Probe into phone mast health fears

Coun May Noble
Coun May Noble
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AN INDEPENDENT assessment is to be carried out into possible health implications of a controversial mobile phone mast erected in a South Yorkshire village.

Barnsley Council is commissioning the study after more than 1,000 residents in Bolton-on-Dearne signed a petition calling for the mast to be removed.

The council’s planning department turned down the application from mobile phone company Vodafone for the mast in St Andrews’ Square - but, because councillors were a day late registering their objections, permission was granted by default.

But they insist they turned it down only on the grounds it would look out of place outside a new block of flats - rather than over health concerns.

They also believe the company would have won any appeal hearing it brought against the decision.

A statement from the council, which has been working with Vodafone and Wentworth MP John Healey to try to resolve the issue, said: “Given the level of concern of residents regarding the effect on people’s health from the mast, the council will commission an independent assessment into the health impacts surrounding this particular mast.

“The council will then act on the findings of this report.”

Coun May Noble, who represents Dearne South, said: “There have been discussions with Vodafone. But they have given us only three possible sites and all those are densely populated.”

Vodafone said it was working hard to find an alternative site for the mast.

It insists the mast is safe - and said the findings of the survey would prove it.

A spokesman added: “All of our base stations comply with international exposure guidelines. The purpose of the survey is to demonstrate that exposure will be hundreds of times below the guidelines.”