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Page last updated at 07:48 GMT, Friday, 29 October 2010 08:48 UK
Weymouth school governor fights phone mast proposals
By Zoe Kleinman
BBC News, Dorset

mobile phone concerns
Residents say the proposed area is not a reception blackspot.

Proposals to build a mobile phone mast outside Holy Trinity School in Weymouth have angered parents.

Parent governor Helen Toft has organized a petition against the planning application made by mobile phone companies 02 and Vodafone.

The proposed site is next to Holy Trinity primary school and opposite a nursery and an independent school.

The mobile phone companies say the mast is needed to improve the signal for customers in the area.

Studies conducted by various organizations including the World Health Organization and the Institution of Engineering and Technology have failed to find scientific evidence that mobile phone masts cause health problems.

But Helen Toft says she is concerned about the long-term effects on the children in the surrounding schools.

"Other countries consider it to be more serious - European countries have a 50m exclusion zones around schools," she said.

"I can't believe that everybody else in all these other countries has got it wrong. We would prefer it to be in the middle of an allotment."

There are no health and safety matters arising from mobile phone masts
James Stephenson, Cornerstone

James Stephenson from Cornerstone, the 02 and Vodafone group behind the mast proposal, said that he understood Ms Toft's concerns.

"There's a lot of evidence on the internet, you can find all sorts of things - we understand people's fears and we want to set the record straight," he said.

"I would always quote back on the scientific studies that have gone on in the last 10 years - there have been 15 or 16 of them and they have all come up with the conclusion that there are no health and safety matters arising from mobile phone masts."

Ms Toft's children do not attend any of the schools in the area around the mast.

"We're doing this for the rest of Weymouth's schools," she said.

Eyesore

The school's other objection is that the mast, which the plans say will be 17.5m (57.4ft) high, will be an eyesore in the leafy suburban area of Buxton Road.

"If they're designed badly and put in the wrong place they can be a bit of an eyesore but this one - we've spent a bit of time on the design, we don't regard this one as being an eyesore," said Mr Stephenson.

The school has until 9 November to respond to the planning application put in to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. The council declined to comment on individual applications.




SEE ALSO
Mobile phone mast plan rejected
28 Oct 10 |  Derby


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