Phone mast fury GROWS

Pendle Today

RESIDENTS have accused mobile phone companies of putting profit before health and trying to divide communities on the issue of phone masts.

Pendle Residents against Insensitive Siting of Masts (PRISM) vowed to fight proposals to erect a transmitter on Hibson Road , Nelson, during a public meeting at Nelson Town Hall on Tuesday.
Vodafone has applied for permission to site the unit at the El Tropicano club.

Deputy mayor of Pendle, Coun. George Adam, who chaired the meeting, said: "To apply for this mast to be sited right in the middle of a residential area and very close to local schools is outrageous. But we can stop it, and the fight starts here."

College science lecturer, Mr Gary Bird, who set up PRISM with chairman Colin Hornby, said the main reason for the new mast is to provide a service to users of "third generation technology" (3G).
Mr Bird said the government has given operators until 2007 to roll out 80 per cent of the 3G network, with penalties to be paid if the target is not met.

He said: "This technology is being forced upon us where there is little or no demand for it. Profit is being put before health for the sake of what are basically big boys' toys."

Mr Bird called on the people of Pendle to unite and stand up to big companies.

He said: "This sort of thing divides communities and puts people at odds with eachother. Companies propose a site in one ward, like Vodafone did with Walverden, then move onto the next when it is refused. If it goes ahead in another area then people living nearby will be unhappy with residents in the other wards who fought it off."
The plans, which have been recommended for approval by council planning officers, will be discussed by Pendle Council's Nelson Committee on Monday.

Members of PRISM will collect signatures on a petition outside the schools near the proposed site, and will present it to the committee that evening.

Miss Jackie Nike, who protested over another mast site in Barrowford, said: "I spoke to two headteachers about it. One didn't want to get involved, and the other was horrified but did nothing to stop it. I would urge mums and dads, aunties and uncles to go to schools, let them know you are worried and get them involved."
One local doctor said all humans are susceptible to electro-magnetic fields and pulsed microwave signals used by the units. He said: "They can act as a trigger for people with low immune systems. Children and pregnant women are particularly at risk, and it is ridiculous that companies can even think of putting masts near schools."

Councillors will decide on Monday whether to give the go ahead for the base station to be erected.

Vodafone would have the right to appeal if the committee votes against the officer's recommendation and refuses permission.

03 June 2005


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