Other councils are saying no to masts

DAVID POWLES

09 September 2006 13:50

Councils across Norfolk are inconsistent when it comes to making money by placing potentially harmful mobile phone masts on their properties.

The Evening News told last week how both Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council were raking in thousands of pounds from telecoms companies by renting land to them for masts.

The city council has earned around £400,000 through the process, while the county council profits to the tune of £60,000 a year.

However, a Freedom of Information request has found that neighbouring South Norfolk District Council, Broadland District Council and Yarmouth Borough Council have no masts on their land, while doubts remain over the safety of installing them.

Liz Ashness, head of corporate facilities at Broadland, said: "It is the council's policy not to agree to mobile phone masts on its property."

The authority confirmed that it had previously refused requests to house masts at its Thorpe Lodge base and the East Norwich Inn, at Acle.

A spokesman for South Norfolk Council said: "We are committed to examining the scope to install masts on council-owned buildings, but investigations so far have not been productive.

"If we receive any offers from mast operators in future, we will fully examine all the issues, including the potential benefits and risks to the public."

Meanwhile, North Norfolk District Council has just one mobile phone mast on the Vicarage Street car park, in North Walsham, for which it receives £1,500 per year from Orange.

The issue of mobile phone masts has been contentious for some time while doubts remain over the perceived health risks. The figures released last week by the city council revealed that five of its residential tower blocks had mobile phone masts on top of them, putting hundreds of people at risk from the possible effect of emissions.

Aylmer Tower in Mile Cross has netted the council the most money - with £112,500 heading into City Hall's bank account.

Other masts which earn the council cash from mobile phone operators are Ashbourne Tower in Watling Road, Heartsease (£81,000), Normandie Tower, Rouen Road (£59,500), Seaman Tower, Mile Cross (£72,750) and Winchester Tower, Vauxhall Street (£56,500).

County Hall itself has half a dozen aerials and antennae while other equipment is located at Postwick park-and-ride and fire stations such as Sprowston, Aylsham and Wymondham.

Are you battling a mobile phone mast application where you live? Call reporter David Powles on 01603 772447 or email david.powles@archant.co.uk

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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