Phone mast fear for school

A MOBILE phone mast could be erected within metres of an Ipswich primary school if planning permission is granted.Ipswich Borough Council has received an application from network provider O2 to install a 12.

A MOBILE phone mast could be erected within metres of an Ipswich primary school if planning permission is granted.

Ipswich Borough Council has received an application from network provider O2 to install a 12.5 metre mast in the grounds of the Belstead Arms pub.

The pub, which lies on the corner of Radcliffe Drive and Bridgwater Road is located opposite Gusford Primary School.

Rob Neal, headteacher at Gusford, said: "I am sending out a letter to all of the parents giving them details about the planning application. The plans tell people how to complain.

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"In the letter I have put how a number of parents will have seen in papers and on television people's concerns about health. It is up to the parents themselves to decide."

The school has received an information pack from O2 detailing how mobile networks operate. It highlights the use of electro-magnetic waves which are transmitted by televisions and radios.

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Mr Neal added: "It says there a lot of these waves around. They don't necessarily cause any harm. I am not sure whether I feel there are health implications.

"We did discuss the issue at a Parent Community Association meeting and some people at the meeting were quite concerned and wanted to organise a petition."

One resident in Holcombe Close has already started collecting signatures after Ipswich council leafleted houses which would be visibly affected by the mast.

Organiser of the petition Gareth Evans said: "It is the visual aspect that is my concern because this is in a complete residential area and according to my information it goes against the local plan.

"I have looked on the Internet and apparently there are no health implications unless you are actually hugging the thing but there is a public perception that they are bad so house prices will decrease."

Conservative campaigner for Gipping Ward Bob Hall is supporting the petition.

He said: "The health risks associated with these masts cannot be verified, although many experts are worried about the impact of mobile phones on children, and the proposed mast on Ellenbrook Green overlooks the local primary school.

"Medical practitioners are warning that children in particular should not use mobile phones excessively, so it certainly doesn't make sense to have a mast in this location."

The application came after O2 contacted Snell Enterprise Inns requesting the use of the land at the Belstead Arms.

Landlord Kevin Watkins, said: "No one has complained to me about it.

"I know there has been a lot of scepticism in the past about radiation but things are better now and they are totally safe.

"It is just going to look like a telegraph pole and will not be unsightly or anything."

And James Stevenson, community relations manager for O2 backed him up claiming the mast was needed because of network congestion in that area.

He added: "We sympathise and empathise with those concerned and try to give to them all the information we have received from the World Health Organisation and National Radiological Protection Board who have done studies. None of them have come up with any evidence that supports the conjecture that there are health and safety fears.

"The mast is in keeping with the local environment. We know where they are and how they look and try to ensure they are kept within reasonable environmental comforts."

NDo you think phone masts are safe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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