Mast plan raises child cancer fear


Congleton, Cheshire


Anxious residents in Congleton are urging the council to reject plans for a mobile telephone mast amid fears for children's health.

Concern is mounting that a built-up area heavily populated by young families could be dangerously exposed to radioactive emissions if a base station earmarked for a site near the railway station gets the go-ahead.

Although experts have yet to find firm evidence linking telephone masts to illness, the CW12 residents group, which has carried out extensive research examining the health risks posed by radioactivity, said that children were vulnerable to tumours and even cancer.

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The health alert was sounded after telecommunications firm Vodafone confirmed it would be seeking planning permission in the coming weeks to install a 15m. mast and an equipment cabin outside the Railway Hotel on Biddulph Road.

It comes just months after a Government report advised against mobile phone masts being put up near schools.

This week, campaigners were planning to meet borough council leader Roland Domleo to inform him of the health risks involved.

Ian Hawkes, (60), who lives in nearby Fenton Close, has been looking into the effects of radiation on health for the past five years and has written a booklet warning of the risks.

He said: "I am concerned over the effects the mast would have on the health of the children, as well as the rest of the residents in the neighbourhood.


"There is more and more evidence to support D.N.A. damage, tumours, and non-benign cancer being caused. or at least aggravated by, exposure to this type of radiation.

"It doesn't matter if it's high levels of exposure over a short time or low levels over a long time, in the end the result will be same."

Coun. Domleo vowed to "make sure every concern is considered", although he admitted he could not intervene with the planning procedure at this stage.

"I am surprised at the location of this site, which is why I want to make sure that every concern is fully considered," he said.

"It does concern me that there are people living very close to this site, particularly as health risks associated with telephone masts have not been confirmed or totally denied."

In a statement, Vodafone said the development "would not have any significant impact on any residential dwellings".

Also responding to residents claims that the mast would be an "eyesore" and a "blight to the community", it added: "Visual impact on the surrounding area has been kept to an absolute minimum and it is considered that an ultra slim line street works monopole will be an unobtrusive form on the existing land use."

Earlier this year widespread public concern prompted the Government to ask experts to investigate possible links between radiation exposure and illness.

The Independent Expert Group on Mobile 'Phones found from extensive research that children's developing nervous systems and thinner skulls made them likely to be more vulnerable to exposure than adults.

The report, by board chairman Sir William Stewart, also cited E.U.-backed tests which showed radiation was able to damage D.N.A. in human cells and a Swedish study linking long-term exposure to acoustic neuroma, a benign tumour deemed serious because of its positioning next to the brain.



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Juni 2005

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