Fears over mobile phone masts

A CITY councillor has called for clearer guidelines to be provided on the issue of mobile phone masts after two separate applications were made by communications companies to erect a mast on Roxboro Shopping Centre.

"Two communications companies have tried to develop masts in the heart of a densely populated area,” said Cllr Ger Fahy (FG). "It is the view of people of this area that these masts are totally unsuitable because of genuine health fears for the health of their children and that of the residents at large.”

Cllr Fahy noted that a high number of people worked and shopped in the vicinity of Roxboro Shopping Centre. He also noted the nearby communities of Janesboro, Carew Park and Kennedy Park and cited two schools which are located within a 200 metre radius of the Roxboro centre.

He said that mobile phone masts should not be approved for such an area until it was proved conclusively that they involved no health risks.

Cllr Fahy added that the fact that both Vodafone and O2 had appealed the decisions made by Limerick City Council showed the "scant disregard that such communications companies have for the people of the Roxboro community”.

Cllr Fahy proposed that the council write to the government on guidelines for construction of such masts and stated that clear laws were needed in relation to the matter.

"There are inconsistencies in the issue and clear guidelines are needed to prevent communications companies from building masts in high density population areas.” Cllr Fahy said.

There was, however, no mention of a planning application that has been granted to mobile and fixed communications provider 3G for the same building. Permission for 3G to attach antennas and point-to-point dishes with associated equipment and cables was granted on January 7th last year.

Labour Cllr John Ryan raised the issue of a similar proposal for Villier’s school.

He referred to the recent incompleted application made by 3G for planning permission for a 5 metre white flagpole with antennas together with equipment cabinets for 3G’s broadband network to be erected on the roof of the North Circular Road school.

Cllr Ryan said that if there was any doubt over health and safety issues, especially in the case of a school, that no risks should be taken - this despite the fact that Villiers is one of the two schools within 200 metres of the proposed mast.

Communications company O2 applied for permission to erect 3 antennas, an aerial link dish and associated equipment units at Roxboro Shopping Centre at the beginning of last year. The application was denied on April 20 2005.

Months later rival Vodafone applied for permission to erect a 20 metre high monopole for the same building within metres of the original application.

Although both companies appealed the refusals they were also denied planning permission by An Bord Pleanala.

© Limerick Post Newspapers 2006

//www.limerickpost.ie/dailynews.elive?id=7228&category=Daily-Wed

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