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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 June, 2003, 18:49 GMT 19:49 UK
MP's fear over police masts
Tetra mast
Permission has been granted for 100 masts in the region
A Cornish MP is urging the government to carry out an investigation into the effects new communication masts may have on people's health.

More than 200 masts planned for the West Country are part of a national network which will improve radio links for the emergency services.

But there has been widespread opposition to the proposed Tetra mast sites in Devon and Cornwall.

Residents say they are concerned that the microwave communication system is not safe.

Opposition has been so widespread that the network, due to reach Devon and Cornwall this month, is now facing severe delays.

There was no opposition to the first mobile phone masts and this system works in the same sort of way
Chief Inspector Denis Calver

North Cornwall MP Paul Tyler said that he was concerned about reports that about 200 police had reported sick in trials of the new system.

He has asked Home Secretary David Blunkett to reveal the scientific and medical data which proves they are safe.

He said: "I have been concerned for some time about the possible effects from the masts on local residents.

"If it's having an effect on the officers, it may well be having an effect on the public too."

Police say the masts pose no known risks to human health and will be in place by 2005.

Chief Inspector Denis Calver, the officer in charge of the programme in Cornwall , said the force had been surprised by the public's reaction to the plans.

He said: "There was no opposition to the first mobile phone masts and this system works in very much the same sort of way.

"We don't like being in conflict with the public and sometimes there is misinformation and misunderstanding."

He added: "There are some very extremist and unproven publications about the impact of radiation on people, but the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence refutes that."

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