TV's Esther joins mast battlers

02 February 2006

VETERAN journalist Esther Rantzen has thrown her weight behind a campaign to stop mobile phone giants placing masts on schools.

The TV presenter is spearheading the SHAME (Schools and Hospitals Against Mast Emissions) campaign launched - just weeks after the Bexley Times revealed plans to install phone masts on East Wickham Primary School, in Welling, and Bedonwell Junior School, in Belvedere.

Mrs Rantzen is calling on concerned parents and teachers in Bexley to sign a petition to get the Telecommunications Masts (Planning Control) Bill through Parliament by March 3.

If passed as a law by Parliament, the bill will prevent masts from being placed in close proximity to schools and hospitals.

David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, says he is in full support of the bill, which was initiated by David Curry MP.

He said: "The residents have my full support and backing. I object to masts in residential areas because they are out of character, an eyesore and I think there are health concerns.

"I am in full support of David Curry's bill and will be present in Parliament."

A spokesman for SHAME said: "SHAME is not anti-mobile phone but it does prioritise children over the need for a signal at any cost and given the vulnerability of small children relative to adults, can not accept that school premises are suitable sites." In December, angry parents at East Wickham Primary School vowed to fight mobile phone company Hutchinson 3G which has put up a phone mast near a school which is permitted by law.

Clair Doree who has two children at the school, has organised a petition.

Last week we reported how concerned parents and residents in Bedonwell Road, Belvedere, are urging mobile phone giant Orange to scrap its plans to install a mast near Bedonwell Junior School

Resident Alan Eaton, the brainchild behind action group Orange Squash, has organised a 200-signature petition to present to bosses at Orange.

This week opposition towards the mast intensified as both Labour and Conservative councillors in the Lesnes Abbey ward back residents in their campaign.

Labour Councillor Ron Brown said: "At present Orange has not yet applied to the council and are conducting their own consultation.

"We hope they get the message loud and clear that their mast is not wanted here. We are backing the residents 100 per cent."

Jacqueline Sibander, spokesman for Orange, said the planning process was it the early stages.

She added that the company was in full consultation with residents, parents and school representatives.

For more information on Orange Squash, visit the website: //www.orangesquash.org

For more information on SHAME or to sign the petition, visit: //www.shame.org.uk

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