Phone masts 'unstoppable'

Jul 6 2005

by Fiona Scott Evening Telegraph Coventry

A city councillor is complaining about laws which he says allow phone companies a lot of freedom in putting up mobile phone masts.

Cllr Gary Ridley (Con, Sherbourne) highlighted the national issue while backing electors who are protesting against a second mobile phone mast near their homes.

T-Mobile recently won approval to put a 36ft mast, disguised as a street light, at the junction of Holyhead Road and Grayswood Avenue, Chapelfields.

It was previously turned down for a higher mast in the same place because it would look "conspicuous and incongruous".

Cllr Ridley criticised national rules which mean councils cannot turn down masts less than 58.5ft high except on a few criteria.

He said: "In reality, the council could not stop this mast from going ahead but these masts have quietly and slyly taken over our living environment and local people can do nothing to stop them.

"This is the slow death of democracy."

Phone companies have by law "permitted development rights" for phone masts, meaning they do not have to apply for full planning permission. Instead, they give notice of going ahead and councils have a limited time in which to protest.

Cllr Ridley added: "The government ignored independent recommendations to revoke mobile operators' permitted development [rights] which would have meant operators applying for full planning permission - meaning local people continue to be ignored.

"No-one wants to live near these things - they are ugly, intrusive and they may well start to affect the local house prices."

People living nearby fear there's a health risk - even though T-Mobile had to submit documentation showing any radiation from the mast was within approved national guidelines.

Anne Martin, of Bevington Crescent, Coundon, said: "Our main fear is the unknown risks to health. If you start reading up on it all, it's not proven either way.

Omega the risks to health are known. See under:

"There's already one [a phone mast] on that corner and there are others in that area that we know of."


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Juli 2005

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