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Health concerns prompt petition over mast idea [Derby Evening Telegraph (England)]
[December 17, 2010]

Health concerns prompt petition over mast idea [Derby Evening Telegraph (England)]

(Derby Evening Telegraph (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) FEARS over the health of Allestree schoolchildren have prompted a petition against plans to place a phone mast near the Park Farm Centre.

More than 200 people, including residents of Allestree and Darley Abbey, have put pen to paper to oppose the 14.8m monopole in Park Farm Drive.

Telecom giants Vodafone and O2 have prepared the joint proposal to install the mast off the road and 0.06 miles away from Lawn Primary School.

The development would consist of the pole, an antenna and a cabinet to store equipment.

It aims to increase network capacity in Allestree. In a statement to Derby City Council, the companies said that, according to a report in 2005, there was "no scientific basis" for keeping base stations away from schools.

But Penny Bennett, head teacher at Lawn Primary School, in Norbury Close, has also written to the council and submitted the 227- name petition.

She said that, according to another report, the widespread use of mobile phones by children for non-essential calls should be discouraged.

Mrs Bennett said: "The report says this is because, if there are currently unrecognised adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones, children may be more vulnerable because of their developing nervous system." She added: "It concluded the beam of greatest radiofrequency intensity, which normally falls to the ground between 50 and 200 metres from the base of the mast, should not be permitted to fall on a school's grounds or buildings without permission from the school or the parents." Because the mast is under 15 metres high, it does not need planning permission.

The council cannot stop it being built but it can influence the appearance and siting of the equipment. Allestree councillors Philip Hickson and Saadia Davis have already written to the council about the proposal, calling it "intrusive".

A further 15 letters and emails objecting to the plans have also been submitted to the council by residents.

The issue will be discussed by the planning committee tonight.

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