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Phone mast rent squeeze
Scotland Created: 17 Nov 2011
SCOTTISH LANDOWNERS leasing out sites for mobile phone masts face a struggle to maintain the rents they currently charge, according to land agents, Bell Ingram.

New alliances between phone companies, plus the ongoing economic downturn, was leading to downward pressure on phone mast rents across Scotland, said the firm’s Julian Clarke.

Mr Clarke reported numerous cases where major phone operators have claimed that, because they were now sharing phone mast sites with rival companies, their existing sites would be made redundant – and masts would be removed altogether unless rents were dropped.

“Sometimes they are offering to pay between 20 to 30% less than their previously agreed levels and say they’ll just remove the masts altogether if landowners don’t agree to the new rents,” said Mr Clarke.

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Source: The Scottish Farmer, Gordon Davidson, 17 Nov 2011

Neighbours force phone firm to call off mast job
Scotland Created: 6 Jul 2011
MORNINGSIDE residents have brought work on a mobile phone mast to a halt by blocking construction traffic from driving over their land.

Greenbank Village householders awoke to find massive steel tracks being laid over communal garden land running into a nearby field, where a "temporary" 50ft mast is set to be erected.

When contractors yesterday attemped to take materials over the 300ft steel path, they were thwarted by a group who are angry that they had not been informed about either the installation of the mast or the use of their land.

The residents initially blocked the path of the trucks with furniture before contractors agreed to halt work.

The land off Rattray Grove, on which the mast is being sited, is owned by a third party. However, the route contractors need to use to gain access to it belongs to local residents.

James Duncan, 72, a retired off-shore oil engineer, said: "In my view this is a significant lack of consideration for the people who live here. This is land owned by the residents and we should have been told what is happening here, and would have had to give their permission to lay all these steel tracks down on our flowerbeds."

Vivianne McCann, 71, a retired dental receptionist, added: "The metal planks that have been laid everywhere are ruining the grass and flowers on our land.

"We were guaranteed that this land wouldn't see any development when we bought our houses. This looks like development to me."

Greenbank Village has been built on the site of the former City Hospital, and its red brick pavillions are now part of the housing development. The mast planned by Orange, which will have a 20-metre cage around it, is believed to be on the site of a former cricket ground.

Jane Ulke, 52, a marketing and public affairs consultant, said: "There is a lot of history that goes with this area, the people who attended the hospital, were treated here, played cricket here.

There should have been more consideration before someone decided to build a mobile phone mast here.

"We're not just being nimbys, this track is crushing the grass and flowers on our property, without permission, and then further afield, on the land we don't own, it's ruining this popular green where people walk their dogs and children play."

Lee Anstey of contractors Clarke Communications, which has been brought in to install the mast for Orange and was on the site yesterday, said: "From what we've been told, Orange have planning permission to establish the mast, but they may have forgotten to ask permission from the local residents to get to the site, but that is still being determined.

"We've stopped work for now while they check it out and we do appreciate where the people here are coming from."

An Orange spokeswoman said the firm always ensured that all necessary planning consent was in place.

"The mast was a temporary measure designed to ensure that our customers continued to receive the best network coverage possible, whilst we looked for a more permanent place to position the mast.

"We are aware of the incident that took place today in Rattray Grove and we are conducting our own investigation into this."
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Source: Scotsman, RORY REYNOLDS, 06 Jul 2011

Celebrity backing for battle to block mast plan
Scotland Created: 22 Mar 2011
IT has been the setting for many a middle-class revolt over the years but the latest row engulfing Glasgow’s west end is no laughing matter for two of the country’s leading comedy professionals.

The latest G12 community backlash has been prompted by plans to erect a mobile phone mast on a B-listed church spire, with the campaign spearheaded by Rab C Nesbitt creator Ian Pattison and controversial comic Frankie Boyle.

Mobile phone giant Vodafone wants to erect the 20ft-high mast at St Bride’s Church in Hyndland Road, with the proposal expected to go before the city council’s planning committee if more than three objections are submitted.

Opponents have been mobilising and have been given added impetus with the involvement of two powerhouses of the Scottish cultural scene.

Concerns range from the grey area over the impact on health through to the heritage impact on one of Scotland’s best-known conservation areas.

Ironically, the last series of Rab C Nesbitt featured a prescient storyline in which a phone company entered into a deal with a church to have a mast erected on its spire and the church changing its name to St Vodafone’s.

