Betreff: Newsletter Mar 2007
Von: Mast Sanity Newsletter
Datum: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 21:33:02 +0000
 
 

MAST SANITY NEWSLETTER 03/07

Welcome to the March 2007 Mast Sanity newsletter. It's been longer than I hoped since the previous newsletter, but, once again, I hope the gap until the next won't be so long. Please forward this newsletter to as many campaigners as possible. If you've been passed this newsletter and you'd like to subscribe in the future log on here. It only involves giving a name and e-mail address. Please note, though, in common with other mailings, we have regular problems with AOL considering us spam, so you're more likely to receive future mailings if you can supply a non-AOL address. If you'd like to unsubscribe, there's a link at the bottom of the page.

If you'd like to have information more regularly, Mast Sanity runs a mailing list that you can join by logging on here .

There are a couple of items below that are time-sensitive and highlighted via red text. This may be because we only have a week to rack up votes (in the case of David Cameron's weblog), becuase You Tube are becoming far more vigilant about removing copyrighted material, or because there may be changes to The Freedom Of Information Act as soon as April.

Please send any comments and suggestions to editor@mastsanity.org.

VOLUNTEERS

Mast Sanity is completely run by volunteers. If we don't do it, and we should, it's simply because we don't have a volunteer to do it, so help us make a difference. If you are interested in helping us please don't be put off because you don't think you know enough. We provide a full information pack that covers all aspects of mast campaigning and you will have access to further specialists when required. Helping a cause you believe in is very very rewarding.

We know lots of you, and we have won and lost some battles, but the war can only be won by us working together for a national campaign, so please consider pledging some time to this. There are lots of things to do ranging through providing leaflets, helping our advisory team, and approaching other organisations on our behalf. You could come up with something we've not considered, but which would be worthwhile doing. You don't have to devote much time, but every little helps. Let us know what you're willing to help with. Thanks in advance.


REPORTS AND STUDIES

The August 2006 issue of The International Journal Of Cancer (Volume 119, issue 3) reported on a study carried out in Japan. It linked increased leukemia in children with magnetic fields prevalent in residential areas. This study confirms those carried out elsewhere, but at the behest of the World Health Organisation was conducted in a high-exposure area.

The Planetary Association for Clean Energy in Canada has carried out a study on cellphone emissions and notes sources and conditions that amplify allegedly safe levels of microwave emissions. Rainfall is noted as particularly liable. While one case is no proof, the experiences of the Stankavich household in Duanesberg, New York suggest it might be worth investigating the possibility that phone mast emissions are distorting electricity meter readings.

A two year study into the short-term effects of exposure to electro-magnetic radiation from TETRA masts is to be carried out by the University Of Essex. If you would like to volunteer please contact ehstudy@essex.ac.uk, or telephone 01206 873784. Volunteers will need to attend the University three times, and will receive travel expenses and a small payment for participating.

A new UK government-funded study has been announced. It will plot the possible effects of long-term mobile phone usage against any illnesses developed over a five year period. Sadly, the remit is confined to phones rather than including masts. Of course a standard way of delaying any official action is to claim the results of a study are awaited. In the meantime The International Journal Of Cancer has published a Finnish study linking cellphone use with cancer.

Monitoring organisation Microwave News has discovered a reason why scientific journal Radiation Research rarely publishes any articles citing the harmful effects of non-ionising radiation, while publishing plenty denying all adverse affects. It would seem in their supposed unbiased assessments they're using studies paid for by the mobile phone industry and contributors whose impartiality is undisclosed. Likewise the impartiality of the World Heath Organisation is called into question here by the British Medical Journal. The report concerns pharmaceuticals, but raises other questions.

Research has turned up a 1973 study in Canada subtitled "a threat to human health" on the effects of microwave radiation. This was obviously carried out before the era of widespread mobile phones and is very disturbing in the light of today's conditions. A study in Bologna has discovered that cell reaction to microwave radiation may be dependent on genome and proteome structures. This would occur for the variance in previous testing. Testing of seizure-prone animals in Santiago suggests that more tests are required on human mobile phone users who also suffer from epilepsy.

A significant study has been carried out in a remote area of Colorado indicating an increased risk of cancer from non-ionising radiation. In this instance it's from TV and radio transmitters, but the study also notes the findings as inconsistent. Here is some sworn testimony from industry safety experts before the transmitter was placed. In Switzerland a study of perception found all sorts of problems linked by respondents to electro-magnetic field exposure.

A very useful report has been published in Environmental Health Perspectives showing the sources of funding for tests on the health of mobile phone users. Also of interest is a report published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine noting conflicts of interest in cancer research.

Electrosensitivity is a recognised medical condition in Sweden, and Professor Olle Johannson has produced this paper on the topic (pdf format), and another on airborne radiation (pdf format).

In January the Electromagnertic Fields Discussion Group of The Health Protection Agency released the minutes of their October meeting .

LEGISLATION

The best UK legislative news of the past six months is the Welsh Assembly's vote to revoke the General Permitted Development Order regarding phone masts. The full text can be found here. It leaves England as the only part of the UK where full planning permission for phone masts is not required.

The Wireless Telegraphy Act passed into law late last year, but is of little use to anti-mast campaigners. It's largely an exercise in consolidating existing legislation into one act, but adds a few provisions. For instance in England and Wales a term of up to 12 months in jail can be applied for deliberately interfering with wireless communications. The context suggests this is aimed at pirate radio stations, but it could equally apply to masts. Residents of Scotland and Northern Ireland can escape with a maximum of six months. The full text of the act can be found at the Office Of Public Sector Information site.

