Phone giant to meet protesters

Oct 13 2005

By Neil Elkes, Birmingham Mail

MOBILE phone giant Vodafone has agreed to face-to-face talks with campaigners battling against a mast on parkland opposite their homes.

Hundreds of residents near Pype Hayes Park in Erdington are battling plans for a giant mast in Eachelhurst Road.

In a rare move Vodafone called the talks after its plan was met with more than 200 letters of objection from the local community amid health fears.

Now the Eachelhurst Mast Action Group are to join City Council planning officers in a closed meeting with Vodafone staff at The Belfry on Friday, October 14.

Group spokeswoman Lesley Mansfield said: "Vodafone are at least listening to us and are prepared to have a dialogue. Campaigners have made great strides in the last year, scientists are discovering more evidence of health affects and people are no longer willing to live with an unacceptable risk to their health."

The meeting will also be attended by Birmingham's leading campaigner Eileen O'Connor, who successfully battled a mast near her home in Wishaw, near Sutton Coldfield. It comes a week after Eileen, of the Radiation Research Trust, had top level talks with the Government solicitor general and North Warwickshire MP Mike O'Brien to discuss families' health concerns.

She presented a mass of evidence, including scientific research papers, during an hour-long talk with the minister.

The mother-of-two discussed the march of wireless technology and talked about problems with planning laws surrounding masts and raised the issue of a possible cancer cluster surrounding a mast next to Coleshill School.

She said: "I spoke about planning procedures and the urgent need to force the operators into the full planning process. I also pointed out our concern for children's health in all schools with the introduction of wireless computer networks which will expose children in every school to radiation."

Mr O'Brien told Eileen that health and planning ministers are taking these concerns seriously and are carefully monitoring the latest research.


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