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Protesters out in force against mast

PUBLISHED: 16:22 23 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:42 03 March 2010

PLACARD-waving protesters transmitted their views loud and clear as they demonstrated their opposition to proposed mobile phone masts in Felixstowe.

The text message on the banners and boards was straightforward - "We don't want these masts near our homes and children".

PLACARD-waving protesters transmitted their views loud and clear as they demonstrated their opposition to proposed mobile phone masts in Felixstowe.

The text message on the banners and boards was straightforward – "We don't want these masts near our homes and children".

Residents of Grange Farm Avenue and Grange Road are waging a major campaign to persuade planners to reject two masts in the area.

They have been boosted by support from Maidstone Infants School, whose staff and governors are worried about the effect the masts could have on the young pupils' health.

More than 100 people gathered on Saturday afternoon at the site of the proposed 41ft third generation phone mast at the grass verge at the junction of Grange Farm Avenue and Grange Road. Another is planned for the corner of Grange Road and Coronation Drive.

Campaign leader David Cawdron said: "There are huge concerns about these masts. There have been no assurance that the masts will not affect the long-term health of my family and the many other people who live round here."

Christine Darwen, headteacher of Maidstone Infants, said she had not been told that there were plans for the mast to be built or that the school would be in the mast's "danger zone", just 150 yards from the school.

She has written to Suffolk Coastal council, which is dealing with the planning application, objecting to the mast.

She had been unaware of the plans until a parent, who had seen the leaflets advertising Grange Road residents' campaign against the mast, informed her about it.

Hutchinson 3G is the first of many mobile phone operators to be building third generation masts in the UK. Unlike previous masts where the reception can be received up to 35 kilometres away, the third generation system has an eight km span which means that more masts have to be built to get a blanket coverage.

Currently there are plans to build two masts in residential areas in Felixstowe, two at the port and one in Trimley.

Details of the mobile phone masts worst case emissions were provided with the plans and showed that at half beam emissions would hit the ground 130 yards away and at full beam it would reach the ground at 300 yards from the masts.

Communication affairs manager for Hutchison 3G Jonathan Walton said: "We take the issue of health and safety very seriously. All our sites adhere to rigorous government guidelines.

"Having masts in central urban areas means the signal doesn't have to travel so far and, as a result, the power level of our sites is very low."

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