But St Bride’s, like most other places of Christian worship, is suffering from dwindling congregations and will receive a much-needed cash injection over 10 years from the Vodafone deal.

Ian Pattison said: “The local community is really worried about this. The mobile phone companies say there is no proven health scare but what does that mean?

“Just two years ago it was reported that seven clusters of cancer and other serious illnesses were discovered around mobile phone masts.

“Studies of the sites showed high incidences of cancer, brain haemorrhages and high blood pressure. One of the studies, in Warwickshire, showed a cluster of 31 cancers around a single street. Is this something we wish to see replicated in Glasgow’s west end?

“The church is in agreement with this installation but you have to consider St Bride’s are receiving a substantial payment for this. And of the congregation of around 140-150 in total, only around 40-50 turn up each week. Most do not live in the immediate neighbourhood.”

Campaigners against the mast have raised the proximity of a children’s nursery, a GP’s practice and communal gardens 20 yards from the church, while Vodafone has been accused of arranging public meetings at times of the day when there will be a low turn-out.

Jim Meldrum, who lives in nearby Kingsborough Gardens, said the plans were undermining investment by the community in improving the heritage appeal of the Hyndland area.

He said: “We’ve helped raise £60,000 for replicas of the original lighting in the area and are looking at restoring the railings lost during the Second World War at a cost of £140,000 but this just undermines all we’re doing.”

A Vodafone spokesman said: “The Hyndland area of Glasgow is predominantly residential in nature and we believe that the chosen location at St Bride’s Church is the most preferable option. The proposal is to place a replica flag pole on the roof of the church tower whilst the ancillary equipment will be housed inside the church. Given that the surrounding area is characterised by a number of substantial residential properties it was felt that a replica flag pole would be the most sensitive design option we could use.”

He added that the company took health concerns seriously and that exposure to radio frequency fields was “typically hundreds to thousands of times lower than the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines”.

Glasgow’s west end remains one of the few inner city areas in the UK outside London with a “campaign culture”, where celebrities have lent their support.

Hollywood star Robert Carlyle and Still Game stars Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill rallied against plans for a nightclub in the city’s Botanic Gardens, while Franz Ferdinand and Belle And Sebastian championed the cause of the near-derelict Kelvingrove bandstand.
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Source: Herald Scotland, Brian Beacom and Gerry Braiden, 22 Mar 2011

Anger at phone mast project near Forthill Primary School
Scotland Created: 18 Mar 2011
Dundee councillors are being urged by their own officials to approve the siting of a phone mast near a primary school — despite dozens of objections from worried parents and residents.

The planning application by Vodafone and O2 for a 60ft mast on the edge of the grounds of Forthill Sports Club in Broughty Ferry, will be considered at a meeting of the city council's development management committee next week.

The site chosen is near Forthill Primary and parents have already voiced concerns about the potential health effects on pupils.

They have reiterated those fears in many of the 46 letters of objection received by the council, along with protests over the design of the mast and its potential impact on the nearby Forthill conservation area and on property prices.

But a report by officials states none of the objections is supported and the application, meant to improve the companies' 3G coverage in the area, meets the requirements of the city's development plan.

Vodafone and O2 looked at other potential sites, but rejected them for various reasons. They want the mast built as a replica telephone pole near a group of mature trees.

Council officials say this means it will not have an adverse impact on neighbouring properties and add, "The operator has identified a location that is away from as many sensitive viewpoints as possible. It is considered that the operator has demonstrated the difficulties of locating a telecommunications mast in this area and has justified the site selection and mast design process."

The companies have also lodged a certificate showing the mast will comply with guidelines on exposure to radio frequency radiation.

The report says, "The proposed development shall not pose a significant threat to the health of neighbouring residents, children attending Forthill Primary or members of Forthill Sports Club."

The councillors must now decide whether or not to allow the mast, though if they refuse permission, the companies have the right of appeal to the Scottish Government.

A deputation representing some of the objectors hopes to speak at the meeting. Doreen Phillips, one of the objectors, said, "I would say we are outraged this has been recommended for approval.

"That radiation is produced from mobile phone masts is not in doubt, it is the level of radiation that's safe which is debatable. No one knows for sure what it is: it could be years before it is known for definite.

"We say the precautionary principle should apply and these masts should not be erected near schools.

"Children are the youngest and most vulnerable in our society, from those moving up from nursery classes to age 12, and we should be looking to protect them from, not subject them to, radiation.

