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14/07/2002 - Planning and Phone Masts

Orange is having problems finding a site in Crediton in Devon, that does not meet with opposition from residents. This may have something to do with attempts to site a mast in totally inappropriate sites, not making use of their existing site and poor PR. One of their two existing sites, on the edge of town, pointing into the town, resulted in high radiofrequency fields passing straight through houses.

4 residents in line of the beam developed cancer, including a 3-year-old girl, who, now aged 6, was sadly been re-admitted to hospital on 12th July with a recurrence of leukaemia. One man has subsequently died. 2 Orange visits identified 12 alternative sites and they opted for a site - wait for it - where the beam passes through (other) houses 100 metres away on the way to the town! Mid Devon District Council has brought in planning regulations which prevents masts being erected with 500 metres of homes because of health fears. At a recent meeting between campaigners and Orange, the company was told to reconsider its proposal. More options have been proposed and Orange has agreed to rethink its plans and come up with an alternative in six weeks. "There are three key criteria in choosing a site: meeting planning considerations, striking an agreement with the landowner and meeting our technical criteria. Finding an acceptable site is not easy. We are very pleased to have this dialogue with the residents and are keen to find a solution, but it does take time," an Orange spokesperson said.

Funny how nothing was said about the other Orange site in town on the industrial estate. Can it be that Orange has forgotten this one?

A building in Marylebone, London has had another 7 mobile phone masts installed over the weekend by Hutchison 3G, despite the protests of its 700 residents and a lack of planning permission from Westminster Council. Westminster's spokeswoman added: "We will be taking enforcement action against 3. In light of the fact that it got planning permission refusal and failed to cooperate by providing us with plans, it puts the company in a rather bad light." A 3G spokesman said that the plans had been changed to bring them in line with the planning requirements since the Council's refusal. The council had been informed but had not responded. This lack of response was taken for acceptance.

Families in Eccles were delighted when the city council turned down plans for a phone mast near their homes until on the day of the World Cup final, workmen arrived and started to put it up anyway. Apparently the town hall had received the planning application in late October, and the council did not post a letter telling Hutchison 3G of their decision to refuse the mast until December 21, 54 days later. Due to Christmas post delays it missed the deadline of 56 days. The residents of Eccles might submit formal complaints to the Council. A dossier of complaints from the public might well stand them in good stead if any legal process is initiated. The learning experience is that the council, not the developer, has to prove when the developer received the decision about the application.

The Campaign for Planning Sanity gives the following recommendation with respect to how to use the limited amount of money usually available to campaign groups in fighting appeals against planning application rejections. Consider very carefully the expensive option of a qualified legal team. Planning consultants can do the job for a quarter of the price of a barrister, and they do not need a solicitor instructing as well. There is a special legal aid fund recently set up, although the application must be made by a solicitor. Note this fund will not support just any old public inquiry, there have to be exceptional circumstances. If legal aid is not available, instruct a lesser advocate and save any real money for employing expert witnesses. Chris Maile of the Campaign for Planning Sanity says, the primary reason why all the recent planning appeals were lost was due not to the quality of the representation but the lack of credible, expert witnesses capable of seriously challenging the operators witnesses.

Orange applied for planning permission for a 10-metre high mast in Thurston, near Norwich, earlier this year. The application was rejected on visual grounds, so they applied for a smaller eight-metre high mast. Local residents are infuriated "We are going to fight this all the way. It is in exactly the same place, over looking the whole village." This includes the village school. It is the sixth time a mobile phone company has targeted the village. A Council planning officer said "This is the third application of this kind from the same operator for this particular site. The committee will consider it on August 15."

In another area, operators are continuing to put in applications for sites that have proven to be unacceptable twice, over a three year span. The current application is for three operators to share an 81- foot structure, a site with a history of community objections (350 letters). What has happened to the FEI commitments which operators have signed up to, which includes community consultation? Or perhaps there is no assurance that, having consulted, they will take account of it?

Southend Council has rejected a 3G mast on the grounds of height (12 metres) and the perceived health fear. They now want all masts rejected.

A high powered Orange mast in Nottingham Place, London W1 has just been decorated with a pair of discrete (4 inches x 2 inches) new yellow warning signs. Our COM showed up to 6.5 V/m at a distance of 5 metres from this mast. The sign says 'Caution: Radio Transmitters, Do not approach closer than 0.2 metres Contact Orange 01454-624888'. We hope people's eyesight is good enough to read it from more than 0.2 metres away, or you'll get fried, courtesy of Orange.

Microwaves under specific conditions of exposure affect lymphocytes in healthy and electrosensitive people, according to a recent Swedish paper entitled "Effects of ELF and Microwaves on human lymphocytes from hypersensitive persons" by I. Belyaev et al. GSM modulated microwaves have been previously shown to affect brain blood barrier in rats [Persson, B.R.R., Salford, L.G., and Brun, A. Blood-Brain Barrier permeability in rats exposed to electromagnetic fields used in wireless communication. Wireless Networks 3, 455-461, 1997]. In some cases, cells from electrosensitive people responded more strongly than cells from control subjects. The researchers recommend further investigation.

In the March edition of "BIO - Health for Bodies, Spirit and Soul" it was reported that in Bernried in Germany, a calf was born earlier this year with his heart outside his body, and two other calves died. The vet, Dr. Werner Kahn, believes that the six mobile radio antennas situated in the pasture are responsible for the malformation and deaths. His personal experience is that these problems occur more frequently in farms with antennas. The Bavarian Department of the Environment has requested a study on the prevalence of cattle deformities, looking at laboratory testing to ascertain whether these are a result of general DNA changes.

"Cellular Telephone Russian Roulette" by ex long-term Motorola phone engineer Robert Kane has apparently become very difficult to obtain - it is apparently no longer being stocked by most major booksellers! elektrosmognews.de, a German website which is outspoken about the health effects of microwave pollution, had recommended Kane's book in a newsletter to their large number of readers the previous week. After their recommendation it seemed to disappear suddenly from the German market. The book could not be bought anymore at amazon.de or any German bookstore! As you can imagine, conspiracy theories abounded about what had caused this apparent disappearance. The public theorising (or some other factor) has resulted in the book now returning to Amazon's USA website.

Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, director general of the World Health Organization, attending a global conference on cancer, joins Sir William Stewart and many other eminent people in urging caution with respect to the use of mobile phones by children. She says that not enough is known about the potential health effects.

Independent commission to study German radar cancer claims

Germany's Defence Ministry is to cooperate fully with an independent commission authorised by Parliament to study claims by more than 2000 former German soldiers who claim to have developed cancer after working on radar systems, according to Walter Kolbrow, parliamentary state secretary of the Defence Ministry.

The Campaign for Planning Sanity says in their Mast Briefing that any local authority that attempts to operate a blanket ban on phone masts, whether that was by exclusions or by policy would have their decisions overturned. So how might it be achieved? The answer lies in the main text of the General Permitted Development Order, which was not updated last year and can be found on the Stationery Office Site. Article 4 'Directions restricting permitted development' sets out what is in effect a form of exclusion zone. The Direction would have to be confirmed by the Secretary of State.