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The Independent on Sunday, 27 May 2007

Phone mast locations kept from public

Domingo 27 de mayo de 2007 · 1223 lecturas

The Independent on Sunday, 27 May 2007

Phone mast locations kept from public
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Published: 27 May 2007

Mobile phone companies and the Government’s official regulator are keeping
information about the siting of radiation-emitting masts secret, despite
rising concern about effects they may have on health.
The companies have stopped disclosing the sites of newly erected masts in
what critics describe as "a fit of pique". And Ofcom, the communications
industry regulator has refused to release information because it is afraid
this might make the firms even more secretive.
News of the cover-up came as Sir William Stewart, the Government’s top
health protection watchdog, publicly voiced concerns about the possible
effects of the radiation from the masts and Wi-Fi installations, and called
for a "timely" official review.
His comments on BBC’s Panorama followed an exclusive report in The
Independent on Sunday five weeks ago that Sir William was pressing for a
formal investigation. A former government chief scientist - and now chairman
of the Health Protection Agency - he has chaired two official inquiries,
which raised questions about the safety of mobile phones.
The first, in 2000 concluded a "national database" should be set up
containing "reliable and openly available information about the location" of
all masts and mobile phone base stations.
The industry set up a database in the form of a map, now hosted by Ofcom.
Critics complained that it was hard to use even though the Stewart Inquiry
had said it "should be easy to identify all base stations within a defined
geographical area".
Ofcom is now facing a Freedom of Information action to get it to disclose
nationwide information in the site on request. As a result, it says: "The
mobile network operators have decided not to provide any further information
to Ofcom about sites they build or change."
Alasdair Philips, director of Powerwatch, an information service on the
radiation says: "It beggars belief that the mobile phone companies should
stop putting up the limited information that they have provided in the past.
It looks like a fit of pique."
’IoS’ breaks Wi-Fi story
’The Independent on Sunday’, 2 April
Report on Sir William Stewart’s call for an inquiry into the health risks of
’Daily Mail’, 21 May
Reports that health watchdog calls for inquiry into Wi-Fi networks
’The Daily Telegraph’, 21 May
Front-page story on concerns over Wi-Fi in networks in schools

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