12
Jul
2005

Plans to change mast regulations

by Jolene Hill

THE long campaign for health fears to become a valid objection against mobile phone masts has stepped up a gear.

Outraged residents have protested against masts of different sizes, many not requiring planning permission, springing up all over the borough.

Radiation detectors have shown high levels in homes close to masts and residents believe the waves are linked to ill-health.

Now Bromley Council is asking the Government for health issues to be considered when looking at planning permission for masts.

It also wants developers to apply for planning permission for all masts, not just the larger ones.

But some residents believe the council's action is too little, too late.

They say back in 2000 the independent Stewart Committee recommended tighter planning laws as a precaution because the effects of masts on health were still unknown.

The committee also said in January this year health risks could not be ruled out because not enough research has been carried out.

Angela Shields, 37, moved to her home on Footbury Hill Road, Orpington, near the BT telephone exchange on Chislehurst Road, in 2000.

When a mast went up in February, Mrs Shields and her family experienced nose-bleeds, headaches and insomnia until they arranged their furniture away from the signal.

She said: "The masts are breeding like flies and so many people from Bromley have bad health effects but no-one has listened."

There is currently no scientific evidence to prove the link and laws do not allow councils to consider health concerns.

Councillor Chris Maines proposed the idea of asking the Government to change the regulations over objections.

He said: "This would allow us to come down on the side of health concerns. It would be up to the developer to prove masts are safe."

Deputy council leader Councillor Graham Arthur said: "We are calling on the Government to give us the powers so people can have their say on all masts and antennae."
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