Council will fight phone mast laws

by Jolene Hill

This is Local London

BROMLEY Council is to take on the Government over laws which see mobile phone masts imposed on communities against the wishes of planners.

But campaigners who have fought against the masts in the borough say it is too little too late.

In an official letter to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) the council states its concerns at the "present inability through the planning process to act in the best interests of local residents".

Currently Bromley Council has to follow Government guidelines when granting applications for masts, even if residents are fiercely opposed.

Masts under 15m do not require planning permission, making it difficult to control clusters springing up in residential areas.

It says the 56-day period for councils to consider an application before it is automatically accepted is not enough to carry out adequate consultation within the community.

The letter was prompted by a proposal from Orpington councillor Chris Maines at the council meeting on June 14, who asked the Government publish up-to-date health advice on masts.

He is also calling for planning permission to be required for all but the tiniest signal boosters and public consultation be improved.

Orpington Residents Against Masts (RAM) has welcomed the action but says it should have happened long ago.

Member Sue Green said: "I'm pleased to hear this but it's a case of too little too late. It should have happened four years ago."

The council is also enlisting the help of the borough's MPs.

Orpington MP John Horam said: "This is essential and I will be writing in support of Bromley Council.

"It is wrong masts which are almost 15ft high do not require planning permission."

The independent Stewart Committee, headed by Sir William Stewart in 2000, recommended tighter planning laws as a precaution because the effects of the masts were still unknown.

This was echoed by the new chairman of the committee Professor Lawrie Challis in January, who says the health risk cannot be ruled out because not enough research has been conducted.

Omega there is enough research been conducted. See under:

11:05am Tuesday 21st June 2005


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