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Wednesday, 6 December, 2000, 20:42 GMT
MP urges halt to new phone masts
Mast near houses
Mobile phone masts have caused controversy
A Scottish MP has called for a UK-wide moratorium on new mobile phone masts.

The Labour member for Eastwood in Glasgow, Jim Murphy, says the building programme must be put on hold until safety fears have been quashed.

He made his plea during a short debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Mr Murphy highlighted what he believed were the health risks associated with the communications towers.

Jim Murphy
Jim Murphy: "Safety worries"
He also urged the UK Government to publish all research on matters of safety.

Members of the public up and down the UK have campaigned over health issues surrounding the building of mobile phone masts.

Villagers in Perthshire staged a demonstration and occupation at a proposed mast site next to a primary school.

The residents of Burrelton, near Coupar Angus, are fearful that microwave radiation could affect the health of children at the 78-pupil school.

A spokeswoman for BT Cellnet said the company had faced similar situations elsewhere and each case had been judged on its own merits.

New guidelines

The proposed mast site is on land leased from a local farmer. Locals say BT has been offered an alternative site, which it has rejected.

Local councillor John Lloyd said that if the company went ahead with the plan, parents would remove their children from the school.

New guidelines were announced by Scottish Environment Minister Sarah Boyack earlier this year and all new mobile phone masts in Scotland will now be subject to full planning control.

Communities will also have the right to be consulted and there will be careful scientific monitoring of masts sited close to schools and hospitals.

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See also:

27 Oct 00 | Scotland
Villagers' mobile mast pledge
30 Jun 00 | Health
Phone mast fears dismissed
11 May 00 | Health
Mobile phone research ordered
11 May 00 | Scotland
Planning change call for phone masts
29 Mar 00 | Scotland
Tough call for phone masts
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