Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More Mast Fuss

I see that the Ursuline College phone mast story appeared in the Thanet Times yesterday and since I last wrote about the subject - below - , North Thanet MP, Roger Gale, has emailed me to tell me that he "Has written to the Council on behalf of St Angelas and the Ursuline opposing the plan on both health and (more constructively) road safety grounds. I have also met with Hutchison /3G personally to explain my concerns to them."

Add this, to a comment from an old friend who was head of the Radio Telecommunications Agency, who describes placing phone masts in school grounds as "crass", then we have, what I believe is a local tide of support against the idea.

The problem is now one of planning as government doesn't recognise any health-risk objection. Local councils, as you know, have their hands tied by central government where planning regulations are concerned, so I'm trying to ascertain what valid objections might lead to a compromise that would keep everyone happy.

Just to recap, Ursuline Head teacher Sister Alice Montgomery is fighting plans by Hutchinson 3G to put a mast outside the school on Canterbury Road, Westgate.

Sister Alice, 55, dubbed it 'madness', adding: "Experts simply do not know enough about the technology. It has the potential to harm young people. We have 1,000 children here and King Ethelbert school next door also has 1,000 walking past the site every day. If the worst happens, trying to prove someone's health is linked to a mast is virtually impossible.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a parent with two children at Ursuline, I forwarded my complaint on 3 grounds:
1. health & safety in regard to emissions.
2. unsightly intrusive security fencing will be needed on a pretty suburban thoroughfare.
3. The footprint creates a serious choke-point on a pavement and verge used by hundreds of children exiting the school and as kid will be kids, those on the outside of a gaggle moving past this chokepoint will be forced to step into a dual-carriageway with speeding traffic going past at 40mph.

I am suspicious that Hutchinson/3G put an application for this mast in with a batch of others in order to have the heat turned on this site with the expectation that it will fail. Whilst all the PR is turned on this site, they quietly get all their others approved. Does anyone have information on the location of the others that Hutchinson have applied for?

Tom King chairman Westgate and Westbrook residents association said...

Whilst i am in full support with protest against the Ursuline mast,i feel that Thanet NORTH M P Roger Gale is applying double standards with his involvement in this matter.Two years prior on behalf of the local residents association I wrote to him to enlist his help regarding another mast installation on the junction of Westbury road and St Mildreds road,his reply was 'it is a planning matter' and declined to involve himself further.
I feel that our elected representatives at ALL LEVELS should act with consistantcy and sincerity at all times and not pick and choose as it appears in this case, where no doubt the forth coming elections have influenced Mr Gales action.
I would strongly maintain the WWRA's policy of objection to this mast application and hope that the council's planning committee will find common sense to reject it.

DrMoores said...

To be fair to Roger Gale, he's quite correct Tom.. the government has tied the hands of local councils and one has to come up with much stronger objections that fall within the planning or public safety remit.

Anonymous said...

Anon of 9:21 am has made 2 valid planning objections even if the emissions safety is not a valid planning consideration. Canterbury Road is dangerous and we intend to make it more dangerous by removing a huge chunk of the pedestrian space outside a busy school? We must be mad to even contemplate allowing this mast to be placed there!

Anonymous said...

About 0.8% of properties lay close to high voltage installations. The radiological protection benchmark appears to be the amount of current the electromagnetic field can induce in the human body. I think this is subject to the same principle as the benchmark for radio masts which is the microwave heating capacity on body cells. When a phone mast is erected near a high voltage installation then the two principles of protection in the absence of complete knowledge) combine to make a lesser principle of protection.

Anyways Vodaphone moved their mast after I sent this argument to a council. You cannot add two risks and emerge with an equal or lesser risk.

It seems to be accepted that children who live near high voltage are at double the risk of leukemia. Oddly it also seems that the children of high voltage electricians are at similar risk even when not themselves exposed to the em fields !

Lots to learn Dr M.

What we can be sure of is that when backup power failed at Dounreay in 1998 there was a nuclear leak incident doing no one any good ? So we seem to be at greater health risk from unreliable backup emergency power than from phone masts or high voltage installations ?