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Anger over plan for mobile phone mast next to nature reserve

Sábado 12 de abril de 2008 · 1255 lecturas

Anger over plan for mobile phone mast next to nature reserve

Concern ... residents and councillors.
RESIDENTS have voiced their anger over plans to site a phone mast next to a South Tyneside nature reserve.

Mobile phone company O2 has made an application to the council to build a mast in Sunniside Lane, Cleadon, which leads on to Cleadon Hills.

However, ward councillors and residents say they want the plans to be thrown out.

Conservative Coun Jeff Milburn said: "It’s ridiculous putting it in the location they want. This site is entirely inappropriate.

"Not only that, there could be all sorts of health risks involved because people live just a stone’s throw away from where it’s planned to go."

Construction service Galliford Try Communications sent a letter out on behalf of O2 last month, to gauge residents’ opinions.

It stated that ’a slimline column of 12.5m in height and one small ground-based equipment cabinet’ will be placed in the lane.

This will improve the service to O2’s 18 million customers and provide additional services such as 3G.

But the letter claims unlike many of the other masts O2 has in the area, this one will be ’discreet’ and ’should become an unobtrusive feature’.

Brian Bage, secretary of the Cleadon Village Association, said: "We need to make it clear that none of us are against the use of mobile phones.

"What we are against is the location of this mast. It’s going to be placed in a very important nature reserve."

Cleadon Hills, which is owned by South Tyneside Council, is the highest point in the borough, but residents feel the panoramic views would be spoilt if the mast is placed between the Water Tower and Cleadon Windmill.

The reserve is home to number of species of wildlife including hares and the Yellowhammer bird.

A spokesman for O2 said: "The slimline monopole is a very unobtrusive structure, and as a result it will have a minimal impact on the local surroundings.

"With regard to health and safety of local residents and wildlife, the World Health Organisation’s International EMF Project has compiled many fact sheets regarding electromagnetic fields and public health.

"From all evidence accumulated so far, no adverse short or long-term health effects have been shown to occur from the radio frequency signals produced by base stations.

"Since wireless networks produce generally lower RF signals than base stations, no adverse health effects are expected from exposure to them."

A council spokesman added: "We are in the process of validating the application and consulting local residents.

"Once the application is registered, all details will be available for inspection on the council’s website.

"All views received during the consultation process will be taken into account before any decision on the application is made."

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