"These beams have been proven to penetrate walls, so goodness knows what they could do to developing skulls and cells in children.

"The worst place a mast could possibly be located is beside a primary school, as the children have to be there for hours every day, day in and out — they have no choice.

"There were other locations considered — two were acceptable to the companies (although they preferred the school site) — but no explanations have been given...why they didn't pursue those instead.

"The companies also said they considered an application to put the mast on the school grounds, but rejected it as it would be unacceptable to the community."

Ms Phillips said the mast would be closest to the playground and infants' classrooms, adding, "We also object to this 60ft monstrosity on the grounds of the visual impact, the devaluing of nearby house prices, and the fact that it is on open, public ground.

"The elected members are in their positions because we voted them there, to speak for us, the community, and for the school children. They have a duty to all of us to throw out this appalling application, and we will not forget that come next year's local government elections."

Officials have recommended refusal to another application by Vodafone and O2 for a 50ft mast in Lochee United's Thompson Park, saying the design is out of character with the area and the firms had not done enough to show they had considered alternative sites.
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Source: Scotland Courier, Grant Smith, 18 Mar 2011

Brain tumour rise predicted
Scotland Created: 3 Mar 2011
A MASSIVE increase in the number of patients suffering brain tumours is predicted in Scotland, experts have warned.

Professor Colin Blakemore, a leading neuroscientist and president of charity Brain Tumour UK, said between 2000 and 2020 the scale of the problem is predicted to grow by 25%.

This is largely to do with the aging population. He said many brain tumours currently go undiagnosed and GPs need more training and hospitals need more scanners to ensure tumours are detected earlier.

Professor Roy Rampling, professor emeritus in neuro-oncology at Glasgow University, agreed many brain tumours were currently being missed by the Scottish NHS.

He said: “We would expect between 300 and 500 new primary brain tumours each year. We have reason to believe that the actual number is considerably higher than this.”

Mr Rampling said many cases are not recorded because patients in poor condition may not be operated on, others are labelled simply as having cancer and not a primary brain tumour, while others – particularly the elderly – may be mis-diagnosed as having a stroke or dementia.

The Department of Health in England has announced more money to support the diagnosis of brain tumours and Mr Blakemore said they wanted Scotland to follow suit.

Related news:
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Sep 2008, United Kingdom: Mobile phone use 'raises children's risk of brain cancer fivefold'
May 2010, United Kingdom: Mobile phones: Is there an epidemic on hold?
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Source: Herald Scotland, Helen Puttick, 03 Mar 2011

Families start fight to halt phone mast
Scotland Created: 18 Jan 2011
Families have launched a campaign to prevent a phone mast being built next to a school.

Vodafone and O2 are hoping to build a shared mast at the site beside Bishopbriggs Academy, Dunbartonshire, to increase 3G coverage for mobile phones in the area.

However, Woodhill Residents’ Group is objecting to the proposed site because it is in a residential area and is near three schools and a nursery.

The group erected placards at the site – the junction of Wester Cleddens Road and Angus Avenue – in an attempt to highlight the issue.

Its chairman, Donald Macdonald, said: “People have real health fears about phone masts – even the Scottish Government has stated the gaps in knowledge about any harmful effects are enough to justify a precautionary approach.

“Siting this mast a few feet from the fence of a school is not a precautionary approach.”

Mr Macdonald criticised the level of consultation undertaken by Mono Consultants, the planning agent working on behalf of the network operators.

He said: “The impact of a mast reaches more than just those properties that sit directly next to it.

“Mono has undertaken as little consultation as it feels it will be able to get away with.

“It has actively decided against publicising the mast, except to 14 houses in an area with close to 3000 homes.”

The increase of smartphones – such as Apple’s iPhone – throughout the UK have created a greater demand for 3G coverage. It offers users a faster internet service.

A spokeswoman from Cornerstone, the company managing the O2 and Vodafone network share, said 3G coverage in Bishopbriggs needs to be improved.

She said: “We recognise some communities are concerned about the deployment of radio base stations close to residential areas, but without these stations, mobiles will not work.

“All our base stations are designed, built and operated in accordance with stringent international guidelines laid down by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection.

“Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live work and travel.”

East Dunbartonshire Council has a policy of not allowing phone masts to be built on any of its property, including schools.

A council spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government has confirmed there is no reason to believe proximity to telecoms masts causes any harm.

