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Mother-of-three slams 'shocking' O2 & Vodafone school mast plans
United Kingdom Created: 19 Nov 2010
A Bushey mother-of-three has slammed “irresponsible” and “shocking” plans to place a mobile phone mast near a school and nursery.

Mobile operators 02 and Vodafone have made joint enquiries to Hertsmere Borough Council about installing an 11.8-metre mast, at the joining of Melbourne Road and Palmer Avenue, and a formal application is due to be entered early next week.

However, 40-year-old Kathryn Nickolai labelled the site choice “disgusting” as it sits only a few hundred metres from Little Reddings Primary School and Nursery, in Harcourt Road.

Although a government report published in 2000 failed to find any health risks with mobile phone mast radiation, it recommended children under-16 use their mobile phones sparingly as a precaution.

Mrs Nickolai said: “I'm very worried about the health risks. I will have to move out – it may sound extreme but I am not willing to be treated like a guinea pig and I am not prepared to treat my children like guinea pigs.”

The part-time exam invigilator also claims the proposed location will devalue property prices on the residential road which is “densely populated with families”.

Jim Stephenson, head of communications at O2, defended the application stating there is no known health risks to children or adults living near a mobile phone mast.

He said: “We have finished our consultation with residents and there were a few objections but this is not something the council can take any notice of as they need to look at the application objectively.

“We have seen no evidence mobile phone masts devalue property prices and it was not something we considered when looking at this location. As far as we're concerned this is the best location in the area.”

Planning legislation for mobile phone masts means applications may be approved by council officers without being formally assessed by a council planning committee.

Bushey estate agent Mike Cole estimated that, due to the negative press associated with phone masts, a seller would have to drop the asking price of a £300,000 property by about £15,000 to attract the expected level of interest.

Mrs Nickolai also claims she was not consulted by the mobile operator about the plans, despite living only six doors away from the proposed location.

She said: “All they did was stick a poster up on a lamppost about it. It feels under-handed to me.

“It is disgusting and shocking that they are so blasé. I have spoken to about ten of my neighbours and we all feel the same - if it goes ahead we will get a petition. I just hope our voices will be heard – it will have a huge impact on our lives.”
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Source: Watford Observer, Chris Hewett, 16 Nov 2010

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