PEOPLE POWER RINGS TRUE FOR PHONE MAST

PEOPLE power has won a victory against mobile phone giant Vodafone

In March, St Andrews parents launched a campaign against a proposal to site a 15-metre mobile phone mast close to their homes.

Following neighbour notification, to householders near the proposed site at St Andrews United Football Club's ground in Langlands Road, families concerned over the possible health risks of having the Vodafone radio base station in their midst signed a petition opposing the plans.

Grandmother Alicia Jackson was so worried she wrote to her MP, Sir Menzies Campbell, MSP Iain Smith and local councillor Jane Ann Liston.

"It is people and their well-being that matter,'' she told the Citizen.

Vodafone stressed that emissions from the mast would comply with, and even be "many times lower'' than, guidelines set out by the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNRP).

However, campaigners worried these levels could damage people's health pointed out that those adopted by countries such as New Zealand were much lower.

One of the campaign leaders, Mrs Claire Gorgon of Shields Avenue, told the Citizen this week that Vodafone was not going ahead with the proposed site at the football club.

"The letter from Vodafone's agents does not include reference to our campaign, although I am certain the outcome would not have been as favourable had the local community not intervened in the way they did.

"I would like to thank all those who gave valuable support and advice, especially those who took the time to write to Vodafone and their agent.

Without their help, I am sure we would have had a far harder fight on our hands.

"It is good to see that action on a local level can have such a desirable outcome, and I am over the moon that my two daughters and the rest of the community will remain in a happy, healthy, environment.''

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said the company was in the process of "re-evaluating'' the deployment of the 3G network communications programme across the AUK.

In a letter to Mrs Gorgon, confirming that the site at St Andrews United Football Club would not be going ahead in the near future, the agent said the 3G network was due to be comprehensively developed within the St Andrews area and the re-evaluation would have a "considerable impact'' on the way sites, originally proposed in St Andrews, would go ahead.

"We wish to assure you that any future site in the St Andrews area will be undertaken in the same transparent manner as this proposal, with complete commitment to providing the community with sufficient information,'' she added.

07 July 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

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