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Invasion of the mobile masts
United Kingdom Created: 17 Jun 2005
Invasion of the mobile masts
MOBILE phone technology is poised to swamp the UK - and Wirral communities face the prospect of absorbing a further 800 telephone masts.
That is the dire warning given by Cllr Chris Blakeley who revealed this week: "Recent comments from industry figures indicated that new '3G' technology will require four times as many masts than at present. This suggests an additional 209 masts on average in every single Parliamentary constituency - this means in Wirral alone the possibility of over 800 more masts."
Cllr Blakeley, who represents Moreton and Saughall Massie, said: "Over the past 12 months there have been more and more planning applications for tele-phone masts in some of the most inappropriate locations.
"It appears that the mobile phone industry just wants to steamroll through as many applications as possible, regardless of the effect on the lives of thousands of people."
Across the country in the last 12 months activists have torn down mobile-phone masts as public concern over the health impact of radiation emissions have continued to grow.
Although Government advisers say there is no evidence that the masts threaten people's health, those living near them have complained of illnesses ranging from cancer to motor neurone disease.
Some scientists have suggested that the radiation produced by the aerials has an impact on sleep patterns and could have health implications.
Cllr Blakeley went on: "Currently there is a presumption in favour of development inherent in the current planning system, which over-rides local, environmental and safety concerns. Current planning rules cannot cope with the imposition of 130,000 more masts (across the UK) - with
a further 800-plus near homes and schools across Wirral."
He added: "We all want to be able to use a mobile phone, but this doesn't means masts should be constructed without any regard for the well-being of local people. It's time for (Prime Minister) Mr Blair to start listening and stop ignoring the views of local communities and the feelings of powerlessness
and frustration experienced by those living under the threat of badly-sited masts."
The Mobile Operators Association, set up in January 2003 to represent the five UK mobile phone network operators on radio frequency health and planning issues, disclosed that there are now around 60m mobile phone subscribers in the UK.
In a statement they observed: "Many people increasingly rely on mobile technology as their primary means of communication. However, without a network of base stations in place where people want to use their phones, they simply will not work." The statement added that operators were consistently addressing the issue of shared masts. Both sites and masts were shared where possible, but it was not always technically achievable as each network was planned slightly differently. The statement said: "A shared site can also be more visually intrusive than a single operator site because of the increase in height needed to accommodate two or more antennae systems."
A spokeswoman for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister disputed Cllr Blakeley's claim that 130,000 most phone masts would be erected across the UK.
The Mobile Operators' Association, she said, estimated that around 50,000 masts would be needed to cope with 3G - 5,000 more than there were at present.
She said: "We are confident that the planning system can cope with that increase."

Moulton. Spalding: Firm bids to build phone mast on farm
United Kingdom Created: 16 Jun 2005
Firm bids to build phone mast on farm
A MOBILE phone firm wants permission to put a 20m mast and other base station equipment at a Moulton farm.
Hutchinson 3G, which trades on behalf of 3, has applied to South Holland District Council to put the equipment on land belonging to
F Dring and Sons in High Road.
As well as a monopole, the base station will include three antennae, three 300mm diameter transmission dishes and radio equipment housing.
Hutchinson said that the installation is necessary to provide third generation mobile phone coverage in Moulton.
A letter accompanying the application said the company considered several other sites, including Childers Cattery, St Mary's Church and
D A Green and Son, all in Whaplode, before settling on Double Roof Farm.
The letter said: "We've undertaken a comprehensive search of the area surrounding the proposed site.
"Within the site area a number of potential sites have been considered.
"Out of the available sites Double Roof Farm was considered to be the most suitable."
The application stated that there is an existing Vodaphone mast at the farm.
Hutchinson said this had to be discounted because it would have needed to be substantially redeveloped and the height
would have been more than 20m high.
Planning approval for a 15m mast on land at Double Roof Farm was given but never implemented.
Hutchinson said the proposed mast would be within a farmyard with farm buildings to the east.
Existing trees would provide screening.
It adds that the equipment will have minimal impact on the surrounding landscape.
Hutchinson 3G is also in the process of seeking permission to build a base station at Thorney Machinery Hire, Crease Drove, Crowland.
It recently pulled plans for a mast at Pinfold Industrial Estate, Bourne, because the site it had chosen was sold.
Spalding today. 14 June 2005

