Power to the people

Front page of the Bootle Times, credit should go to the local community in Sefton/Netherton.

Eileen O'Connor



Power to the people

May 25 2006

By Paula Owens, Bootle Times

A BID for a 12.5-metre mobile phone mast in Netherton was scrapped in what residents are calling a victory for ' people power'.

Two double decker buses carried more than 120 residents to a planning meeting at Southport Town Hall on Wednesday night, where they were set to oppose the plan.

But at the last minute telecoms firm O2 withdrew its proposal for the mast which would have stood in St Oswald's Lane.

Resident Marie Salzano said: "Everyone was cheering and stamping their feet.

"The mast would have been just 180 metres away from a classroom of St Benedict's Primary School.

"We don't want our children exposed to this."

Her sister Eileen O'Connor, who is an anti-mobile phone mast campaigner and trustee for radiation research, said: "I'm thrilled, this just shows that if the whole community pulls together you can have success.

"It will send out a message to the whole industry that they all need to be aware that any application that comes into this area will be fought in this way."

Councillor Mark Dowd said: "This application wouldn't have been withdrawn without the efforts of people of Netherton. It's a victory for people power.

"Next time there's a similar application we'll do exactly the same."

When the sisters first heard about the proposal they started a petition and set up a public meeting.

Scientist Brian Edgerton gave a talk on what he sees as the health risks associated with mobile phone masts.

Mrs Salzano said: "About 300 people attended the meeting and they went away horrified. We ended up with hundreds of names on the petition."

A few days before the planning meeting, Mr Edgerton, using a radiation level- measuring machine, put it to O2 representatives that their firm already had sufficient coverage in the area.

However, an O2 spokeswoman said: "We need to improve our mobile phone coverage for the area and that's why we need a mobile phone mast so we'll be reviewing other options to try and find an alternative location."

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Plc 2006

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