Holyrood told of mast fears

A mass of mobile phone transmitters on the roof of St Andrews’ cinema has been used in Holyrood to highlight the issue of masts on public buildings, writes Cheryl Wood.

New Picture House — believed to host four transmitters — was used as an example by MSP Ted Brocklebank as he quizzed the Scottish Executive on legislation to prevent public buildings being swamped by masts.

Also raising doubts over the long-term health effects of masts, his question to deputy communities minister Johann Lamont came just days after the death of a St Andrews tot from a rare form of cancer.

Rachel Bratt’s parents Raymond and Charlotte believe that a mast close to their former home in Balmullo was partly to blame for her being diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

The four-year-old died on November 2 after battling the illness for more than two years.

Conservative MSP Mr Brocklebank said, “Many people who, like me, live in the centre of St Andrews, are becoming increasingly concerned that masts seem to be proliferating at an alarming pace on the roof of New Picture House in North Street.

“There is still too much unknown about the effects of these masts, and where will it all stop?

“Are we to have school roofs almost entirely covered with masts while our children and grandchildren play underneath?

“The fact is we still cannot be sure about the long-term effects of some communications systems.”

Omega we can be sure about the long-term effects of these communications systems. See under:

Rachel’s parents have conducted research into the effects of transmissions and have vowed to continue even after their daughter’s death.

Mrs Bratt said, “They continue to stick these masts up and ignore what has been said about them.

“Until they are 100 per cent certain they don’t affect people, they shouldn’t put them up.

“I will keep fighting. I don’t want other families to go through what we have.”

In the Scottish Parliament yesterday, Mrs Lamont acknowledged people were concerned about mobile phone masts, but declined to comment on a particular site.

“Depending on the circumstances of a case, there may be a number of pieces of legislation with which such installations would have to comply,” she said.

“It is incumbent on everyone involved to be as transparent as possible about where the masts are going, who is operating them and so on, particularly given the unease about telecommunications masts.

“Current research does not reinforce that unease, but I know from my area that neither the current research nor emphasis of the fact that we are tracking the matter sufficiently reassure people.

“It is important — I know that the industry is committed to this — to work as closely as possible with people and to try, if possible, to site masts where people are comfortable with them.”

© All copyright D C Thomson & Co Ltd., 2005



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