When his wife Olive died shortly after the Evening News investigation three years ago,
there were concerns that her death could have been linked to the mast, but they were never investigated.
More research definitely needs to be done,? he said today.
I know Mr Gibson said it needs more new cases, but these masts are going up all the over the country.
I think research should be done anyway, and it's very frustrating that it hasn't.
The Evening News's Keep Masts On Hold campaign has called for no more masts to be put up near homes or schools until proper research into the
health risks is completed.
In 2001 Norwich families quizzed one of the world's leading experts on the risks of mobile phone masts Sir William Stewart after he was invited to the city.
The Stewart report published in May 2000 recommended planners take into account the possibility of risks to health when allowing new masts to go up.
The mast is owned by Arqiva, formerly NTL, and leased to mobile phone companies.
Arqiva did not wish to comment yesterday (fri).
Three of the four surviving victims were Betty Chaplin and Vera and Leonard Lamb. The fourth did not want to be identified but is still alive.
DAVID BALE Norwich Evening News 24. 13 August 2005
Dr Ian Gibson campaigning to help on planning
Top-level talks hope for mast protesters
Anti-phone campaigners could be in line for a much-needed boost after a Norwich MP met the Government Minister responsible for masts.
Concerned families throughout Norfolk could find themselves given more of a voice in the future siting of controversial mast applications - if the meeting between Dr Ian Gibson, Norwich North MP, and Housing and Planning Minister Yvette Cooper is anything to go by.
“We're determined to get a new planning law on these masts,” said Dr Gibson, a long time supporter of the Evening News's Put Masts on Hold campaign.
“She seemed very sympathetic to the argument that we need to look at the masts we see and the masts we don't see and that people know all the choices and they play a part in making the choice where it should be.”
The Evening News has called for a halt on the siting of mobile phone masts near homes and schools until it is proved they are safe.
After the meeting in London, which was also attended by a member of the pressure group Mast Action, Dr Gibson said he was told Ms Cooper had agreed to consider a number of issues surrounding masts - including health.
“We made the argument that health had to be considered in any new planning application because now there's inconsistencies and some do and some don't,” he said.
“She said they will have to do something in wake of the Harrogate judgement.”
In November 2004 campaigners were dealt a legal blow after three appeal judges threw out a test case over a decision to allow a mobile phone mast to be installed near three schools.
In June of that year three giant mobile phone firms won a High Court battle for the right to put up the 25 metre mast in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
This was despite health concerns and opposition from Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
At the Court of Appeal in London Lord Justice Pill Lord Justice Mummery and Lord Justice Laws rejected an appeal against Sir Richard Tucker's ruling.
Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Laws said that it was “only in exceptional circumstances” that the planning process should consider perceived health concerns.
Graham Barker, a campaigner who lives on Lloyd Road, Taverham, near a controversial replacement Vodafone mast on Fakenham Road, said he welcomed Ms Cooper's position.
“I hope she's serious and I hope she's not just paying lip service to the protest groups,” he said.
“Anything that can tighten all the regulations and address the health concerns I would welcome absolutely, especially near schools.
There should be far more consultation with the local community.”
A spokesman for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) said: “The Government is aware of public concern about mobile phone masts that are built near schools.
“That is why our planning policy guidance requires that where a base station site is on or near a school, the school must be consulted by both the operator and the local authority.
“The Government is currently reviewing the planning arrangements surrounding telecommunication masts.”
• Are you fighting to stop a mobile phone mast being put up near you? Telephone Evening News reporter Peter Walsh on (01603) 772439 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
02 July 2005 11:00 Norwich Evening News
Joy for families as mast bid rejected
Families have won their battle to have plans for a mobile phone mast near their homes scrapped.
Proposals to put up a 15-metre mast in Colman Road, Norwich, have been thrown out by planning officers.
More than 500 residents signed up to a campaign against the mast, which was planned by mobile phone giant O2.
Roy Blower, who helped orchestrate the campaign, welcomed the planners' decision.
He said: "I'm pleased that the public have galvanised and we have got a result
"Bearing in mind the amount of opposition there was against this application I'm not surprised at the decision.
