MP's phone mast fears

By DOMINIC WIGGAN

BURNLEY'S MP Mrs Kitty Ussher has sworn to battle against plans to build more mobile phone masts in neighbourhoods across the borough.

Plans for more than 50 more phone masts to be placed around Burnley are in the pipeline, prompting residents to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to voice their opposition and argue to have them sited elsewhere.

It was revealed that the group may have a realistic chance to realise their goals if a new Bill is passed in parliament in early March.

Back-bench Tory David Currie has submitted the Tele-Communications Mast (Planning Control) Bill to the House, and if it receives enough support it could have dramatic effects.

Mrs Ussher told a busy meeting at the Central Methodist Church Hall that she is behind them 100% and referred to a government report about mobile phone masts.

She went on: "This is such an important subject. I have read a government report that states 'we cannot be entirely sure there is no risk to health'.

"As far as I'm concerned if there could be a risk, we should not be taking one. We must play as safe as we possibly can."

Mrs Ussher added that she hopes as many members of the house will back the Bill, adding: "The companies must be certain that there is no health risk whatsoever.

"If further down the line they are proved wrong, they are liable."

Mr David Halsall, of Burnley Borough Council's Development Control Committee, added that government rules meant the council has little option but to grant planning permission for a mobile phone mast to be built.

However, he added that the new Bill could help. He said: "We have to follow government guidance. Hopefully, the new Bill will allow us more freedom in taking into account health concerns."

Mr Dennis Cannon, chairman of Together Against Masts pressure group, dismissed recent press reports that suggested mobile phone technology caused no ill effects.

"It's biased research," he said. "It was paid for by mobile phone operators and only looked at a certain percentage of the population. It does not answer all the questions."

l To get in touch with Mr Dennis Cannon and add your support to Together Against Masts, email togetheragainstmasts@yahoo.co.uk .

24 January 2006

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