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Fears over mobile phone mast
[April 20, 2006]

Fears over mobile phone mast


(Nottingham Evening Post Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Parents are fighting plans for a mobile phone mast near their children's school.

Chilwell A site 150 metres from Alderman Pounder Infants, in Chilwell, has been earmarked as the only suitable location for a 12-metre Vodafone base station.

But parents, who are concerned about possible health risks, have launched a campaign to stop the mast being erected next to a newsagents at the corner of Eskdale Drive and Blenheim Drive.

They have formed the Alderman Pounder Action Group and started a petition.

Annwen Evans, whose five-year-old son Louis attends the school, has written to Broxtowe Borough Council and Waldon Telecom, a Derby company handling the plans on Vodafone's behalf.

The protesting parents are citing the Stewart report - a study published in 2000 by an independent expert working group - which urged a precautionary approach in siting masts.

The report concluded it was impossible to say whether exposure was "totally without potential adverse health affects." Ms Evans said: "I am horrified that while any health doubts remain over these masts, the Government and local authority are prepared to gamble with children's health." Head teacher Margaret Kimpson has also registered her objections.



She said: "The company has reassured us it's in the safety levels permitted but having 400 children within 200 yards it's obviously going to raise anxieties and concerns.

"I still think they could find a more suitable place." Sheila Foster, chairman of governors at the adjacent Eskdale Junior School and borough councillor, said: "It is an emotional issue and parents are concerned about their children's health but I would ask how many have mobile phones themselves and if you have a mobile you've got to have masts.


"The council is consulted and can refuse on technical grounds but health issues are not considered." Sian Meredith, from the campaign group Mast Sanity, said: "We work on the precautionary principle and that is not putting them by schools.

"The parents and residents have got to put pressure on. The more pressure that can come from the community, the more chance they've got." The mast does not need planning permission and unless a council opposes a tower under 15m within a 56-day time limit, it can be put up.

Steve Dance, Broxtowe Borough Council's assistant director of planning, said the mast looked like a telegraph pole.

"It's not massively high and transmission isn't likely to be that great," he said.

"If it is that far away from a school I guess we wouldn't see it as an issue." Vodafone spokeswoman Jane Frapwell said she understood the concerns but added the mast complies will all the safety guidelines.

"It does not matter if it is one metre or one mile - provided it's under the guidelines level, there is no evidence of any adverse effects to any sector of the population."

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