'Cancer street' residents admit loss

by Charlie Stong

Wanstead and Woodford Guardian

AFTER almost four years of fighting, residents living in a street plagued by mobile phone masts admit that big business has finally won the day.

Carnarvon Road in South Woodford was dubbed 'cancer street' in 2001 as we revealed that five out of seven houses next to a mobile phone base station were homes to victims of the disease.

At the time there were 16 masts on the one station in Carnarvon Road, and an independent study revealed the street contained some of the worst microwave levels' of any street in the country.

However, another study in 2002 said that radiation emissions in Carnarvon Road were below Government guidelines.

In May, 2003, three more masts were erected on the Forest House site after a Bristol-based planning inspectorate overturned Redbridge Council's decision to veto the plans. But physicist Dr Peter Wright, who lives in the road and who has in the past helped the cancer victims in their battle against the phone giants, this week reluctantly admitted the companies may have finally won the day.

He said: "It's very sad to say, but we have all but given up the ghost now.

"Sadly everyone these days seems to want a mobile phone. Mobile phone masts are popping up everywhere, the Government earns massive revenue from the industry and the companies are now global.

"Unfortunately, it seems that big business has won the day," he added. Another resident Constance Nash, who is waiting for the all-clear after a fight against breast cancer, feared her disease may have been linked to the masts some of which have been in the street for 20 years. This week, the 84-year-old admitted that she too was getting fed up with the situation and couldn't campaign against the companies any more. The Government received an instant £22.5bn from selling third generation (3G) licences, and the tax from phone companies is now worth more than £1bn per year.

A statement from watchdog PowerWatch said: "They're promoting mobile communications and have made it very difficult for local planning authorities to refuse mast applications."

Ilford North MP Lee Scott has spoken in the House of Commons and signed an early day motion calling on the Government to give more power to local authorities when it comes to rejecting mast applications. He said it was wrong that masts could still not be rejected purely on health grounds.

Dr Wright added: "It's just like smoking. By the time everyone finds out about the dangers people are already doing it. We should change the health grounds law but it seems it is too late."


3:00pm Sunday 12th June 2005


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