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Sunday, November 14, 2004

Mobile Phone Masts

A test case regarding the siting of a mobile phone mast near to a school casts a whole new light on the disreputable tactics deployed by Labour during the Hodge Hill by-election.

Liberal Democrat MP, Phil Willis, is of course quite right when he says that the Appeal Court judges had "swept aside" the recommendations of the Stewart Report on mobile phone safety, which called for changes to planning arrangements to improve local consultation. He is also right to say that this decision has given mobile phone operators "freedom to site masts on or near school playing fields throughout the United Kingdom. The decision of the appeal court ... is a body blow to concerned parents throughout the country."

However, the words of the judge are worth noting. He said: "It remains central government's responsibility to decide what measures are necessary to protect public health." He went on to rule that a planning decision was not the place for determining health safeguards.

On June 27th I wrote:

"the Labour Party in Government has created an atmosphere whereby mobile phone companies work in a largely free-market economy. In doing so they have encouraged them to seek to maximise their profits regardless of the ethics of their activity, whilst Labour Government Ministers continue to insist that mobile phone masts are safe (in stark contrast to the literature put out by the Labour Party in Hodge Hill). In fact Labour have sold new generation licences to mobile phone companies in return for billions of pounds in the full knowledge that the new technology will mean a tripling of phone masts and that the companies will be forced to seek unsuitable sites for them in an attempt to maximise market share and recover their outlay."

We should be in no doubt that it is Labour Government policy that is leading to the siting of these mobile masts near to schools. If they wanted to prevent it then they would legislate accordingly and not leave Councils and local people to struggle with vague and conflicting guidelines in an attempt to protect their community from inappropriate development.

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