There are 176 masts located near schools, homes and offices

THE location of hundreds of mobile phone masts in the borough can be revealed for the first time.

A POST investigation reveals that there are 176 masts located near schools, homes and offices.

Our research also reveals that several council accommodation blocks still have mobile phone masts on roofs.

The POST understands that the council is tied to lengthy contracts with the mobile phone giants which it can not break.

Many families are furious by our revelations but said they had no choice when it came to being allocated council housing.

Tory Chadwell Heath councillor Terry Justice has called for greater transparency when it comes to the siting of masts.

Mr Justice said: "Just because they rent doesn't mean that they don't have any say in terms of what's above them."

Old people's home Kilsby Walk in Lodge Avenue, Dagenham, has more than nine antennae on the roof.

In Dagenham alone, there are masts on Highview House, Laburnum House, Millard Terrace, Cadiz Court and Bassett House.

Our research also reveals that Sydney Russell School in Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham, has a mast just metres from the school gates.

Barking and Dagenham Council has refused to reveal how much it is being paid by the mobile phone giants to have masts on their properties. But a spokeswoman for pressure group Mast Sanity said that it could command upwards of £20,000 per year for each site.

The investigation also reveals how St Albans Church in Dagenham even has a mobile phone mast hidden in its bell tower.

Team Rector Ann Clarke said all the money received was ploughed back into the church.

Staff working at Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust's HQ will also be surprised to learn that there are more than 12 antennae on the roof.

Crown House, in Linton Road, Barking, Golds Gym in Rainham Road South, Dagenham, and Crown House in Linton Road, Barking, are other mast hotspots.

The rise in the number of masts in built-up area comes despite protests from campaigners and families living nearby.

Many are concerned about the possible health risks from the masts and the fact that masts have been linked to cases of leukaemia in children.

Only last week parents scored a rare victory against Vodafone's plans to put a mast just yards away from William Bellamy School.

A comprehensive study led by Sir William Stewart on behalf of the Government in 2002 looked into the possible health risks.

Although the study concluded that there were no proved general risks associated with living next to a mast, it called for a more "precautionary approach" to the siting of base stations.

We obtained a copy of the borough's telecommuncations register, which lists the location of every mast, under the recently introduced Freedom of Information Act.

The Act allows previously confidential documents to be made public.


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August 2005

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