1
Aug
2005

TOUGH STANCE CERTAIN TO BE CHALLENGED

Derbyshire Telegraph

09:30 - 01 August 2005

New city council leader Chris Williamson has now adopted the most aggressive stance against mobile phone masts yet seen from within our corridors of power.

The Labour chief says he has instructed the authority's legal department to explore what measures are open to residents to fight planning applications from mobile phone companies.

He wants to show protesting residents "that they have the support of the city council" - a remarkable blanket commitment.

It will raise a few eyebrows because, up and down the land, planning officers have been sadly shaking their heads and saying that regulations leave them powerless to oppose plans for masts which are under 15 metres high.

If that is indeed the law of the land, then Mr Williamson may have to restrict his fight to the higher masts.

And, even then, he can expect to be challenged to name the sites within the city which he would deem acceptable as mast sites.

For, however electorally- damaging that would be, these things have to be put up somewhere if millions of people are to enjoy the benefit of their mobile phones.

Of course, if scientists were able to unequivocally answer the question which has been troubling people for years - do masts pose a health risk? - the issue would become more clear-cut.

If the answer is yes, then it is back to the drawing board and people would just have to find some other means of annoying fellow bus and train passengers and dicing with death behind the steering wheels of their cars.

And if they are given a clean bill of health, we'll just have to accept the phone masts as an unsightly but necessary evil.

Unless, that is, Mr Williamson is prepared to risk the wrath of Derby's phone-users and insist he is going to block all plans for masts...
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