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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 January, 2004, 09:25 GMT
Call for phone masts freeze
Elin Jones
Elin Jones believes Tetra mast applications should be put on hold
A mid Wales Assembly member has called for phone masts, which will improve communications within police forces, to be put on hold over health risk fears.

Plaid Cymru AM Elin Jones wants all mast applications to be frozen.

On Monday, Ms Jones will meet residents of a Ceredigion village angered over plans for a Tetra communiciation mast.

The Tetra radio network is being installed for 29 police forces in the UK and will offer better coverage than mobile phones and secure transmissions.

Police officers in England who are using the tetra system have already reported health worries since the system came into use
Elin Jones, AM

But people living at Gilfachreda, two miles east of New Quay claim that the frequencies used by the mast could cause a problem.

More than 30 protestors gathered at Ceredigion county hall at Aberaeron before a planning meeting last Wednesday where councillors voted in favour of placing the mast on farmland near the village.

"The National Radiological Protection Board have admitted that they cannot be 100% certain that these masts are safe," said Ms Jones.

"Police officers in England who are using the tetra system have already reported health worries since the system came into use.

The mast will be erected a few hundred metres from the village

"It is clear then that the minister [Carwyn Jones] should impose a moratorium on applications to erect these masts until more reports into the possible health risks of tetra masts are published."

Residents across Britain have campaigned against the masts as they believe the technology used in them can cause cancer and interfere with the body's natural internal communication mechanisms, leading to ill health.

Kevin Jones, spokesman for the Gilfachreda protest group, said there was a lot of fear in the village about the mast and worry it could reduce the value of people's homes.

"Nine of these masts around Britain have been sabotaged and people in this area also feel very strongly against the mast."

The application by AirwavemmO2 received 40 letters of objections from local people, and a petition with 523 names.

Protestors at County Hall
Protestors made their feelings known before Wednesday's planning meeting

Mr Jones also claimed there had been several errors in the discussion of the application.

"Councillors were told that all residential properties surrounding the site were informed by letter about the planning application but this is incorrect," he said.

"Many Gilfachreda residents did not receive letters and some of those that were sent were also wrongly dated."

A Ceredigion council spokesman said: "We are carefully considering the matters raised to ensure that a correct and appropriate response is given.

"This will be done as soon as possible."

Protesters block access to mast
12 Jan 04  |  Southern Counties
Anger over radio mast
16 Dec 03  |  Southern Counties
Council scuppers police mast plan
20 Nov 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset

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