Kids say no to phone masts

23 February 2006

Young protesters outside Rhodes Avenue School Young protesters outside Rhodes Avenue School KIDS, parents and celebrities braved the elements on Monday afternoon to protest against mobile phone giant Orange's plans to erect two masts in Muswell Hill.

The protesters paraded outside Rhodes Avenue School carrying balloons and placards saying "Orange: You're Making Me Blue" - furious at the prospect of one of the masts being constructed near the school.

Actor and parent Crispin Bonham-Carter and TV presenter Rianna Scipio both joined the protester - which took place on the same day Rhodes Avenue's new after-school club opened.

Alison Levy, who has two young children at the school, said: "It was a cold windy day. It was a real struggle to get there and I was absolutely delighted that so many people made the effort to make a point.

"I felt that it did prove that there was a really strong feeling about it. That gave me a sense that there were very strong feelings about opposition to the mast.

Mrs Levy added: "I have two small children at the school who are going to spend six years in the classrooms that, if a mast is to be put up, would be metres from it."

Muswell Hill ward councillor, Wayne Hoban (Liberal Democrat), who attended the protest, said: "I was very pleased with the turnout. This is an appeal by the same company that was originally turned down by the council quite rightly.

"Basically I could not think of a worse place for a mobile phone mast and base station - immediately adjacent to a school and playground.

"Our view is that the precautionary principle should apply."

Orange is appealing against Haringey Council's decision last September to reject the application for two masts - one in Albert Road, near the school, and the other next to Sunshine Green Garden Centre in Dunsford Road.

Jacque Sibanda, Orange community liaison officer, said: "The precautionary principle has been applied. We have consulted with residents."

Ms Sibanda highlighted that before the Stewart Report in 2001, guidelines on emissions from mobile masts allowed 100 watts per metre squared and that had since been reduced to nine watts.

She added: "It is quite a difficult one. I think people's impression of this is quite subjective - like not put any base stations in at all.

"That is not realistic. There is a great consumer demand. People are happy to use their mobile phones but do not understand the infrastructure involved.

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.



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