Cellular Towers, Radiation and Health Effects on school populations.
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A Parliamentary Environment Committee, extract from proceedings 1-12-99 :

Vodafone said that planning authorities could take enforcement action against operators that did not construct their apparatus in accordance with their licence.

The difficulty with telecommunications apparatus is that the health effects are ill defined, if at all. It will be some years before that research is conclusive, if ever. At the moment, there is insufficient evidence provided (by patently wilfully negligent suits) to allow the planning authority to base a refusal on health grounds. Telecommunications apparatus is ubiquitous. Preventing the siting of apparatus at a school, for example, may not prevent health effects were the apparatus to be sited across the road, where we might have no control (ah! so that's an excuse for giving the polluter unfettered freedom to pollute?). Furthermore, the industry would (unscrupulously) argue that there might be no health effect, or that there might be less of an effect (notably, the claims of nil effect put about by the lies and half truths of NRPB and industry apologists, have been recently dropped), if the apparatus were sited on the building rather than across the road.

Health is a material planning consideration for a wide range of planning applications. A planning officer ordinarily will not have a health qualification, so the system requires a consultation to be issued to an appropriate body, typically the Health and Safety Executive (hardly "an appropriate" source of reliable opiniuon - it's an arm of a government that's increasingly reflecting the characteristics of a techno-illiterate fuhrer who brandishes a  bizarre vision, spoonfed by predatory transnational corporations, of the UK as "a world e-commerce hub", mysteriously founded on an education system described by his own chairman of Commons Education Select Committee as a "scandalous under-utilisation of resources"), for specific technical advice. That comes back to the planning authority and is put into the balance along with all the other considerations. The concept of health as a material consideration is already established. There has been at least one if not more court cases in England that have confirmed that, in terms of telecoms developments, health is a material consideration.

The problem arises because we do not have good advice. Not to be disparaging in any way to your other witnesses—for example, the NRPB—but there is no good advice or clear information one way or the other about the weight that an authority should give to the health issue. As a result, an authority is unable to attach any weight to the health issue. So, it is a material consideration, but unfortunately we are unable to address it because of an absence of evidence. That is for another party to address.

If the planning authority were to ask the HSE or NRPB, the information that it would get back might be unhelpful. Nobody would dispute that.

If we ask our environmental health colleagues and they in turn ask the local health board for an opinion, that raises the question about who in the health board should respond. Do we ask a cancer specialist or a public health generalist? The committee had evidence from Dr Helene Irvine, who may give a different view from a cancer specialist. How does an authority know which advice it should take?

Health is already a material planning consideration. Are we saying that each of the local authorities could take their own opinion, under planning guidelines for telephone masts, as to whether to allow them?  Do local authorities have the right to introduce it?

They have the right, but they would not exercise it because they do not have the evidence on which to base any judgment.

It is a material planning consideration already, but it is not implemented?

Basically, yes.

The executive has said that, in principle, it is willing to introduce a precautionary principle and to introduce cordons sanitaires.

If cordons sanitaires and the precautionary principle were established, existing facilities that did not meet the new standards would become the focus of political initiatives and intense public concern. In such circumstances, we would want to do something about such facilities, particularly those that were not likely to be overtaken quickly by the new wave of technology. We would want to consider ways of extinguishing existing consents or to set in motion action that would cause them to be relocated or substantially redesigned.

The vast majority of sites do not have planning permissions granted by the council; they have been granted through development orders by Parliament. The prickly issue of compensation would certainly be raised if operators were forced to leave sites and establish new ones. The cost of revocation orders themselves, never mind the cost of physically moving installations, would be significant.

If the operator had not agreed to the revocation on a voluntary-cum-compensation basis, would you have had to go court?


Blair 's true colours

Sickly pupils 'recover' from (orange) mast illnessEvening Standard 17-Oct-2000

A mother who withdrew her daughter from school in protest at the placing of a mobile phone mast in its grounds says the girl's health has improved dramatically.

