From The Daily Mail, Sunday, Aug 17th 2014
War on the phone masts
by NILUFER ATIK, Daily Mail
A mobile phone company has been banned from erecting a mast because of health fears.
The decision is the first of its kind by Government planning inspectors.
They rejected an application by Orange to erect a 30ft mast in a residential area because of the ‘serious harm’ it could cause to those living nearby.
The landmark move is expected to have major implications for hundreds of similar cases nationwide.
Community groups and safety campaigners have repeatedly expressed fears about the masts – which send and receive mobile phone signals -because of the possible radiation dangers.
There are fears of a link between microwave radiation from masts and conditions ranging from cancer to blood clots in the brain.
Orange wanted to erect the mast in Harrow, North-West London. The council refused the application last May after residents expressed their concerns.
The company appealed to John Prescott’s Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions whose inspectors also turned the application down.
They stated: ‘The need to site the installation in the location proposed does not outweigh the serious harm it would cause to neighbouring residents in terms of visual amenity and about the possible health effect.’
They claimed the company had not provided enough detail about possible radiation emissions. ‘In short, there is little in the written representations expressly relating to the appeal proposal that provides any basis for allaying the fears that neighbouring residents have about it,’ their report said.
Orange said it was ‘considering the way forward’. Although applications for mobile phone masts have previously been rejected on health grounds by councils, including Barnet, Kent and Worcester, this is the first time the matter has gone as far as the Planning Inspectorate and been rejected.
Inspectors are preparing to issue local authorities with guidelines advising them that all telecommunications companies should provide concise details about the risks of potential radiation emissions when applying to put up masts.
Harrow councillor Navin Shah said: ‘Up until now the advice to planning authorities has been that health considerations should not be taken into account, as long as the radio waves from a mast fall within recommended guidelines.
‘The appeal decision at last confirms the genuine fears of local people are being recognised.’
Last year the Stewart Report, a study by 12 experts commissioned by the Department of Health, stated that children might be more vulnerable to the low-level radiation from the masts because they have thinner skulls and a developing nervous system.
The chairman, Professor Sir William Stewart, a former Government chief scientist, stressed that, on balance, there was no scientific evidence of a threat from either mobile handsets or mobile phone masts.
However, he added, that some studies indicated they caused subtle biological effects, particularly on the electrical circuitry of the brain.
Earlier this week a government advisory panel admitted there were potential health risks for children living near electricity power lines.Leave a reply →