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Phone mast petition by Councillor on Health grounds gains weight in Scottish Parliament
Scotland Created: 7 Jun 2012
A PETITION lodged by a Rutherglen councillor and two former councillors on the health issues of mobile phone masts has gained weight with the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee.

The committee has expressed concern about the lack of an up-to-date database of the location of mobile phone masts across the country.

The committee were considering the local petition calling for review of the way planning applications for mobile phone masts are handled.

The petition is sponsored by former Liberal Democrat councillors Eileen Baxendale and David Baillie, current Rutherglen South councillor Robert Brown and retired neurophysiologist Dr. Keith Baxendale, and was examined further by the committee last Tuesday.

The petition was lodged following concerns about the limited powers of the local planning committees over the siting of phone masts in a number of contentious applications in Rutherglen and Cambuslang – especially with regards to health issues.

It follows after many Rutherglen and Cambuslang residents expressed concerns about the number of phone mast applications for the area. However, despite considerable research, no clear evidence has emerged that cellular phone masts pose a risk to human health.

The latest local mast application is in Cambuslang at Calderwood Road, near a baby creche.

The Committee had received the views of the Mobile Operators’ Association and the Scottish Government on the matter together with further comments by Robert Brown.

The Petitions Committee agreed to raise the issue of the database deficiencies and the state of the current research with the Scottish Government.

Dr Keith Baxendale said: “I'm delighted that the Petitions Committee have taken our concerns on board.”

Eileen Baxendale said: “When we attended the Petitions Committee we were impressed by the interest shown by the MSPs. This is an issue that concerns many people in Scotland. If there a risk to our children's health, it must be investigated.”

Councillor Robert Brown said: “The trouble is no-one really knows yet if there is a risk to health but we do know that scientific advice warns against long intensive use of mobile phones, especially by children.

“All this calls for a precautionary approach, particularly when phone masts are suggested to be sited near schools.

“A number of other countries - New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Italy and parts of the United State – have banned phone masts near schools. Presumably they thought it was the right thing to do.

“I am glad we are pursuing this matter following the experiences of local objectors in Rutherglen and Cambuslang.”
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Source: Rutherglen Reformer, Will Henshaw, 06 Jun 2012

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