BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Mast concern over epileptic pupil
Nicola Packard
Nicola Packard will receive tuition at her Hakin home
A 12-year-old girl with epilepsy will be taught at home after claims a police radio mast near her Haverfordwest school made her condition worse.

Nicola Packard's mother Jayne has ended a claim against Pembrokeshire Council after it agreed to help with tuition.

It was claimed a Tetra mast was causing Nicola to fit but the council said its decision did not mean there was a link.

Dyfed-Powys Police said there was no scientific proof that the masts could affect people with epilepsy.

The mast at Haverfordwest Police Station, part of a Wales-wide upgrade in emergency service communication, was switched on in May despite protests from locals.

Jayne Packard
If Nicola is being affected by the mast being there she is one child too many
Jayne Packard

Mrs Packard, of Hakin, near Milford Haven said: "Nicola has not been on any medication for quite a few years and her fits were quite well controlled to just one or two a month.

"But since the Tetra mast is on while she has been in school she has been having a lot more seizures."

Mrs Packard has kept Nicola from attending Portfield Special School this term because of her condition.

"I do want her ultimately to return to Portfield School because I have to say it's an excellent school and Nicola loves going there.

"For all I know she could be the only child being affected but if Nicola is being affected by the mast being there she is one child too many."

Haverfordwest Police Station
The mast at Haverfordwest Police Station was turned on in May

Mrs Packard added: "The education department has come to an agreement that they will offer Nicola home tuition up until a time that she is able to go back.

Pembrokeshire Council said it did not mean it accepted there was a link.

"In accordance with normal practice for children - and following comprehensive discussions with her mother - we have sought to offer a range of provision, which in this instance includes an element of home tuition," it said.

"This is a pragmatic response to ensure that the individual child is provided with suitable education."

In a statement Dyfed-Powys Police said: "At the moment there is no definitive scientific evidence or proof that a wave-based station can affect people who are susceptible to epilepsy."

Mast operator O2 Airwave said: "Our equipment in Haverfordwest is fully compliant with all national and international guidelines - indeed the level of exposure at the nearest part of any school is 1/3000th of those guidelines."

Hundreds at Tetra protest march
15 Apr 05 |  South West Wales
Mast study focuses on TV signals
17 May 05 |  North West Wales
Mixed messages on Tetra
18 Feb 04 |  Wales

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific