23
Feb
2005

Council and residents urge MPs to call for change in law

A CAMPAIGN has been launched for a law change so that planning authorities can consider the health risks of mobile phone masts.

Studies have linked radiation from mobile phones and the masts to conditions such as ear and brain tumours.

Under the current law planning committees can reject applications for masts on their visual appearance but not on the possible health dangers.

Now Poole council and residents have called on MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole Annette Brooke and Poole MP Robert Syms, to lobby the government for a change in the law.

Poole councillor Charles Meachin said: "It's appalling. The planning officers want to take health issues into consideration, but can't.

"Local people can't take into account if these masts are going to affect our children."

Residents are behind the plan after several recent failures to stop mobile masts going up:

Parents were furious when O2 was given permission to install a mast in Herbert Avenue near St Joseph's School in Poole.

A government inspector overturned East Dorset planners' rejection of a 21-metre mast in Cannon Hill Plantation - just half-a-mile from Colehill First School.

Just before Christmas residents in Branksome lost their fight to stop a mobile mast being built in The Avenue.

People protested against a mast put up in Butts Pond.

At the moment residents and dog walkers in Parkstone are fighting to stop a Vodafone mast being put up at a beauty spot, Stromboli Hill, in Clifton Road.

The Stewart report, a recent government-sponsored scientific inquiry, warned that the health risks of masts were still unknown and that care should be taken where about were they are put up.

Poole MP Robert Syms said: "The government issued circulars to say this report should be ignored.

"There may be no evidence but if we have a choice they should not be put near schools."

Mrs Brooke has already written to the Office of the deputy Prime Minister and said all mobile masts should be discussed at council. Those masts that are under 15 metres high can now be given permission by officers alone, without any discussion by planning committee members.

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