7
Jun
2005

Mobile Mast Protest at Rugby Club

BBC website

Protesters have prevented contractors putting up a mobile phone mast on land owned by a south Wales rugby club.

Local people began demonstrating when workers turned up at Talywain Rugby Club in Pontypool on Monday morning.

Residents, who object to Vodafone's plans on health grounds, blocked the road near Emlyn Park for a time and the contractors left about six hours later.

The firm said it was looking carefully at the situation, but it had permission and still planned to erect the mast.

One of the protesters was Malcolm Crewe, who lives about half a mile away and said he was concerned about the health of his 14-year-old grandson, who has a serious medical condition.

Mr Crewe said his daughter and several of her neighbours started the protest when the contractors arrived at about 0900BST. The protest continued until the workmen left mid-afternoon.

Mr Crewe said local people were raising money for legal action in the hope of preventing the mast ever going up.

Another protester, Colette Finch, said: "Children use the club. Under-11s and under-eights play rugby on the field and they want to put a mast there."

People in a number of areas have complained about masts amid concern over possible health risks. Last month the UK government announced new research into their location, as well as mobile phone technology.

Scientific opinion is split, and the National Radiological Protection Board has urged more research into masts.

Torfaen planners have approved Vodafone's proposals for the 15m mast

A Vodafone spokesperson said: "We have permission to install a mast at Talywain, and it's there to provide a service for mobile phone users.

"Obviously it's regrettable that some people have taken this action today and we will be looking carefully at the situation, but as it stands at the moment, we are intending to place our antenna there in order to be able to provide this service."
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