We'll fight plans for mast in church

19 May 2007 09:44

Campaigners are rallying against plans to house a mobile phone mast in the tower of a village's church.

QS4, who have been commissioned by the Church of England to install masts in parish churches nationwide, have revealed its plans to erect a mast in the tower in St Botolph's church, in Trunch, near North Walsham.

It is believed the application, from mobile phone giant T-Mobile, would boost the church coffers by up to £5,000 a year.

However, Neville Lee, whose house is 30 metres from the church, with just a cemetery in between, wants the plan to be suspended until all health fears over masts have been allayed.

The 54-year-old teacher said: “At a drop-in session the agents were giving out this blurb about there being no proven health risks, low emissions and it would cause no damage to the church.

“But this is a rural area and we don't think there's the need for a mobile phone mast here.

“We believe the church as a Christian organisation should also think about the wider community and err on the side of caution in this case.

“Until there's evidence to say they are health free, we don't think these masts should be put near schools and homes.”

However, Jenny Owen, who owns the nearby Trunch Corner Stores in North Walsham Road, said: “I was worried about the health risks but the people at the meeting told us about the risks of things like microwaves and just speaking on your phone, and I was more reassured that it won't be a problem. At least you won't see the mast because it will be in the church tower so it won't be an eyesore.”

John Swain, of QS4, said: “It's part of T-Mobile's initiative to provide additional cover in Norfolk. The antennas and equipment will be installed in the church tower, and there will be low environmental impact.

“Twelve people attended a drop-in session and a number of them did comment favourably on the plans.”

The Evening News is fighting the installation of mobile phone masts near homes and schools until it is proved they are safe through our Put Mast on Hold campaign.

In January 2005 Sir William Stewart, chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board, published an independent report calling for a precautionary approach to masts near homes and schools.

An Evening News investigation that month revealed one in five primary schools in Norwich was within the threshold experts claim could put youngsters at risk.

Are you fighting a mobile phone mast application? Ring reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

Copyright © 2007 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.




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