Church phone mast 'risk to pupils' lives'

By Clare Semke
Health re3porter

Residents and pupils from Portsmouth High School protest outside St Judes Church

A CHURCH stands accused of endangering the health of hundreds of pupils in a bid to make money.

Parents and residents are protesting at plans for a G3 mobile phone antenna at St Jude's Church, Kent Road, Southsea.

The church will rake in thousands of pounds a year if the controversial proposal is approved.

But St Jude's is just yards from a residential area and Portsmouth High School and parents fear the long-term health of over 200 of its youngest pupils will be at risk.

Mary Williams, whose six-year-old daughter Eleanor is a pupil at the school, said: 'Although the jury's out on whether any damage is caused by these phone masts there is no evidence to prove these things are safe. Why take a risk with our children's health for the profit of the multi-billion pound telecommunications industry?

'Fifty years from now I don't want my daughter getting ill because the church wants some money.'

Portsmouth High School is to write to church bosses to air their concerns.

Senior school head Jenny Clough said: 'Steps should be taken to ensure my girls' health is maintained. Over 200 girls aged between three and 11 are less than 75 metres away from the proposed site.

Parochial Church Council vice-chairman Richard Portlock would not reveal exactly how much the church stood to make from the deal but said it was less than 10 per cent of it's annual budget of £100,000.

'We are required to take into account all relevant factors when making our decision and we will endeavour to do so.'

The Parochial Church Council was discussing plans behind closed doors today.

Last Updated: 19 March 2007

All rights reserved ©2007 Johnston Press Digital Publishing

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