"It's good for local families because they did not want the mast here."
Norwich City Council's planning department confirmed the application by O2 had been given delegated refusal, meaning it did not even get to
the stage of going before councillors for approval.
The city council was not able to divulge why the plans had been rejected.
Mr Blower said: "Our main objection was over the potential visual impact of the mast.
"It was going to be about 50ft high — which is about double the size of a house.
"The community was angry about this because three years ago we had to fight against a similar mast at a site just 50 yards from the new one
and that was rejected.
"It would have been a blot on the landscape and we are trying to improve the environment not make it worse."
The site chosen by O2 was a small-planted area near the Moss Pharmacy in Colman Road.
A spokeswoman for O2 said: "We are very disappointed with the decision because this mast would have formed a key part of our network.
"We still need a cell site in the area and we will be making the decision to look elsewhere."
She said because of increased usage of mobile phones more masts had to be put up to help keep up required coverage.
In December 2002 telecommunications company Hutchinson 3G submitted plans to the city council to put up a 13-metre mast next to the
Colman Road Area Housing Office car park.
A petition was raised against the application on the grounds it would have a negative impact of the surroundings, the proposals were
thrown out soon after.
The Evening News has long campaigned for no more mobile phone masts to be sited near homes and schools until research proves they are safe.
Are you trying to stop a mobile phone mast being built near you? Telephone Evening News reporter Peter Walsh on (01603) 772439 or e-mail email@example.com
Norwich Evening News
14 June 2005
MP welcomes phone mast health risk study
A Norwich MP is demanding tighter regulations for the siting of mobile phone masts after new research claimed people living close to them are exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.
Norwich North MP and cancer expert Ian Gibson today welcomed the latest study by Dr Gerd Oberfeld, an Austrian environmental medicine expert from Salzburg.
It found that radiation levels increased dramatically when people were in rooms close to mobile phone masts.
The study was carried out among 12 volunteers, aged 20 to 78.
It recorded brain waves using an electroencephalogram and when the volunteers were unknowingly exposed to mobile phone masts the levels of radiation increased from 26 microwatts to 3,327 microwatts.
The study found this had a dangerous effect on brainwaves and severely damaged health.
Dr Gibson, who has supported the Evening News's campaign to stop siting masts near schools and homes until it is conclusively proved they are safe, said today: "This is dramatic news. We will need to repeat it with a bigger number of individuals. But I do not find it surprising. The net is closing in on this industry which claims complete safety. I am sure the public will welcome this news and will increase the demands for government intervention on the siting of these masts."
He said he wanted the Government to take notice of the study by Sir William Stewart, which expressed the need to adopt a precautionary principle with regards to the siting.
"In two weeks time I will be meeting Yvette Cooper, the minister with responsibility for this industry and I will be urging her to give a public response to this research," Dr Gibson said.
"The Government has got to give the planning authorities the authority to ban these masts on health grounds," he added.
Karen Barratt, spokeswoman for Mast Sanity, the campaign group for more sensitive siting of phone masts, said: "There are many studies like this which indicate people do suffer ill effects when they are living near phone masts.
"The industry and the Government keep pretending that the evidence is anecdotal or people are suffering psychosomatic effects but nothing could be further from the truth. We have lots of evidence of people suffering ill effects when they don't even know there is a mobile phone mast in the area."
She said there was evidence of cancer clusters around mobile phone masts and the Government was ignoring the matter.
"At the moment there is total planning chaos. The mast phone operators can put them up where they like and local authorities are being bullied into submission to put them up in sensitive areas near to school's and people's homes."
Meanwhile, families in North Walsham are trying to bring legal action against mobile phone operator O2 over the siting of a mast on top of the police station in Yarmouth Road, which they say has caused people's health to deteriorate.
The Put Masts on Hold campaign was launched by the Evening News in December 2000 to stop the installation of mobile phone masts close to homes and schools until their safety was proved.
In September 2003 the Evening News published a map showing the location of every mast in Norwich.
The mobile phone industry has dismissed the findings of the latest study, saying an independent body did not certify the experiment.
Just seen this in the Evening Standard newspaper
Norwich Evening News. 31 May 2005
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