Portsmouth: Health fears amid mast invasion threat
United Kingdom Created: 12 Jun 2005
THE number of phone masts across our communities is set to snowball over the next decade, industry experts warn.
Already, there are about 450 masts across the Portsmouth, south Hampshire and Chichester areas – but it is believed another 1,700 will be needed within 10 years.
The startling figure today fuelled the debate over both the health risks and regulation of phone masts.
City councillor Alistair Thompson, who this week led a delegation from Hilsea to hand in a petition on masts at Downing Street,
said planning law meant many of these new masts could be erected without permission.
And the campaign is calling for the laws to be changed so health concerns can be used by planners to stop new masts going up.
Portsmouth News. 11 June 2005

Dedridge. LIVINGSTON: PHONE MAST PLAN NARROWLY REJECTED
United Kingdom Created: 12 Jun 2005
A LIVINGSTON community are celebrating another victory in their ongoing battle against mobile phone masts.
Plans to build a 14.5 metre mast at the Territorial Army (TA) centre in Beveridge Square, Dedridge, were narrowly rejected
by councillors at a meeting last week.
West Lothian Council’s development control sub-committee voted by five votes to four to refuse the application, following sustained
pressure from the Dedridge community.
A petition organised by local resident Archie Douglas, combined with a united campaign by Councillor Danny Logue and
Dedridge Community Council, helped persuade councillors to vote against the council’s planning officers’ recommendations.
Dedridge Councillor Danny Logue explained: “This is our third time in defeating the same application and, of course, we are very pleased.
“Our main concern was how close the mast was to the James Young High School and nearby houses and what long-term impact it could have on people’s health.
“It is pleasing to think we have scored a victory over a large multi-national corporation.
“There are a number of phone mast applications in the pipeline for Dedridge, including one coming up soon for Staunton Pond,
so this won’t be the last battle we have to fight.”
He added: “I hope now we can have a round-the-table meeting with planning officers, the mobile phone companies and Dedridge Community Council.
“There are more acceptable locations for masts, and we would like them to look into mast sharing in the town centre as well, to limit the number in the area.
“I know they are unsightly but the main priority must be keeping them away from schools and residential areas.
I recently counted four masts at the Lizzie Brice garage alone.”
Vodaphone hoped to use the planned mast to provide coverage for Livingston town centre, specifically to improve 3G coverage in the area.
They currently have a mast at council headquarters on the roof of West Lothian House, which is due to be removed next year.
Consultations are being held on a number of possible 3G phone masts sites across West Lothian, with residents in Bathgate and Livingston Village already campaigning against masts in their areas.
By Ewen McNamee. Jun 10 2005

West Pontnewydd. Gwent: Use people power to fight phone mast!
United Kingdom Created: 12 Jun 2005
Welsh People Power: It's no to phone mast

