13
Feb
2005

GROWING numbers of islanders are worried about the safety and siting of communication masts

//www.thisisguernsey.com/forum/messages/11779/11859.html?1107777547

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Unconvinced by reassurances on safety, they want alternative sites away from residential areas and schools to be investigated. And some have called for in-depth, independent probes to prove that the new generation masts do not cause any health problems. Their concerns are mounting as the numbers of installations to keep pace with advances in technology rise.

The Environment Department is being urged to ensure that installations are in safe, practical areas where the health of the community will be protected.

Residents who live in and near Le Vauquiedor Clos, St Andrew’s, and Les Hubits, St Martin’s, are the latest publicly to voice their disapproval. Despite 48 masts being found in a recent audit to comply with international safety emissions standards, residents are worried about the health risks and visual impact of masts planned near their homes.

Residents claimed they had documentary evidence showing that 68 masts were up and running on the island. St Andrew’s residents are worried about a proposed 15ft high mast with round dish and three antennae above a water tank at the States Dairy.

‘Why put it close to a built-up area when there is land nearby?,’ said Mike Cooper, a Le Vauquiedor resident for 40 years. ‘They might be within the guidelines and okay today, but how do you know what they will be like from one day to the next?’ he said.

Residents, who have made representations to two deputies, claimed they had been informed that Wave Telecom had told their men that when their equipment readings near masts go above a certain level they must back off. It is also claimed people should not go within 5.7m of the antennae when operational.

‘We can’t back off. Our Clos is raised above the Vauquiedor road level and will be level with the mast,’ said Mr Cooper. ‘Why are they putting it in the middle of the dairy site, right on top of the workers?

‘It’s the principle of new science being introduced and people being assured that these things are okay. If you have cancer or trouble with your brain or some other illness which is proved to be linked, it’s too late,’ said Mr Cooper.

In St Martin’s neighbours object to a 17-metre mast planned next to the milking parlour at Les Hubits Farm and one on top of St Martin’s Hotel. ‘My concerns are for people’s health and for the cattle. Les Hubits Farm is one of the largest farms on the island and it could have an effect island-wide,’ said Joan Rouget, speaking on behalf of Les Hubits neighbours.

‘The masts will be directly across the road from where I live and we will be stuck in between two. ‘We want them to prove to us they don’t cause problems.’ She said that legal action on masts could be taken against authorities that give permission and mobile phone companies.

South-east district deputy Bill Bell said: ‘My role is to ensure that their views are fully considered by the Environment Department when they are considering applications. They have to do a thorough job to satisfy themselves that the concerns of the community are fully considered.’ ‘There are clear concerns about these new generation masts,’ he said. ‘The local community want to ensure they are located in safe positions away from residential areas and the dairy does not fall into that category.’

The OUR has proposed that the power of a mast at the airport be reduced and that has been done. The latest local report warned that improvements should be made to the systems currently in place. Access to all masts should be suitably restricted and signs should be clear and prominent.

Published 12/2/2005


From Mast Network

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Published 25/1/2005

Residents ‘up in arms’ over phone mast plan

by Tom Bradshaw

A PLAN to put up a 50ft telecoms mast in St Martin’s has aroused concerns about health risks and property devaluation.

The Wave Telecom development, intended for Les Hubits Farm, is facing significant opposition from neighbours. ‘There has been a lot of evidence collated in the UK and the rest of Europe to suggest that such masts could bring cancer or leukaemia to those in the immediate proximity,’ said Joan Rouget, whose home in Les Traudes overlooks the proposed site.

‘It’s not 100%, but there is enough evidence to cause concern.’ She added that the radiation might affect the milking herd, which would have island-wide implications.

Wave Telecom managing director Tim Ringsdore said the company took such concerns very seriously and tried to allay residents’ fears. ‘Scientific research has shown that risks presented by mobile-phone sites are negligible,’ he said. ‘We continue to monitor all research being published to ensure everything we do complies with the strictest health guidelines.’ He added that Environmental Health Services had ratified every proposed installation. The application is pending a site-safety investigation. ‘I am confident the reports will come out in our favour and underline our responsible approach to these matters,’ said Mr Ringsdore. But Mrs Rouget was not convinced. ‘Just admitting there is no proof of ill effect is not good enough – what they should be doing is providing concrete evidence that they are safe.’ She added that neighbours felt betrayed by farm owner Jeremy Le Cocq offering his land for the development. Mr Le Cocq declined to comment.

‘We are not against masts, as mobile phones are vital in our society, but we are against the positioning of them so close to the homes of children and their families,’ she said. The proposed site would put the mast within 100 metres of Richard Crook’s property, the former Cloche Hotel site in Les Traudes.

‘It will dominate the view out of the living areas of our house, which is bound to have implications for the value of the property,’ he said. Mrs Rouget referred to a national newspaper article that told of a woman whose £400,000 house was devalued by £50,000 following the building of a similar-sized mast near it.

Mr Crook went to the Environment Department to study the plans and consulted the duty planning officer. He said he was happy with the proposed design, which was unimposing, but was concerned about the potential for it to be extended. ‘The initial mast looks set to be well disguised as a plain telegraph pole, but the planning officer admitted that companies wanting to put up additional aerials or antennae on the island would be encouraged to share the facility,’ he said. ‘This means it has the potential to become more and more of an eyesore over time.’

Mrs Rouget said the opposition was not confined to her lane. ‘The mast will have a visual impact and health implications across a wide area and I know a lot of people in the extended neighbourhood are up in arms.’ She produced a letter from an anonymous resident, delivered to every house in the area to drum up support for opposing the construction.

article © 25/1/2005 Guiton Group. website © 2005 Guiton Group

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