Villagers protest against plan to put up phone mast

By Pat Smith

Protesters at the site

VILLAGERS in Bishampton are angry over a plan to erect a mobile phone mast.

An open meeting in the village hall was planned for last night (Wednesday) to fight the application for Nightingale Farm, which villagers fear could put their health at risk.

Leading the protest is Tony Waghorn, who delivered information packs downloaded from the internet to every villager in Bishampton.

Mr Waghorn, who lives near the farm in Main Street, said: "Everybody is incensed. These systems are, to say the least, contentious and controversial.

"There has been no consultation between T-Mobile and villagers. Scientific research has shown that these masts should be 500 metres from homes and a lot of households come within that - it's appalling."

His neighbour, Jenny Perkins, said: "I am worried. My daughter Abigail has cystic fibrosis, which is a life limiting disease. She's only five and I think the mast could have an affect on her condition."

Farmer William Robertson, of Nightingale Farm, said he had been assured that there was absolutely no risk to health.

"There is no way I would put at risk my own family and animals if I thought there was a danger," he said.

"The mast has to go somewhere in the village because mobile phone users can't get a signal here."

John Shaughnessy, for T-Mobile, said: "We take advice of the World Health Organisation. Its latest fact sheet, published in May 2006, said that the low exposure levels and research results concluded that there was no scientific evidence that the weak radio frequency levels from base stations and wireless networks, caused adverse health effects."

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He said the company did not need permission to erect the mast, to be attached to a barn, because it was under 15metres. He added: "We always choose the best place for reception and from a visual impact point of view. We can access highway land for nothing, or we can choose private land where we will pay the owner from a few thousand pounds a year upwards, depending on the installation."

At the meeting which was to take place last night, Mr Waghorn was calling for concerned residents to form a protest group to try to stop the plans.

© Copyright 2001-2007 Newsquest Media Group

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