PEOPLE power helped convince councillors in Gwent to refuse planning permission for a telephone mast 50 metres from a school playground.
Residents in Thornhill, Cwmbran, had campaigned to stop mobile phone company O2 erecting a 12.5-metre mast near Woodlands Infants and Junior
School.
A petition of 300 signatures was handed to Torfaen council and a local resident spoke to the planning committee on behalf of the community.
The campaign was backed by ward members Councillors John Cunningham and Mary Barnett, who praised the efforts of local people.
Councillors went against a recommendation by planning chiefs to approve the application, citing its close proximity to the school and potential
"health effects", as well as "visual intrusion" as their main reasons. Councillor Cunningham said he was "thrilled" with the decision.
"I am glad the committee decided to take the precautionary approach," he added.
Speaking to the committee, Nicky Rees, a resident of Thornhill Close, said the government's Stewart Report in 2000 had urged a "precautionary approach"
as far as mobile technology was concerned, particularly with regard to schools.
She added: "There is no proof they can damage people's health - neither is there any proof they are safe."
Mrs Rees said regulations in New Zealand and Australia specified a minimum distance of 300m between masts and schools or houses.
Residents also voiced concerns about the effect the mast could have on medical equipment such as pacemakers.
An independent report by an executive agency of the department of health found no interference between phone transmitters and medical equipment.
A spokesman from O2 said in response to the council's decision: "Health and safety issues are of prime importance to us and we are sensitive to public concerns, but there is no evidence linking the use of mobile telephony with adverse health effects. This is one of the most studied areas of science.
"The demand for mobile phone coverage is at its greatest in the areas where people live and work, and inevitably this means from time to time there will
be schools nearby.
"It is clear we need to provide the best service for the customer. Without a network of mobile phone masts, mobile phones won't work."
l Last month, campaigners in Talywain, near Pontypool, blocked Vodafone workers from putting up a mast.
This is Gwent
**********************************************'
RESIDENTS are being urged to join forces to protest over plans to site a mobile phone mast 100 yards from a Gwent school.
Now Councillor John Cunningham, the local member, has told the Argus he wants to "lead the vanguard" against its installation near Woodlands Infants and Junior School, off Bagley Court, West Pontnewydd.
"There is still uncertainty about the safety of such equipment and the site is very close to both the school and houses," he said.
"The planning committee recently refused permission for a mast near the old Cwmbran Workingmen's Club on the grounds that it was too close to houses, but this is just as close - even worse, there is a school nearby."
But a spokeswoman for O2 said the latest report on mobile technology urged a precautionary approach in respect of children using handsets,
but not phone masts themselves.
She said: "Research is being undertaken all over the world and there is no evidence of any risk to health.
Levels of radiation are thousands of times lower from masts.
"The need for the equipment is very much customer led."
But Councillor Cunning-ham said he is urging local residents to make their voices heard, and write to the director of the environment at Torfaen council.
"This was originally going to be a delegated application, because the mast is under 15 metres, but I pushed for it to be heard in full by the planning committee," he said.
Plans for the mobile phone mast will now be heard in early July.
Three members of the public will be allocated a few minutes to voice their objections at the meeting provided they make prior arrangements.
More than 300 concerned parents signed a petition urging council bosses to remove a phone mast from the grounds of a Newport school.
The mast at High Cross Junior and Infant School, Rogerstone, has been in place for a number of years.
But worried parents have now handed the petition to Rogerstone community council.
This is Gwent

Campaigner lobbys EU over masts
United Kingdom Created: 9 Jun 2005
A LEADING campaigner is lobbying the European Parliament for new research into phone masts.
Formby protester Eileen O'Connor discussed independent research funding with European director generals in Brussels.
Professor Olle Johansson from Sweden and Dr Gerd Oberfeld from Salzburg, who would head the research, believe they can prove masts are dangerous.
As Salzburg's government director, Dr Oberfeld secured the lowest radiation levels in the world.
His controlled experiment found people were effected when situated 18 metres from masts. He now aims to discover long-term effects such as cancer.
Eileen O'Connor founded anti-mast pressure group Radiation Research Trust after recovering form cancer three years ago.
She said: "He proved without a doubt that it caused severe disruptions to the brainwaves and they all got symptoms such as headaches, nausea and sickness."
Dr Johansson has spent 30 years studying "non ionising radiation", succeeding in reducing high level radiation transmitted from early computer screens.
Eileen is now in talks with John F. Ryan, Luxembourg's director general for health and consumer protection, about possible funding.
Jun 9 2005. By Lyndsay Young, Formby Times

