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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK
Police mast system 'under way'
Emergency services will use the masts
The company planning to build a controversial new system of communication masts already has permission to erect about half of the network, it has emerged.

The Scottish Parliament has been urged to oppose the Terrestrial Trunked Radio (Tetra) masts because of health concerns.

The Scottish Green Party has tabled a motion calling for a moratorium on the system which will serve the police and other emergency services.

But O2 Airwave has been granted planning permission for 322 of the 658 masts it plans to set up across Scotland.

The Scottish Executive has ruled that there are no health implications and therefore concerns about health do not count as a reason for councils refusing planning permission.

We cannot afford to store up potential problems with this technology as it will only come back to haunt ministers in the future
Mark Ruskell
Green MSP
But Green MSP Mark Ruskell said siting of the masts should be halted until any possible health impact is fully investigated.

Campaigners fear the masts emit signals which could interfere with the human brain.

Mr Ruskell said: "We ask the (Scottish) Executive to not leave councils stranded high and dry on this issue but to understand and react to the concerns of the people of Scotland.

"We cannot afford to store up potential problems with this technology as it will only come back to haunt ministers in the future."

The Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP won the support of Nationalist MSP Tricia Marwick and Lib Dem Iain Smith, who said proof of the masts' safety must be provided.

However, Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry said evidence did not exist to justify a ban.

He said: "I would argue that if facts do exist justifying any delays, then that evidence should be brought forward.

"But to date no evidence has been produced and in the absence of such evidence it would be very difficult for those concerned to make any other decision than the ones they're currently taking."

Appeal over police masts
24 Jun 03  |  Scotland
New 1.5bn police radio under fire
23 Apr 02  |  Politics
New police radio plagued by delays
30 Apr 02  |  UK News

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