21
Nov
2005

Haringey Supplementary Planning Policy

Glebelands Otterton EX9 7JJ

12th October 2005

Rep Nos. 3581.D4 & 3581.R1

Dear Mr Pritchard

Thank you for your letter of 26th September 2005. As explained in our recent telephone conversation, the enclosure that came with this letter, was unfortunately not as stated, but luckily Mrs Wright contacted me a few days ago about this matter, and kindly posted me a copy of the EDDC response.

This letter and all points raised in it, is in addition to the letter dated 12th October 2005 from my Solicitor, Mr Alan Meyer, and I wish to make the following supplementary statement on the EDDC Proof of Evidence:

1. In my original letter to Claire Rodway dated 24th October 2003, I brought up the issue of lawful mast/antenna heights for the purpose of GPDO applications. It is essential that detailed reference is made in the Local Plan Policy to clarify for all time, to the phone companies and their agents, the planning officers and the district councillors what the exact lawful measurements must be for any application made under GPDO. As a result of not properly determining lawful mast/antenna heights, there have already been serious, unpleasant and time-consuming planning administration problems arising, one example is the case at Beare Hamlet.

On 16th August 2005, the Planning Inspectorate issued Revised Guidance regarding the Telecoms Appeal Code - please see copy enclosed - which related to the need for Local Planning Authorities to check properly the height of 15 metre masts to see that they properly qualified as 'permitted development' if correctly measured as set out in the final paragraph of this Appeal Code to avoid applications submitted on 'a false basis'.

I understand this Guidance arose partially out of yet another Vodafone 'overheight' mast application and many Councils' wrong interpretation of mast/antenna height measurements allowed under GPDO, thereby disadvantaging the residents living near certain mast sites.

Please will the Inspector ensure that all the enclosed Inspectorate guidance that sets out what constitutes lawful GPDO mast/antenna heights is included in the Local Plan to ensure complete clarity? This will prevent any further applications being processed by East Devon District Council on a 'false basis'.

2. The EDDC Proof of Evidence seems to contradict itself regarding PPG8 and ICNIRP guidelines. The Proof does not take into account current High Court Decisions, i.e. the Skelt case and the Harrogate case which both clearly state that ICNIRP certification and guidelines are not by themselves sufficient consideration of health issues.

In the recent Harrogate Court of Appeal Judgment, it was determined that health concerns are relevant in exceptional circumstances. It is therefore essential that the Local Plan follows the law and includes health concerns because there may well be 'exceptional circumstances' present.

In the second Stewart Report issued on 11th January 2005, Paragraphs 62 - 64, Professor Stewart stated that an element of the population are Electro-Sensitive, and their well-being can be adversely affected by the insensitive siting of masts. Mobile Phones and Health 2004: Report by the Board of NRPB. Please refer to the NRPB Executive summary (Published 11th January 2005), Heading 'Sensitive groups', Paragraphs 62 - 64. I would also like to draw your attention to the enclosed Sunday Times report dated 11th September 2005, which states that "…The Health Protection Agency has now reviewed all scientific literature on electro-sensitivity and concluded that it is a real syndrome. The condition had previously been dismissed as psychological."

3. Obsolete technology/apparatus. The Telecommunications Paragraph 10.40 of the East Devon Local Plan - January 2002 states, "Telecommunications is a rapidly expanding and evolving technology. As this technology develops, existing infrastructure will become obsolete. It is a requirement under the 1984 Telecommunications Act for redundant apparatus to be removed."

This paragraph follows the law, is very clear and contains a safeguard against abuse or ignorance of planning procedures. The wording is pro-active, and allows for the removal of 'obsolete' masts/antenna equipment. The wording is up-to-date in its mention of the rapid evolution of new, less invasive and more efficient technology that is already available in this country. In view of the new technologies becoming available, i.e. fibre optic cabling, broad band, communications satellites, more efficient mobile phones, etc, that will lessen the need for masts, it would be wrong not to include the words 'obsolete' and 'redundant' apparatus in the new Local Plan Policy.

