Big phone mast protest

By Mark Killiner

MORNING worshippers at a Chingford church were greeted by 100 protesters objecting to contentious plans for a mobile phone mast in the church's spire.

A broad campaign consisting of children, parents, teachers and residents, known as Justify Unnecessary Dangers Against Children (JUDAS), met outside SS Peter and Paul Church in the Green, Chingford, to say no to the proposed mobile phone base station.

Once in place, the mast, which would generate income for the church, would sit only 50 metres away from St Mary's Catholic Primary School in Station Road. continued...

A spokeswoman for JUDAS said: "We are all worried about the welfare of our children, and even though the phone operators say it is not proven that phone masts pose any health risks, several European studies suggest otherwise.

"It may only be a slight risk, it may be a big risk, we simply do not know for certain. But as long as there is any risk at all to our children we believe the Stewart Report's precautionary principle is the best way forward."

The report categorises schools as sensitive sites and recommends a precautionary approach to installing masts nearby.

More than 600 people have signed a petition against the proposal and MP Iain Duncan Smith has given his support to the campaign.

The issue is destined for consideration in a special court, known as a consistory court, in the church on Tuesday from 10.30am, but the church will not comment in advance of the hearing.

The JUDAS spokeswoman added: "We hope the church authorities will take note of our fears and the huge amount of local opinion opposed to the mast. We hope they will take the generous path of abandoning their plans before we all have to go through the stress of the preliminary hearing in the church.

"We know the church needs funds but we urge it to seek other ways of raising them. We are angry at the companies that take advantage of organisations so obviously in need of financial support."

5:30pm today

© Copyright 2001-2006 Newsquest Media Group

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