Chester: MOBILE PHONE MAST ANGER
United Kingdom Created: 9 Jun 2005
RESIDENTS have reacted angrily to plans for a mobile phone mast in the heart of their Chester community.
Phone company Vodafone wants to install a 12-metre mast and equipment box at the junction of Victoria Road with Victoria Crescent, which is next to Chester Business School.But people living in and around the area say they are concerned about the health implications of the base station, as it is officially called, and also the impact it would have on the area, which is under a conservation order.
Vodafone staff are in a pre-consultation period with residents about the plans, but it looks certain the phone company will be receiving only objections.
John Hughes, 70, who has lived in Victoria Court for five years, said: “I am very worried about the health effects of these masts. No-one has proved they are safe, and after reading reports that children who live near pylons are more likely to get leukaemia, you do start to wonder.
“Because we have a college here, there are a lot of young people walking about. And they would have to pass that pole every day. I am very worried for their health. I cannot think of a more unsuitable place for it.”
L. G. Bennion, 71, of Victoria Crescent, said: “I have already written to Vodafone about my displeasure. If it was built I would be able to see it from my garden. It is not going to be very nice to look at.
“This is a conservation area. I find it extremely difficult to get planning permission for things I want to do on the house, so it would be very upsetting if Vodafone could put a mast up here without any trouble.”
College Ward Labour Cllr Sandra Rudd, deputy chairman of the city council’s planning board, echoed the residents’ comments. “I personally feel it’s too close to homes and would be inappropriate in a conservation area,” she said.
“I’ve asked that Vodafone look at other sites or link up with the Microconnect system which is used successfully in the city centre by BT and is designed to be shared by mobile phone operators."
But Jane Frapwell, electromagnetic field adviser for Vodafone, said: “The Microconnect system is a complimentary device. It does not replace the need for base stations. We always try to be sympathetic to the areas we plan to put our stations in. If it is an area of outstanding beauty, we try to make sure the visual impact is lessened. But people need base stations to use their mobile phones.”

Shoreham: Mast protest
United Kingdom Created: 9 Jun 2005
RESIDENTS are ready to go into battle to stop a mobile phone mast being put up outside their homes in north Shoreham.
T-Mobile wants to build an 11.7-metre 3G mast and transmitter on a small plot of land on the east side of Downsway, at the junction of Upper Shoreham Road.
Rod Hotton, of Downsway, who is leading the anti-mast campaign, said: "This is a case of profit before people.
"The proposed mast would be too close to properties and to one of the main routes for children attending local schools, Buckingham Middle and Shoreham First.
"Children and the elderly are believed to be especially vulnerable to the effects of such transmissions.
"From my house opposite, it will be taller than a lamppost and totally obtrusive."
Mr Hotton has already put up posters and notices, objecting to the mast, in Downsway since he found out about the plans on Friday.
He received a notice through his door from Adur District Council about the application and has since been galvanising his neighbours and residents into action.
Mr Hotton said: "According to current regulations, these mobile phones companies don't need planning permission to put up masts which are under 15 metres.
"But this is not a suitable site. There are other areas in north Shoreham where it could go.
"We are urging everyone in the area to object to Adur council, but we have only three weeks to do it, so the clock is running."
A public meeting was being held at Mr Hotton's home last night to put together a campaign to fight the plans.
An Adur council spokeswoman said the application was due to go before Adur's planning committee on July 4.
Shoreham Today. 09 June 2005

Rushmoor. Farnborough: Hearing aid risk brings mast protest
United Kingdom Created: 9 Jun 2005
TEACHERS and residents are battling against proposals for a phone mast to be built close to two schools calioming it will interfere with pupils’ hearing aids.
Rushmoor Borough Council has told residents in Northcote Road, Farnborough, that they are considering plans to install a 10m Vodafone mast next to their homes and less than half a mile from Manor Infant School and Manor County Junior School.
The junior school, in Fernhill Road, has a special unit for children with hearing difficulties.
Headteacher Mark Sands said: “We are very concerned about the mast.
“We have a hearing impaired unit at the school and our hearing impaired advisor has noticed interference with hearing aids in another school because of either a mobile phone mast or a telegraph pole.”
Staff at nearby Manor Infant School agreed. Headteacher Marilyn Penman said: “Like everybody else we have concerns about health and safety for the children — we have the Healthy School Award and we feel that the mast would go against this.
“We have sent a letter to register our objections.”
One of the campaign leaders is Angela Phillips, 37, of Avon Close. She said: “We are told that our objections cannot be on the grounds of potential health issues as they say ‘the government will take full responsibility’ but what evidence have we been given to prove that there is no risk to our health? None.
“We just have to take the word of a government that is not renowned for its honesty.”
Keith Holland, head of planning services, said the council has not made a decision on whether the plans will go ahead. They “will look carefully at what people are saying”
He said: “We have rejected proposals like this before when we have felt that they are in the wrong position but we cannot reject them on the grounds of health and safety as the government believes there are no grounds to object on that.”
Electro-magnetic service advisor for Vodafone, Jane Frapwell, denied that there is any danger in masts being close to residential areas.
She said: “We do recognise that people have concerns but we do comply with some very stringent international guidelines that are there to protect all of us, whether we are one metre away from the mast or one mile.”
Vodafone claim that an independent body investigated the health and safety of masts.
The Health Protection in its January report said there is no scientific basis for establishing minimal distances between masts and residential areas.
The public is not sure. Northcote Road resident Petula Bradshaw said: “We don’t want it here when it can go somewhere not close to a school, with less housing.”
Her son Martin has secured 300 signatures from people against the mast. He said: “It is a health risk to the local area, it’s an eyesore that we don’t want around and it interferes with hearing aids in school.”
Mrs Dodwell, from Anglesey Avenue, Farnborough, said: “At the end of the day we all have phones and we all moan if they don’t work properly but I think I would want some written evidence that the mast won’t harm my daughter.”
Grange Ward councillor Mike Smith who is also fighting the plans, said: “I’ve always had a pretty volatile opinion towards putting up masts and we have contested several masts from going up before.
“A latest report from Switzerland has confirmed that a serious risk from masts will come through in time but somebody keeps moving the goal posts on conditions of what they can and can’t do.”
Residents are also enraged that Vodafone has not had to apply for planning permission.
But Cllr Holland explained why. “It is true that they don’t need planning permission because it is below the height limit of, I think, 15 metres, but they do need our agreement of the siting of the mast.”
The protestors are now waiting for Rushmoor Council to decide if they will allow Vodafone to build the mast.
But Ms Philips vows that she and other residents will boycott Vodafone if the plans do go ahead.
Picture: Angela Phillips with Jared and Rebecca protesting against a possible Vodafone mast in Northcote Road
Farnborough News 080605