“Consequently, planning authorities may not use health concerns as a reason for refusal of applications, whether they are proposed near schools and other sensitive locations or not.”
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Source: Glasgow Evening Times, Rachel Loxton, 18 Jan 2011

Mobile phone firms renew bid for mast
Scotland Created: 29 Dec 2010
TWO mobile phone companies fighting to overturn a decision to block plans for a new mast at Fraserburgh have launched an appeal over another of their failed projects in the port.

Vodafone and O2 tabled an application with Aberdeenshire Council in March to erect a 65ft telecom tower with six antennae at Fraserburgh Car Sales in Maconochie Road.

A second proposal from the companies emerged three months later, this time for a 50ft mast with six antennae at a local authority-owned car park in Sinclair Place.

Both applications were rejected by the council.

Banff and Buchan councillors claimed the 65ft mast would have been “unattractive” and would have “detracted from the amenity” of one of the main entrances to Fraserburgh. They said the 50ft tower would have been “unsightly” and said there was an existing mast nearby which could have been shared by the companies.

The Press and Journal revealed last month that Glasgow-based Tyco Electronics, which tabled the Maconochie Road proposal on behalf of the two companies, had appealed that decision to the Scottish Government.

It has now emerged that the government is also considering an appeal related to the second plan, lodged by O2’s owner, Telefonica, which is working in partnership with Vodafone.

A Telefonica spokesman said the council failed to recognise the “significant efforts” made to “strike a balance” between the requirements of the operators, the local environment and planning policy.

Planning officials were initially positive about the Sinclair Place scheme, despite a small number of complaints from locals.

Residents raised concerns about potential health risks and said the mast would have been too close to Banff and Buchan College and Westfield School for children with special learning needs.

The Maconochie Road proposal also won backing from council officials before being stopped in its tracks by councillors.

The plans had encountered opposition from staff at the Murray Motors garage near the proposed site, which claimed the structure, if built, would have a negative impact on their business.

Decisions on both appeals are expected in the coming months.
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Source: Aberdeen Press and Journal, 27 Dec 2010

Troon residents protest against giant phone mast
Scotland Created: 12 Aug 2010
FURIOUS neighbours have turned on phone giants who want to built a huge mast in their street.

Residents in Troon’s Lochend Road say the 15-metre mast will ruin life as they know it.

And they insist phone companies Vodafone and O2 should be made to find an alternative site for their huge pole.

The mast, which will enable 3G network coverage in the area, is planned to replace the 10-metre structure which currently sits on Lochend Road.

And residents, who’ve waged a four-year fight against the original pole, say they won’t go down without a fight.

Colin McLeod, 61, insisted: “It’s quite simple – Vodafone and O2 shouldn’t be allowed to build something like this in a residential area.

“It contravenes local planning law and, in our view, the safety concerns of such a structure have always been ignored.”

Neighbour Janice Martin added: “There’s a huge grey box which sits beside the pole, which is an electrical generator.

“But there are no warning signs on it and I regularly see kids climbing on top of it to play.

“It must be so dangerous, yet they call this thing street furniture.”

Long time campaigner John McCallum has refused to let the matter lie since the original mast was installed – allegedly in the wrong place – four years ago.

And he believes the plan to increase its size by 50 per cent should be kicked into touch by authorities.

John said: “They wouldn’t put these things in school playgrounds because there would be an outcry about the danger to children.

“Yet where do children spend most of their time? Playing in the street near to these masts.”

Despite objection from South Ayrshire Council to the original mast, a re-application was pushed through, leaving residents feeling sore.

Now they’ve enlisted the support of Troon councillor Peter Convery and Ayr MSP John Scott for their latest fight.

Mr Scott said: “In my view this telecommunications mast should never have been given the go-ahead in the first place and I backed local residents all the way in their fight against it several years ago.

“O2 should take this opportunity to relocate the mast elsewhere.

“To increase by half the height of the existing mast to 15 meters and to significantly compound the already negative visual impact that it has on the area around Lochend Road and Eglinton Crescent would be totally unacceptable and should not be allowed. Local residents can count on my continued support over this matter.”

And councillor Convery added: “The location of the Lochend Road mast was fiercely resisted by local residents when it was first proposed, and given the way in which it dominates the landscape it’s clear that they were right to do so.

“I said at the time that this was the wrong location for a telecommunications mast – I voted against the application for it and nothing has changed my mind in the years since.”

