15
Nov
2004

CAMPAIGN URGES LOCAL COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY TELECOMMUNICATION MASTS TO IMPLEMENT THEIR RIGHT TO PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION

LOCAL COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR ADVERSE PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT APPLICATIONS
97 Spa Crescent, Little Hulton, Gtr Manchester, M38 9TU
TEL: 0871 750 3992 : FAX: 0161-278 3344
EMAIL: info@planningsanity.co.uk
WEB: www.planningsanity.co.uk

CAMPAIGN URGES PUBLIC TO DEMAND MINISTER PUTS PHONE MAST HEALTH FIRST

Planning Sanity are demanding in light of the Court of Appeals decision on Friday in the Harrogate Phone Mast Health case that Ministers redraft planning policy to reflect the Ministers own arguments in the Court of Appeal, and the view of a substantial number of communities who have consistently raised concerns over the potential ill health of children attending schools close to phone masts, and other sensitive locations such as residential property.

Director of Planning Sanity Chris Maile said “Communities can sit back and be forever walked on or they can fight back. The easy remedy is to put pressure in this election year on our politicians to take the action needed to protect our children. A report due to be published any day will show that the emission from High Voltage Cables (which are very similar to that of phone mast emissions) HAS caused a doubling of leukaemia in young children, the report known as the Draper report which the Government has deliberately sat on for 3 years looked at over 37,000 cases of childhood cancer. Will this Government now do the right thing to protect the public from the effects of EMF emission or continue to sit on their backsides. If it is the latter then let the public rise up and say clear and loud we will no longer accept a fence sitting, backside sitting approach from our politicians on this topic”.

CAMPAIGN URGES LOCAL COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY TELECOMMUNICATION MASTS TO IMPLEMENT THEIR RIGHT TO PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION

Any person who owns or occupies premises (or land) and as a result sees their property value drop (research suggests an average 25%), or has other adverse effects on their lands usage (perhaps effect on their quality of life) can seek compensation from the Phone Operator for what is termed 'injurous affection'. Planning Sanity is urging thousands of communities across the UK to use their rights under Code 16 of the Electronic Communication Code to seek compensation.

Chris said “It is time for communities affected adversely by phone mast installations to fight back and give the Phone Operators who are quite prepared in the name of profit to put children's life's at risk a bloody nose that they will never recover from. If sufficient numbers of people exercise their rights then potentially operators could be facing claims amounting to £billions. The Ombudsman (although compensation under this scheme is NOT awarded by the Ombudsman) awarded 4 Swindon families a total of £117,500 due to the effects of a mast. It does not take a genius to calculate the potential cost to the operators from a wholesale payout of compensation”.

END.

EDITORS NOTE: Contact Chris Maile 0161 278 3355

A simple change to the wording of the Governments advise contained in paragraph 30 of Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 (PPG8) would effective reverse the decision of the Court of Appeal, this could be undertaken relatively quickly without even the need to refer it to Parliament. The problem lies in the phase 'it is the Government's firm view that the planning system is not the place for determining health safeguards'. By simply removing that passage, and sending an advise slip to local planning authorities the problem now being faced would be resolved. It would then be up to each individual local planning authority to look at the question of health on a case by case basis.

The Secretary of State in his Skeleton Argument in the Harrogate case conceded that children were in a special category of persons at greatest risk (para 22 of his Skeleton Argument):- “The Inspector's approach was perfectly consistent with this, enabling him to conclude that on the material that the First Respondent (T-Mobile) had put before him: “.....the appeal proposed in its present form provides insufficient reassurance that there would be no material harm to the living conditions (in terms of health concerns) specifically of the group identified by the Steward Report as potentially vulnerable: that is of young children, in this case both Woodfield Community Primary School and St Roberts Catholic Primary School”.”

Having conceded that children are at risk the Secretary of State could use his powers under Section 132 of the Communication Act 2003 order OFCOM to suspend or restrict the service of Electronic Communications in order 'to protect the public from any threat to public safety or public health'. The simple question is how can he not use those powers now that he has conceded the risk. It should be noted hat OFCOM also have powers to protect the health of children and the vulnerable (S3(4) of that Act).

Planning Sanity has published a briefing paper on the procedure for seeking compensation under Code16 of the Electronic Communication Code this can be downloaded from: //www.planningsanity.co.uk/forums/masts/compX.html

Compensation is claimed through the Lands Tribunal and payable by the Phone Operators. Claims could be made several years after a mast has gone up using the same basic process as that of seeking compensation when homes are affected by major public projects under compulsory purchase powers. Claims (in theory) could be paid out not only on loss of the value of property, but also the lose of the enjoyment (or usage) of that property, and might affect not only residential property but also businesses that are adversely affected. Claims can be made in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Planning Sanity helpline 0871 750 3992 11am to 8pm Mon to Fri.


Informant: Don Maisch


Tetra from Cumbria
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