Telecommunications Masts

Deputy Prime Minister written question – answered on 23rd January 2006.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions his Department has had with mobile phone operators on the siting of mobile phone masts; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Minister of State (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) (Housing and Planning)

Since the beginning of November the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has had one meeting with the Mobile Operators Association and a representative of each of the five mobile network operators, which discussed the Code of Best Practice on siting of mobile phone masts.

Representatives of the mobile networks operators have attended a project meeting for the research to identify the future direction of mobile phone and electronic communications network technology.

Officials have also had telephone conversations with representatives of the mobile networks operators about a number of different issues.

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Simon Preedy
Posted on 25 Jan 2006 10:26 am (Report this annotation)

An interesting question put to Yvette Cooper MP… & an interesting response!

It begs the question whether the Planning Minister was actually discussing the findings of the Arup Report with the MOA, that has still not been entered into the public domain (despite assurances from Ms Cooper last year that this will be "soon"??? Mast Sanity have also taken out a “Freedom of Information” Request on the Government for it!

The Planning Minister must also surely know from her own personal experiences that things need to change and this Government needs to overhaul the planning systems for Masts! - See press article below:

"Mast Row" - Pontefract & Castleford Express (1 September 2005):

Angry Airedale residents will be meeting mobile phone bosses later this month in a bid to stop plans for a 28ft mast in the middle of their estate.

More than 500 objectors backed by MP Yvette Cooper signed a petition against the mast to be built on a patch of grassland in Elizabeth Drive.

Bosses from Vodafone have now agreed to meet residents at a special drop-in session at Castleford Civic Centre on Wednesday September 21 from 4-7pm.

Petition organiser James Dakin, who lives on Elizabeth Drive, said: "A drop-in session suggests Vodafone wants to deal with residents individually instead of as a whole group. It could split people's opinions and we want to tackle the company together.
"This is typical of what's happening across the country with these masts. Mobile phone companies and councils just railroad them through despite the potential health risks. I would have expected the council to at least allow us to put in our objections first."

Ms Cooper said she had written to Vodafone three times to ask them to consult residents. She added: "I am appalled that Vodafone didn't meet residents before putting their planning application forward, despite having assured me three times that they would. "I am now urging them to conduct a proper consultation before anything goes ahead and that means listening to what residents have to say and not simply coming to talk to them."

A Wakefield Council spokesman said: "Planning permission for the mast was given to Vodafone on August 10. It was a delegated decision so it didn't need to go to full committee." END

Amanda Wesley
Posted on 25 Jan 2006 11:58 am (Report this annotation)

Is the Minister referring to the wining and dining of Lord Sainsbury by the operators at the Labour Party Conference, or yet another industry lobby? (Mast Sanity is also waiting for a reply to a letter to Lord Sainsbury asking him to meet those who were concerned about the implications of the 3G roll out and other matters. Obviously, as a Charity we can't afford smoked salmon and champagne, so he obviously doesn't think he has to bother replying to us as we fall out of the New Labour target audience, being merely ordinary people and not multinationals.

And yes, as Simon has pointed out, we still await the ARUP study, despite requests being made under the freedom of information act.
Just how much more can the Government fit under the carpet?