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Three 5G mast rejected as council says plans would harm regeneration
United Kingdom Created: 5 Jun 2020
Plans for a 20 metre tall 5G mast in Merseyside have been rejected over fears it would harm a local regeneration effort.

The mast, which would have been built just off Conway Street in Birkenhead, Wirral, was said to be "unsightly" and "detrimental" to the character of the local area due to its scale by Wirral Council.

The local authority was also concerned the mast would harm huge plans to regenerate Birkenhead, due to its size and “prominent location” within the regeneration site.

5G has been a controversial topic of late, with campaigners who oppose the technology promoting conspiracy theories linking it to coronavirus without any evidence.

Earlier this week a 5G mast in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, was destroyed in a fire and a video showing another 5G mast on fire in the city was shared on social media last month. Plans for a 20 metre tall 5G mast in Merseyside have been rejected over fears it would harm a local regeneration effort.

The mast, which would have been built just off Conway Street in Birkenhead, Wirral, was said to be "unsightly" and "detrimental" to the character of the local area due to its scale by Wirral Council.

The local authority was also concerned the mast would harm huge plans to regenerate Birkenhead, due to its size and “prominent location” within the regeneration site.

5G has been a controversial topic of late, with campaigners who oppose the technology promoting conspiracy theories linking it to coronavirus without any evidence.

Earlier this week a 5G mast in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, was destroyed in a fire and a video showing another 5G mast on fire in the city was shared on social media last month.

Shortly before that incident, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson blasted 5G conspiracy theories as “bizarre” and added: "How can anyone contemplate relating putting a 5G mast up in Liverpool causes coronavirus?

“The very idea that Covid-19 was created by 5G is patently nonsense.”

Scientists and other officials, including the World Health Organisation have debunked the 5G Covid-19 theory, stating it is not possible for the virus to be transmitted by electomagnetic radiation.

Three, the company behind this plan, said the new mast in Birkenhead was needed to deliver an “essential” improvement in 5G connectivity in the area.

Explaining the choice of location, Three’s planning documents stated: “Mobile phone base stations operate on a low power and accordingly base stations therefore need to be located in the areas they are required to serve.

“Increasingly, people are also using their mobiles in their homes and this means we need to position base stations in, or close to, residential areas.”

The document also stated that while the planned height of the mast was 20 metres, this has been “kept down to the absolute minimum capable of providing the required essential new 5G coverage”.

It was not possible to simply upgrade an existing mast site to accommodate the 5G mast, because higher radio frequencies used for 5G do not travel as far as those frequencies currently in use and sometimes existing sites do not have the capacity to be upgraded.

To deliver the higher frequency Three said there was an “acute need” for a new mast.

The proposal was rejected for reasons of appearance.

On this, Three’s document said: “The proposed works on this existing site would qualify as a visual change to the area, but are necessary to ensure improved delivery of service [and] would respect and continue to maintain the appearance of the area.”

Three insisted that the plan “would not result in demonstrable harm to the character of the immediate or wider area”.

But Wirral Council disagreed.

The local authority’s letter of rejection, read: “The proposed mast and associated equipment will appear as unsightly features in a prominent location and would therefore, by reason of its scale and siting, have a detrimental and adverse impact upon the character and appearance of the surrounding area.”

The plan’s potential impact on efforts to regenerate Birkenhead was also given as a reason for rejection by the council.

Wirral Council’s letter added: “The proposed mast would be an unsightly feature within an extremely prominent location at the heart of the Birkenhead Town Centre regeneration site, and this would undermine the significantly advanced regeneration plans for this area.”

A spokesperson for Three said: “ 5G rollout is vital for residents and business of Wirral. We want to offer the local area a great network experience and our planners determined that a new site was required to deliver it. We will work with the council to find a way forwards.”
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Source: Liverpool Echo, George Morgan, 29 May 2020

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