Western Gazette

15:00 - 06 October 2005

Dozens of parents and residents attended a town council meeting this week in their fight to topple a mobile telephone mast plan. Vodafone's plan to erect a mast at Arrow Fires, North Mills Trading Estate, Bridport, has caused a storm among locals because of its proximity to a school and Scout hut used by a nursery group.

About 50 residents attended Monday night's meeting of the town council and urged members to support their concerns.

Caroline Edwards of Victoria Grove, who is the co-ordinator of Clean Airwaves for Bridport's Local Environment, said: "It is within 250 metres of St Catherine's Primary School and almost below the site is a Scout hut, which is used in the day by a nursery group.

"Also, the surrounding area is a designated play area. There is a lot of concern. We have at least 87 letters from worried people, which we will be sending to the district council along with a petition with well over 400 signatures."

Paula English said: "The district council has a duty to protect children and the vulnerable. There is a gap in our knowledge about these masts, which justifies caution.

"I have a three-year-old son at St Catherine's Pre-School and I very much want to send him to St Catherine's but, if this mast was erected, I would have to think very carefully about that."

Resident and science teacher Helen O'Hara said: "The studies into the radiation from masts that say there is no effect are referring to thermal effects but they do not explore non- thermal effects. Respected research from bodies, such as universities and other European governments, highlights a worrying list of effects."

Councillors were unanimous in their support of the protesters and urged them to repeat the pleas at the next planning meeting of West Dorset District Council development control committee, which has the final say.

Under planning laws, health risks are not a consideration, although the town councillors said they felt the protesters still had a strong argument.

District and town councillor Martin Ray said: "The issue of health is such a real concern and times are changing. In a recent case in Charmouth, planning officials only gave a year's planning permission to a similarly controversial mast."

Telephone base stations, such as the one proposed for Bridport emit Radio Frequency radiation. Determining the relative safety of this radiation has been a difficult process, due to the long-term nature of any study.

Vodafone spokesman Jane Frapwell said: "All the emissions from the base station fall well below UK guidelines but, if people want mobile phones, we have to site them near to homes."

Omega see "Base Stations, operating within strict national and international Guidelines, do not present a Health Risk?" under:

The recent Stewart Report commissioned by the Government said: "The balance of evidence to date suggests that exposure to RF radiation below national guidelines does not cause adverse health effects to the general population."

Omega see under:

However, a cautionary approach was recommended when siting near to schools.


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Oktober 2005

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