Hampshire County Council have voted to reiterate their stand against
the ever-increasing numbers of radio masts that have prompted a
flurry of health concerns.
The controversial Terrestrial Trunked Radio (Tetra) masts began
appearing across the region last year to provide a communications
system for emergency services and in particular the police. But
public concerns over the long-term health effects of the masts have
prompted the County Councils Environmental Policy Review Committee to
look at the matter again. Councillor Brian Dash forwarded the motion
that: "This Council notes the concerns of planning authorities
in our county by the proliferation of Tetra communication masts,
particularly where masts are erected without planning permission. It
also shares the concerns of local people who are worried about the
risk to health presented by this technology.
After receiving representations from Hampshire Police Authority, Mast
Action UK, whose main objective is to ensure that masts required for
this and similar communications are appropriately sited having regard
to people's concerns, and the National Radiological Protection Board
the committee compiled a report explaining their stand against Tetra masts.
The committee heard that advice from Dr. Michael Clarke, of the
National Radiological Protection Board recognised: "Whilst at
this stage there was no evidence of unacceptable risks in relation to
the communications at large, some people were susceptible to adverse
effects where Tetra and other communication systems had been brought
Dr. Clarke told the "A&T" that the Tetra masts operate
at a continuous frequency, it is only the handsets that pulse when
sending and receiving messages. 'I can understand why some people,
particularly those living in the New Forest region, become nervous
when they see that Tetra masts are affecting the TV signals. They
think, "If thats what it is doing to my television then what is
it doing to me?''
"Tetra masts and television broadcasts operate at a very similar
frequency and this can sometimes lead to interruptions in television
programmes. But we are not TV aerials and do not react in the same
way, but certainly I can see why people get concerned about the
masts", said Dr. Clarke.
Due to the schedule of Tetra introduction, the normal planning
process has frequently been by-passed, causing greater concern to the
community at large. Whilst the Council acknowledged that current
government advice was that health issues should not be considered as
part of the planning process as long as the masts meet International
Commission on Non lonising Radiation Protection standards, they did
not agree with this standpoint. Council Leader Ken Thornber said:
"We cannot take the chance of affecting the health of our children."
The Council agreed that it was against the siting of Tetra masts on
its land and buildings particularly close to residential areas and
schools. They also decided to make representations to the Local
Government Association (LGA) and the County Councils Network to press
the government tc reassess its current policy so as to take the
health concerns of rhe community into account more fully,
particularly in relation to the siting of masts in inappropriate
locations like built up areas.