In EDDC's Proof of Evidence, the words, "Planning permission granted will be conditioned so as to require the demolition and removal of all works undertaken, both above and below ground, should or when any facility ceases to be used or falls into disrepair", are so unclear and loose they will create a loophole and create confusion. This loophole would effectively allow any phone operator to secretly replace 'obsolete apparatus/technology' with different, possibly more dangerous technology without anyone's knowledge or permission.

A further problem with the EDDC Proof is that as each type of technology, i.e. 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G etc, will have a different effect and impact on the local community and landscape, it would allow the original planning permission to be used as ongoing 'blanket cover' for any other type of technology. Change of technology does constitute change of use.

4. UK Acts of Parliament and PPG8 give legal protection to World Heritage sites, AONBs and other sensitive conservation areas and gives them priority over all other development, including telecommunications.

In the enclosed copy pages from Mr I C Clark of the DTLR on Page 2, paragraph 3, he states, " …. In view of our plan-led planning system of development control, a local planning authority should include in its development plan specific planning policies relating to a World Heritage Site in its area. This is so that the sites features of interest and importance and the need to protect them would be given due weight when a planning application is determined. Furthermore UNESCO now expects all nominations of sites for World Heritage status to be accompanied by managements plans".

As set out in the enclosed copy pages from the official guide to the Jurassic Coastline, World Heritage status means that Sites should be protected conserved presented and passed intact to future generations. It also means that this designated area recognises nationally important landscapes, conserving both the Site and the wider countryside that surrounds it." It is therefore essential that the EDDC Local Plan takes into account this exceptional area's needs, which by definition are to keep it natural, i.e. free of ugly, unnatural, inappropriate structures.

The Local Plan should accommodate the rapid advances that are constantly becoming available in telecommunications technology. There are now efficient alternatives to mast structures already in use, i.e. fibre optic cabling, communications satellites, more efficient phone antennas, all of which remove or lessen the need for masts. These advances together with new 'mast free' telecommunications technologies - make it possible to avoid siting any mast/antenna in sensitive and protected areas.

5. I attended and spoke at the Public Inquiry on the 18th May 2005 and some of the points I raised were agreed and were to be included in the Supplementary Planning Guidance as stated by Claire Rodway and this would be forthcoming. As yet, I have not seen the Supplementary Planning Guidance, as it has not been put out for public consultation. Please will the Inspector investigate at what stage of progress the work on the Supplementary Planning Guidance has reached and whether it has been completed yet?

As I cannot rely on the 'unseen' Supplementary Planning Guidance to include the points that were agreed at the Public Inquiry, I am extremely worried that the Inspector with the imminent closing of the Inquiry may not realise that my concerns (and other peoples concerns) addressed by him through the Public Inquiry route have not been recognised or implemented in the EDDC Supplementary Guidance.

There is a strong possibility that all these issues will be watered down by the phone companies, and this seems very wrong because myself and others did take the time and trouble to attend and speak at the Public Inquiry and go through all the proper democratic processes. It now seems that our only opportunity to have the matters already agreed at the Public Inquiry for inclusion in the Supplementary Planning Guidance, is for the Inspector to consider the points raised in this letter. I have to make sure that everything that I raised and was agreed at the Public Inquiry is in this letter and is now put to the Inspector for his opinion.

Please will the Inspector keep the Public Inquiry open until he has investigated why there no mention in the EDDC Supplementary Planning Guidance for a Policy specific for the first British natural World Heritage Site and its surrounds here in East Devon? Before the Public Inquiry is wound up, please will the Inspector ensure that such a Policy is prepared and the public given a sight of it, before and after, he accordingly makes his recommendations to modify the Local Plan Policy? Please will the Inspector investigate why this Government requirement has not been addressed before now?

Please may I have a copy of all the Inspector's recommendations on Telecommunications in the Local Plan Policy including the Supplementary Planning Guidance? Please acknowledge receipt of this letter.

I have enclosed two other copies of this letter and its enclosures for your use.

Yours truly,

MRS J D LEE


Mr Peter Pritchard
Programme Officer East Devon Local Plan Public Inquiry
Royal Avenue
Exmouth Devon EX8 1EN
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