17
Mrz
2005

Fears that plans will cause mast hysteria

CONTROVERSIAL plans to sight eight new mobile phone masts across Northfied, Frankley, Longbridge and Rubery have been unveiled this week.

And, what residents in the area will find more worrying, is that an estimated further 200 masts are set to flood Birmingham later this year.

Of the eight proposed for South Birmingham, four are located in Northfield on the roof of Home Bargains, Bristol Road South, Frankley Reservoir, Frankley Lane and Bournville College, Bristol Road South.

Two in Rubery on Great Park Complex and Rushmore House, Cock Hill Road with a further two in Longbridge on EME Rednal, Longbridge Lane and the electricity sub-station, Tessal Lane.

The final one in Frankley is located on the corner of Frogmill Road and Tay Road.

Birmingham City Council pulls in £641,000 a year from contracts with 13 mast operators including T-Mobile, O2 and Hutchison 3G.

T-Mobile and 3G have told the city council planning department they were looking for a further 91 locations, but in many cases residents would not be aware that a site was on their doorstep.

There has been increased public concern about the safety of masts and, while experts admit there is too little research available to confirm their safety, anti-mast campaigners claim the electro-magnetic emissions can cause cancer, nausea and fatigue.

Despite the fears, the companies insist the technology is not a danger to people's health and with more than 50million UK mobile phone users say they are reacting to consumer demand.

The Standard reported back in November how Northfield Conservative parliamentary candidate Vicky Ford was campaigning for a change in current legislation to make it more difficult for providers to put masts up. Currently, because mobile phone masts are deemed as a necessity, they are exempt from normal planning guidelines.

A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said: "The policy concerning telecommunications mast on city council land or buildings is currently under consideration by a scrutiny committee.

"A report is expected to go to City Council in June." But she added that many of the decisions on masts are taken by central Government.


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