7
Jul
2005

It's no to phone mast

This is Gwent

PEOPLE power helped convince councillors in Gwent to refuse planning permission for a telephone mast 50 metres from a school playground.

Residents in Thornhill, Cwmbran, had campaigned to stop mobile phone company O2 erecting a 12.5-metre mast near Woodlands Infants and Junior School.

A petition of 300 signatures was handed to Torfaen council and a local resident spoke to the planning committee on behalf of the community. The campaign was backed by ward members Councillors John Cunningham and Mary Barnett, who praised the efforts of local people.

Councillors went against a recommendation by planning chiefs to approve the application, citing its close proximity to the school and potential "health effects", as well as "visual intrusion" as their main reasons. Councillor Cunningham said he was "thrilled" with the decision. "I am glad the committee decided to take the precautionary approach," he added.

Speaking to the committee, Nicky Rees, a resident of Thornhill Close, said the government's Stewart Report in 2000 had urged a "precautionary approach" as far as mobile technology was concerned, particularly with regard to schools.

She added: "There is no proof they can damage people's health - neither is there any proof they are safe."

Omega there is proof they can damage people's health. See under: //www.buergerwelle.de/body_science.html

Mrs Rees said regulations in New Zealand and Australia specified a minimum distance of 300m between masts and schools or houses. Residents also voiced concerns about the effect the mast could have on medical equipment such as pacemakers.

An independent report by an executive agency of the department of health found no interference between phone transmitters and medical equipment.

A spokesman from O2 said in response to the council's decision: "Health and safety issues are of prime importance to us and we are sensitive to public concerns, but there is no evidence linking the use of mobile telephony with adverse health effects. This is one of the most studied areas of science.

Omega there is evidence linking the use of mobile telephony with adverse health effects. See under: //www.buergerwelle.de/body_science.html

"The demand for mobile phone coverage is at its greatest in the areas where people live and work, and inevitably this means from time to time there will be schools nearby.

"It is clear we need to provide the best service for the customer. Without a network of mobile phone masts, mobile phones won't work."

l Last month, campaigners in Talywain, near Pontypool , blocked Vodafone workers from putting up a mast on the grounds.
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