13 phone masts are enough says mayor

THE new mayor of South Ribble has hit out at the explosion in the number of phone masts in Bamber Bridge.

Coun David Watts, who is the ward councillor for Bamber Bridge, decided to speak out after an application for another mast was submitted to South Ribble Borough Council.

If plans for the 20m mast at Old Lemon House, on Seedlee Road, were granted it would mean two phone masts situated within 400 yards of each other as one is already on Dodd Way.

Masts

A third has also been erected on Walton Summit Road on the road adjoining Seedlee Road.

Coun Watts says enough is enough, and does not want to see any more masts added to the 13 in Bamber Bridge.

He said: "It would seem that Bamber Bridge has relinquished its title of hot food capital of South Ribble, but that now seems to be replaced by the title of hot airwaves capital of South Ribble.

"I understand that many of the mobile phone networks are competing with each other to get the best possible coverage, but do we need another to add to the 49 already in the borough?"

Coun Watts has been in touch with Orange, which is applying for the mast on Seedlee Road, to get some answers, but was baffled by their response.

Mobile

He said: "Orange has said that it wants to increase the coverage to customers on the M65 and M61. This raises an important question: Should we as a council be encouraging people to use their mobile phones while driving?

"You cannot object to a mobile phone on their perceived health risks, but surely if there is a law to stop people using mobile phones while driving then it is an actual risk. Why do we really need another mast?"

Nearby residents and businesses have been notified of the application and so far, the council has received no objections.

A decision will be made by the South Ribble Council planning committee.

A spokesman for the Mobile Operators Association said: "Site and mast sharing by operators is a priority, but while it cuts down the number of mobile phone masts in the landscape, it can also have adverse environmental impacts.

"In some cases, local planning authorities and communities prefer to see several smaller masts, rather than a larger one. In others, mast sharing may not be possible because the existing site is not in the best place for the oncoming sharer's coverage needs.

"In terms of the coverage to motorways it is sometimes the case that passengers in vehicles need to use mobile phones, or indeed some drivers if they break down on the hard-shoulder and do not want to walk to the next emergency phone box. "

15 June 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

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