A LEADING mobile 'phone company has moved to quell the storm of protest over its mast in Formonthills Road.

Last week's Gazette revealed how angry residents tried to block workmen from erecting the 15-metre-high monopole after it had been taken away for repairs.

But the firm behind the equipment, O2, has expressed its disappointment at the way events have unfolded. Ken Leitch, O2's regional communications manager, said the company appreciated that locals had concerns. However, he maintained there is no evidence of a link between masts and ill health. "We've been in discussions with the community council and they've put a number of options to us," Mr Leitch said. "Unfortunately, it's just not possible for us to move the mast. "These things are not cheap and it costs quite a lot of money - we're talking tens of thousands of pounds. "It's just not commercially viable for us to do that. "But we are extremely concerned by some of the tactics that have been used and it is extremely disappointing that these things happen."

The mast had to be removed after it was badly vandalised, although O2 has now fitted CCTV cameras to its replacement as a deterrent. Mr Leitch revealed that much of the research now being done was focusing on mobile handsets, as opposed to masts themselves. And he maintained that masts were much less powerful than TV or radio transmitters. "All I can do is point people to the research and I would just have to re-iterate the message that the balance of evidence says there is no risk," he continued.

Omega this is just and plain not true. There is much risk. See under http://omega.twoday.net/topics/Wissenschaft+zu+Mobilfunk/

"I don't have a crystal ball, but all we can do is look at what is there at the moment. "The more masts there are, the less work your phone has to do. "I would tell people that are using mobile 'phones to use handsfree kits wherever possible. "But we welcome people's comments and all we can do is give people a bit more education on mobile technology, which we do on a number of occasions."

Despite the reassurances, Councillor Bill Kay said the whole affair had "alienated" the community in north Glenrothes. He said: "It was very cursory the way the company went about things - they followed the strict legal requirements for consultation and I feel they didn't go any further than that."

But Mr Leitch responded: "The council has been quite happy that we carried out a sufficient level of consultation and I'm satisfied that our officials have done their job to the best of their abilities."

25 May 2005


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