Wokingham & Bracknell: COUNCILS AT ODDS OVER PHONE MAST APPLICATION
United Kingdom Created: 8 Jun 2005
Wokingham agree to equipment cabinet but Bracknell refuse antenna
CONFLICTING decisions by two bordering local authorities has meant a mobile phone
giant has permission to site its phone equipment but not to build the mast.
Orange had to submit applications to both Bracknell Forest Borough Council and Wokingham District Council because it wanted to put up a mobile phone mast on one side of a main road and the associated cabinet and equipment on the other side.
The mast, which was set to be 12 metres high with three panel antennae and one link antenna, was to be situated in Old Wokingham Road, which comes under the authority of Bracknell Forest Borough Council.
But the cabinet and equipment was to be located on the opposite side of the same road, at its junction with Rowan Drive, falling into the authority of Wokingham District Council.
A bizarre set of planning regulations meant Orange was told it could have permission to build the cabinet but was not allowed to build the telephone mast.
The applications were submitted in April and the decisions were made by planning chiefs from each council last month.
Resident John Field, of Rowan Drive, organised a petition against the phone mast last November when Orange first consulted residents living within close proximity of the site.
More than 300 people put pen to paper to illustrate their objections but Orange still submitted its application in April.
Mr Field said he and other campaigners were delighted with Bracknell’s decision to reject the phone mast and added they were ‘confused’ about Wokingham’s verdict.
He said: “Clearly we are over the moon about Bracknell’s response in rejecting the phone mast which was all that we have ever asked for.
“But Wokingham’s decision remains mysterious to say the least as you cannot have one without the other.
“Our objections seem to have held water as far as Bracknell is concerned but we have no idea why Wokingham has given approval for the cabinet.
“There is no point having a cabinet when there is no mast, it really is a bizarre situation.”
He also questioned the communication between both councils, and asked if there was any consultation before the decisions were made.
“Where is the communication?” he asked.
“It seems as if the two authorities work like isolated islands.”
A spokeswoman for Wokingham District Council confirmed there was consultation between both councils but said that each authority had to make its own decision.
She said: “We did consult with Bracknell about this and Bracknell did consult with us because the applications were on the border.
“As a planning authority we [WDC] can only make a decision on the application which is directly submitted to us. In this case we looked at the application for the cabinet and it was given approval on its own merit.
“They [BFBC] have obviously decided that the mast was unsuitable and have refused it.
“It is an unusual situation because the phone mast fell across two areas covered by two different authorities.”
8/6/2005 - by Vicki Hammond

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