Debbie Collins feared Rhiannon, seven, was being exposed to potentially cancer-causing radiation.

She says the youngster had suffered severe headaches, regular nose bleeds and stomach pains since mobile phone giant Orange installed a 15-metre mast next to her classroom.

A year after she became the first parent in Britain to withdraw her child over the issue, Mrs Collins says Rhiannon has only had to see the doctor once since.

Mrs Collins's claim has been backed by Sue Brooker, 36, who also removed her son Jake, nine, from Bedonwell Junior School in Belvedere, Kent.

Mother-of-two Mrs Brooker says Jake has also stopped complaining about stomach and head pains.

Mrs Collins said: "Many people, even experts, thought I was wrong to take Rhiannon out of school after she had suffered more than a year of health misery.

"But after watching her progress and the dramatic change in her during the past 12 months I know I was right.

"Rhiannon went to the doctor eight times in the year before I removed her from school. But in the past 12 months she's only been to see him once. Her headaches have gone and there have been no problems with her stomach.

"She's a different child now - it's all the proof I need to convince me there is a link between those wretched masts and the health of children."

Since June last year, Mrs Collins has taught Rhiannon at home and insists her improvement in health has nothing to do with less stress or contact with other children.

She added: "Rhiannon still has regular contact with other children. It wasn't the stress of school that caused her problems, I'm convinced of that." The mast at the centre of the row was built in 1995 in the heart of the school, five metres from classrooms and less than 20 metres from a nursery.

When health fears about a possible link between radiation from phone masts and young children emerged, Mrs Collins and a group of 150 parents at the 850-pupil school formed an action group to have the mast removed. But, despite a long process of complaints, petitions, meetings and direct action, the mast still stands.

According to Mrs Collins, 18 other pupils have since been removed from the school.

Mrs Brooker, who moved her son to Belmont School some 10 miles away, added: "During the holidays when he was away from the mast Jake's condition would seem to improve.

"I needed no more proof than that. This term he started at a new school and I can already see the change in him. His memory has improved and his headaches have gone."

Mrs Brooker and Mrs Collins say that, although their children appear to be safe and well, they will continue to fight for a change in the law.

Mrs Collins added: "I believe there is a conspiracy of silence on this issue. "I don't need an expert to tell me the masts are safe. I have seen for myself they are not. If they are safe why have countries like America, Australia and France all banned the masts from schools.

"We have sent letters to Tony Blair but he has not replied. In November we are due to meet with the school governors to plead with them once more to remove the masts but we are not hopeful."

The school's head teacher, Ivor Gordo, declined to comment on the mothers' claims. However, a spokesman for Bexley council said it had appealed to orange to remove the masts, but orange refused to back down, saying radiation levels fell well within the Government guidelines (based on cooking effects only).

He added: "The education authority is still awaiting more powers from central government to allow it to do more about the masts." (in flat contradiction of the evidence given to the Parliamentiary committee (above) - however, that doesn't excuse Blair's scandalous lack of response to a growing body of evidence including Precautionary Principle recommendations in the Stewart report, nor his discourtesy towards distraught parents asking for help to protect their children from predatory anti-communitarian companies in Blairite britain).

Stark contrast

Posh private 'prep' schools in leafy Hampstead, have successfully campaigned to block planning permission for a One2One base station overlooking the schools.

During the campaign, "an officer" lied about the fact that health effects are a material planning consideration, to the planning committee, but despite that setback, the phone company eventually "backed off" and the owner of property that was to accomodate the station, rejected the offer of large rent and   withdrew permission. At the time of writing, there isn't any news about the town hall liar.

Unfortunately the children attending two ordinary primary schools situated in a sink housing 'estate', in the same town hall district, aren't so lucky. They have to endure the output of a powerful ORANGE macrocell base station that overlooks both schools and beams radiation directly at school buildings and playgrounds.

It isn't suggested that 'influence' or discrimination subvert children's fundamental human rights in Blairite britain.

To return to orange index click HERE

Dr. Neil Cherry's paper on base stations is HERE


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