Phone mast won't signal problems, say church

Thursday October 12, 2006

By East Lothian Newsroom


MOBILE phone giant O2 hopes to strike a deal to install a transmitter inside Haddington West Church.

Planning permission has been sought from East Lothian Council for a telecommunications ‘base station’ inside the church tower, though the church has yet to give final approval.

The church building has been hit by a serious dry rot problem, which has left officials with a £70,000 repair bill, hindering the start of work on the second phase of the £200,000 hall redevelopment project.

While the base station would be a financial boost to the church, it would not generate enough cash to entirely fix the dry rot.

One woman contacted the Courier to say she was concerned about radiation emitting from the base station.

“The older people of Hilton Lodge are very close to the church, while the children of Haddington Infant School are taught close by – I really don’t think it’s safe when there’s doubt about these base stations,” she said.

“I know there’s a need for them these days – but surely the Garleton Hills would be more appropriate.”

But Graham Coe, clerk to the church’s congregational board, said there had been much consultation.

Church minister, the Rev. Cammy Mackenzie [ ] was convinced that the base station would not harm anyone, said Mr Coe, while the Stewart Report commissioned by the Government in 2000 concluded that “the balance indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near to base stations on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of the guidelines”.

Omega read "Base Stations, operating within strict national and international Guidelines, do not present a Health Risk?" under:

The World Health Organisation, meanwhile, ruled that “radio frequency field levels around bas stations are not considered a health risk”.

Omega this is not true. See under:

“If somebody was to come up tomorrow with a piece of research which had credibility then we would still be in a position to pull out,” said Mr Coe.

He stressed that the O2 approach was not linked to the dry rot problem.

“Although the church has been carefully maintained over the years, the building, which is now around 120 years old, is really now showing its age,” he added.

The transmitter would be high up in the tower, out of sight.


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