However, phone chiefs say they can’t avoid a residential area because their mast only has a limited reach.

A Vodafone spokesman said: “Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live work and travel.

“Base stations are low powered which only cover approximately half a mile in radius, therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.

“We have identified that we need to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Troon and have proposed to share the O2 base station on Lochend Road.

“This location was chosen as it is an established site and provides a backdrop against which the site will not be visually intrusive.

“We are currently undertaking pre-application consultation and have started to receive feedback from the local stakeholders.

“We recognise that some communities are concerned regarding the deployment of radio base stations close to residential areas, but without radio base stations, mobile phones will not be able to work.”
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Source: Ayrshire Post, Stuart Wilson, 12 Aug 2010

Residents angry at O2 mast appeal
Scotland Created: 23 Jul 2010
A COMMUNITY is furious that a rejected planning application to build a 15 metre phone mast is to be reconsidered by the Scottish Government.

Residents in Condorrat celebrated back in April when plans for the O2 mast, which was to stand near the village library, were unanimously rejected by North Lanarkshire Council.

But the mobile phone giant has now appealed to the Scottish Government against the decision and a site inspection by Government officials took place this morning (Wednesday).

John Burke, chairman of the Condorrat Tenants and Residents Association, said: "We were so happy to win this unanimously. Then we get a letter from the Scottish Government stating that O2 have appealed against it.

"School children cross the road near the library and the mast would make this a death trap for them as it would block them from the sight of traffic. The whole community is behind the decision, as are the schools and local councillors."

At the time of the application residents also raised concerns that the mast was a visually inappropriate inclusion to the village, which won a Beautiful Scotland award last year, and has a proud historical heritage linked to its mining past.

North Lanarkshire Council refused the application on the grounds that alternative sites had not been considered and that the proposed mast and equipment would be detrimental to the look of the area.

O2 however, claims the mast will allow local customers to get the best possible service and that the structure will blend in with existing street furniture.

An O2 spokesperson said: "We are committed to investing to ensure that O2 and Vodafone customers who live and work in Condorrat can benefit from mobile phone networks they can rely upon. Our agents have made a detailed analysis of the area and found this to be the most suitable site for current and future coverage and capacity whilst blending with the streetscape."

Local councillor Willie Goldie is backing the residents' campaign. He said: " We were starting to make some progress in Condorrat to regenerate the area, this would put us back a step."
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Source: Cumbernauld News, SUZANNE HART, 22 Jul 2010

Expert signals warning over Dundee mast
Scotland Created: 23 Jul 2010
A world-renowned expert on the impact of electromagnetic fields and microwave radiation has warned of the potential health consequences after a huge mast was put up in Dundee.

Speaking exclusively to The Courier, Professor Olle Johansson sounded the warning after the mast was put up on city council premises in East School Road, Downfield, without the need for planning permission.

The mast is for information technology and broadband purposes and has been been put inside Downfield House where council IT staff are based.

Neighbours were notified about the move and reacted with anger, describing it as a monstrosity and a blot on the landscape.

"I have learnt that ordinary people very rarely stand a chance," said Professor Johansson. "To have your view ruined by a big installation, be it a billboard, a communication antenna or something similar is, of course, never fun.

"In addition to this, the potential health consequences of constantly living in the electromagnetic fields from such base stations is becoming more and more of a big issue.

"I am so very surprised that no government or parliament understands the potential hazards here and reaches for the brakes while there is still time."

The professor has more than 20 years experience and was the first to study human sensitivity to mobile phones when adverse reactions were reported in the mid-1990s.

He also appeared as an expert witness before the Scottish Parliament's public petitions committee and at meetings in Aberdeenshire and Perth on the potential risks associated with exposure to mobile phones and masts.

Professor Johansson added, "It's not the actual mast, it is the base stations and their electromagnetic field exposure I am concerned about.

"In essence, the immune system is a very complex one, built up of a large number of cell types with certain basic defence strategies. It has evolved during an enormously long time span and is constructed to deal with its known enemies. Among the known enemies one will not find modern electromagnetic fields ... They have been introduced during the last 100 years, in many cases during the very last decades. They penetrate the body, and some have already proven to be fatal."

A spokesman for Dundee City Council said although no planning permission was necessary for the mast, neighbour notification was carried out by the contractor working for the council.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Scotland Courier, 21 Jul 2010

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