Wall of silence on mast safety Bill


15 February 2006 11:39

Planning leaders in Norfolk today refused to be drawn on mobile phone mast safety ahead of a debate in the House of Commons which could lead to local authorities being given the power to refuse applications on health grounds.

Despite several local councils backing the Telecommunications Masts Planning Control Bill, due to come before Parliament next week, many district and borough councillors in Norfolk did not wish to comment on the Bill.

Currently, planning boards cannot stop applications solely on health and safety grounds. If the Bill is passed, councillors would have greater power to refuse planning applications on such grounds.

Norwich city councillor Judith Lubbock, who chairs the planning committee, said she was unable to comment until legislation was passed.

David Thompson, chairman of Broadland District Council's planning committee, did not comment because to do so would mean he would have to surrender his position as chairman of future meetings.

A spokeswoman for Yarmouth Borough Council said: "We have never had any appeals against masts on health grounds."

Norwich North MP Dr Ian Gibson has been a supporter of the Evening News' Put Masts on Hold campaign. He said: "I will certainly be in the House of Commons next Friday to hear the bill and welcome another chance for debating the issue." If the Bill wins enough support from MPs, it could go forward to the committee and report stages before being heard a third time. If successful, it would then go before the House of Lords and would have to be given Royal Assent before becoming an Act of Parliament.

Councils that have declared their support include Richmond, Derby, West Berkshire, the London Borough of Haringey, Hart, Wyre Forest and Preston.

The second reading is scheduled to come before the House of Commons for a vote on Friday, March 3.

Are you fighting plans for a mast in your neighbourhood? Call Peter Walsh on (01603) 772439 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.



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