Jade battles O2 over phone mast

By Paul Dicken

Campaigner: Jade Bryan has started up a petition against the planned phone mast

A 15-YEAR-OLD girl from Ponders End is campaigning to stop a mobile phone giant putting up a phone mast at the end of her street.

Jade Bryan started up a petition after discovering that O2 was applying for planning permission to erect the 15m high mast.

Miss Bryan said the main reason she objects to the mast is its proximity to St Matthew's Primary School and the potential health risks.

She said: "That's the number one problem, I think. Also, for me, I thought about the children. This is a really comfortable, laid-back area. This will spoil it a bit.

"London is a really crowded area in itself. No matter where it is, I would feel quite strongly about it."

Miss Bryan said O2 decided to put up the mast on the High Street, in Ponders End, opposite Allens Road, to improve reception for local customers.

But she added that an O2 customer who signed her petition against the mast had full signal on her phone, metres away from the proposed mast site.

Miss Bryan is also concerned about the amount of "street furniture" on the road already.

She said: "There's too many things on the street. There's a camera post going up when we've already got one operating - it's just ridiculous. I don't know how they expect people to walk on the pavement around here."

Community relations manager for O2, Jim Stevenson, said: "Basically, we are looking to increase capacity. We have 18 million customers demanding a service all the time.

"We understand the lady's concerns and we do listen to people all the time and are more than willing to talk to them.

"I can reassure her that she'll have no problems with the mast as far as health and safety is concerned."

He said the increased capacity was for making sure people in the area could use their phone at any time, day or night, as signal areas became jammed when too many calls were made at once.

In the Enfield area there are currently around 123 masts, with three in the immediate area around the proposed site in Ponders End. In total, across London, there are 6,421 of the so-called "base stations".

The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, set up in the UK, found that scientific evidence to date, suggested exposure to radio waves at guideline strengths did not cause adverse health effects in the general population.

However, Sir William Stewart, who chaired the group, has called for a review on the possible effects of mast radiation and wireless internet networks.

When the group published their findings in 2000, Sir William, now chairman of the Health Protection Agency, felt that the scientific research was sufficient enough for a precautionary approach for siting masts near schools, recommending that masts should not necessarily impact on areas where children are exposed.

© Copyright 2001-2007 Newsquest Media Group

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