In a laudable move giving priority to the welfare of employees,
tenants, and others, Drummond Estates have refused to allow TETRA
masts to be sited on their land until the health issues have been resolved.
TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) is the highly controversial new
communication system being rolled out by operator Airwave for the police.
Plans for a mast in Glen Artney in south west Perthshire were spotted
by concerned residents in the area and representatives of the estate
were invited to a packed public meeting on the subject in Comrie.
They heard talks by Ray Weldon, supported by Josh Berle and Gary
Orman from Airwave, and Arthur Jarrett, spokesman on TETRA matters in
Scotland for Mast Sanity, and Richard Norton of NO2TETRA, Fife.
Following the talks and questions, the overwhelming consensus of the
meeting was that the Scottish Executive should grant an immediate
moratorium until the safety of the system has been established.
The recent decision by Drummond Estates is some consolation for the
community whose Council wrote a strongly worded letter to Airwave
last week, on the same day that signs of construction of a TETRA mast
began on a site close to homes and the primary school, and putting
the whole village of 2000 people in the high risk zone, which is
considered to extend to a radius of 2km from the mast.
Both the TETRA petition organised by Comrie Action on TETRA and one
from Fife NO2TETRA are being discussed today by the Scottish
Parliament Communities Committee who have received responses to
requests for information from the Scottish Executive and the
Association of Chief Police Officers.
In addition to stories of its technological redundancy, before the
Airwave infrastructure is even in place, the TETRA system has caused
consternation across Britain as people have learned that its
radiation contains a pulse close to the rhythms of human brainwaves,
and of the implications this has for nerve function and the immune system.
The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, chaired by Sir William
Stewart, recommended in their report to government on "Mobile
Phones and Health" in May 2000 that &ldots;"as a
precautionary measure, amplitude modulation around 16Hz be avoided&ldots;".
TETRA pulses at 17.6Hz. The Department of Health's acceptance of the
need for a precautionary approach appears to have been merely empty
rhetoric since the Home Office's chosen £3bn system is still
being rolled out, and the £5m programme of research
announced in May 2003, "to clear up remaining areas of
uncertainty", is not due to be completed for another 15 years.
Drummond Estates decision seems to be fully vindicated as reports of
ill health ranging from headaches, nausea and sleep disruption where
Airwave TETRA masts have been activated, to brain haemorrhages,
cancers, and motor neurone disease in the vicinity of the older
Dolphin TETRA masts, continue to emerge.