Held on 22nd July 2004 7:30 p.m.
The Main Hall, The Greig Centre,
Kinwarton Road, Alcester.
ACT (Alcester Community against tetra) held a public meeting to discuss the health concerns associated with the Tetra communication system due to be used by Warwickshire Police from November this year.
Attending the meeting were a group of speakers from both sides of the debate.
ACT campaigners declared that it had been a hugely successful day, for ACT and for all anti Tetra campaigners in the UK.
Even prior to and after the meeting there was huge interest from the public and media.
BBC Radio West Midlands hosted a live debate at 8:00 a.m. between Dr Grahame Blackwell (an independent research scientist – web site www.starweave.com) and Dr Mike Clark (NRPB). Excerpts from this debate, along with discussion about the Tetra concerns, were broadcast in the hourly news bulletins throughout the day and evening.
Local radio The Bear 102 broadcast an interview with ACT member and local councillor Nina Knapman hourly throughout the day giving a detailed argument about Tetra problems.
Local Radio Mercia FM broadcast an interview with ACT member Mike Walters hourly throughout the afternoon and evening detailing the concerns about Tetra health issues.
The following day BBC Radio West Midlands broadcast a live interview with Nina Knapman hearing her disgust at the lack of any credible evidence from Airwave or the NRPB to convince us that Tetra is safe.
Mercia FM also did a follow up interview with Mike Walters to hear the findings and feelings from the meeting and ACT’s future plans.
Over 60 people braved appalling weather to attend the meeting in Alcester. This included local councillors, land owners, policemen and VERY concerned local residents.
They heard from Inspector Ian Gillies of the Warwickshire Police. Ian clearly explained how the police need a new and secure communication system. A fact that all at the meeting,Act and the public fully agreed with and supported.
We heard a very smooth and professional sales pitch from Josh Berle of Airwave who did his best to convince all of the merits of Airwave Tetra but gave almost no time or credible arguments to reassure those present about the health concerns.
We heard from David Baron of Mast Sanity that the Tetra system is not as technologically advanced as Airwave would like us to believe. Amongst examples of this we heard that the current mobile telephone which most people carry in their pocket handles data far better and up to 3 times quicker than the supposedly state of the art Tetra system.
We also heard from David how Airwave have flouted and in many cases deliberately ignored planning law and erected masts near schools and homes with no planning permission. When challenged by local councils and communities Airwave had in some cases offered promises that the masts would not be used until such planning permission had been granted. However the same masts had subsequently been observed to be radiating a Tetra signal nevertheless.
We heard from Dr Grahame Blackwell of numerous health issues including detailed scientific evidence of the health risks of Tetra and pulsed microwave radiation. Amongst Grahame’s examples of the real world effects of Tetra was a school where the pupils and teachers were totally unaware of the switching on of a nearby Tetra mast. The very same day the mast was switched on 11 pupils suffered severe heavy nose bleeds, and headaches. One child who had never before suffered from migraine, developed a migraine that was so severe he was unable to stand unaided and had to be collected and taken home by his parents.
Dr Blackwell also told of the recent tragic death of PC Neil Dring (Leicestershire Police Force) who died of cancer of the oesophagus. The cancer started and grew immediately under where the officer wore his Tetra handset. At the same time, another officer in the same force contracted an identical cancer in exactly the same place. This was in otherwise healthy, sporting people. We heard that in a group of approx 2000 people such as this force, the chances of 2 people contracting these cancers the statistical odds were in excess of 2 million to 1 against!
We also heard quite chillingly that these are exactly the symptoms that scientists predicted would happen when Tetra was first proposed and introduced.
We heard from Dr Mike Clark of the National Radiological Protection Board that as far as the NRPB were concerned there are no problems with Tetra but that the situation should continue to be monitored. When questioned, we heard that this meant that a live study had been commissioned of all the police officers using Tetra over the next 15 years, in essence to see what happened to them when they used Tetra! There was an audible gasp of astonishment from the audience at this point, that our police were in effect being used as guinea pigs for an otherwise untested system.
It is worth noting that the NRPB, who tell us that there are no problems with this system are funded 50% by the government (who have spent £3 billion on Tetra and would thus like to see it work) and 50% by the mobile communications industry – the very people they are supposed to regulate!
We also heard from Lynn Insley and Ian Greaves from SCRAM (Sutton Coldfield Residents Against Masts) who gave a very positive presentation of the successes they had had fighting masts that had caused some dreadful illnesses to their local residents.
So how did the audience respond to the meeting?
We had one lady tearfully pointing out that she was utterly terrified (which sums up the feelings of the majority of the public we spoke to). She told us she was terrified of what Tetra might do to her, and the legacy that was being left for her children and grand children.
Other people said that they were totally baffled by the science. That they heard good scientific evidence confirming the problems with Tetra only to be totally confused by the barrage of a myriad of scientific terms in response, which meant absolutely nothing to them and which they felt deliberately muddied the water.
The question was asked that all the confusing science aside, when would common sense prevail? There is clear evidence of the dangers of Tetra including nose bleeds, migraines, cancers and now tragically even a death. How many migraines, cancers and deaths would it take until the regulators, the government and the industry finally acknowledged the problem and pulled the plug on this lethal technology.
Asked on Mercia FM the day after the meeting where ACT went from here, Mike Walters replied that ACT would continue the fight against Tetra. That this would include:
– taking the facts and evidence to the House Of Lords,
– working with our local MP John Maples who had already indicated an element of support,
– lobbying land owners to refuse permission for Tetra on their land,
– Lobbying the planning departments to stop irresponsible locating of masts and masts erected without planning permission and, where masts were erected,
– the serving of legal notice on those responsible (both land owners and planners) making them legally and individually responsible for any damages both physically and financially caused by these masts, as they were henceforth deemed to have been in full knowledge of the risks involved relating to Tetra.