A ruling by the Information Commissioner in September last year has jepardised the future of Ofom's Sitefinder site showing the location of mobile phone masts throughout the UK. The Commissioner agreed to a request made to have the information used on the site made fully available. Details such as mast strength and ownership are currently only available via searching a specific postcode. The information is voluntarily supplied by phone companies, who fear full disclosure will have commercial implications. Read a Guardian report here. It may only be a scare story as the site remains operational and updated six months on.

A landmark ruling regarding the consideration of environmental effects in the planning process was won by Diane Barker in January. As it applies to all planning it could be of use to anti-mast campaigners.

The government of Jersey is currently investigating the health effects from phone masts. Their site is here, but you'll have to work through pages, starting with Panels, to get to the information. Dr Carlo spoke in February, and Barrie Trower has also provided presentations

PRIME MINISTER'S PETITIONS & WEBCAMERON

It's the road pricing that's drawn all the headlines on the Prime Minister's e-petions site, but as of writing there are two phone mast related petitions available as well. Log on here and do your bit!

He's not Prime Minister yet, but David Cameron could be one day. He has a guest blog on his Webcameron page. He will reply to the top three blogs as voted for by visitors every week. In the Health section there's a blog titled Mobile Phone Masts, Health and Planning. We can't supply a direct link as it shifts about according to how many votes it gets, but it should appear on the Ask David page. Log on, add your vote and let's get a response.

ADVICE

A new version of the GRAM advice leaflet Making Us Sick: The True Health Costs of the Mobile/Wireless Revolution has been posted on the Goldsworth Residents Against Masts website for download. The leaflet collects together information from all recent studies to refute the constantly repeated industry chestnut that there's no link between statutory safe levels of non-ionising radiation and ill health. It also itemises the possible health risks, and notes how any advice and guidance from the former co-ordinator of the World Health Organisation's Radiation and Environmental Health Unit, Mike Repacholi, is severely compromised.

GRAM also have CD-Rom archiving a presentation by Dr John Walker on July 3rd last year titled Cancer Clusters, Our Children & Mobile Telephone Masts. They're hoping to find the bandwidth to host it online, but if you'd like a copy in the meantime please log on to the GRAM site.

Dr George Carlo recently addressed Westminster MPs, and his organisation now has exclusive distribution rights to the English language translation of a documentary titled Cell Phone War shown on French television last year. It details ongoing legal cases in the USA, and has a number of scientists relating dangers involved with mobile phones. For more information click here.

O2 have plans to install picocells in homes in exchange for cheaper phone calls. Our advice is that it's not worth the risk.

Anyone considering using the Freedom Of Information Act to prise information from local authorities, or indeed elsewhere, should start sooner rather than later. Although there's already considerable opposition, our freedom-loving government is hoping to disembowel the legislation, and their changes may take effect as soon as April. See The Campaign For Freedeom Of Information for more details.

CAMPAIGNS

First off, Wikipedia is gaining more and more credence as an online source of information. It's an ongoing web-based encyclopedia that anyone can update, although they have to credit their sources. The mobile phone entry is located here. As with other phone-related information, the industry is keen to ensure their view prevails. Let's keep a watch on the site and be sure to correct any lies and misinformation that appears.

There are considerable problems in Fareham. Residents of Nicholas Crescent were dismayed at the appearance of a 100ft signalling mast on Network Rail land behind their properties. Network Rail don't require permission for the mast, but claim it's usually policy to notify any residents within 100 metres. Meanwhile O2 have appealed against the decision by Fareham's planning department to reject a fifth mast within a 500 yard stretch of The Avenue. Their proposed 41 foot mast would have been placed next to an existing 53 foot mast. See below for happier news in Fareham.

Network Rail have also targeted an area near Solihull adjacent to the property of comedian Jasper Carrott , who's equally distressed at the prospect. He is, however, better equipped financially to fight back. Watch this space. Another celeb currently campaigning against a mast is Neil Morrissey .

Residents of Orpington Residents Against Masts are to induce a more responsible policy towards what they consider illegal masts at Bromley Council by hitting them financially. They've asked to have their Council Tax banding re-evalued on the basis of their properties being devalued by multiple masts on an old BT Exchange Centre in Goodmead Road. Conservative MP John Horam supports the campaign.

There is an active campaign against Hutchison 3G in Dussindale, East Anglia, spurred on by the refusal of Thorpe St Andrew Town Council to support their concerns. At a meeting on February 17th, the local council changed their minds and will in future side with the wishes of residents in discussions with the district council. They are further supported by the Norwich Evening News' Put Masts On Hold Campaign. As part of this the paper ran an article on the inconsistency of local councils in permitting masts on their properties.

Protestors in Wimbledon were e-mailed by Bernard Slade, the absentee owner of a building on which Orange want to place a mast offering a contract soliciting 130,000 from them in return for withdrawing the planning application. The sum is the income he claims he'd lose by not having the mast on his property. After two previous attempts by Orange in the area, there is already a well organised campaign supported by Conservative MP Stephen Hammond.

Video footage of a confrontation between T-Mobile workers and protestors in St Pauls Cray can be found on the News Shopper website. Parents claim T-Mobile breached a promise not to begin work until meeting local residents. Campaigner Mrs Anderson has called for a mass march on Downing Street over the issue of masts. T-Mobile also angered residents of Wanstead, East London by choosing to site their mast near a local primary school instead of any of the open areas nearby. As usual, they claimed that there was no risk to public health.

O2 are refusing to honour their promise to move a mast in the Moreden area of Swindon. Assurances were given in July last year, yet the mast remains in place. And it's O2 once again who've angered residents in Banbury by persisting with plans to place a mast near a nursery school.

Very active campaigners in Melton Mowbray have to date stopped several attempts by O2 to put up a mast in their area. O2 are now threatening a court order. That's exactly what's been applied for against them in Horsham after they erected a mast without permission and refuse to take it down. Since it was activated it has interfered with remote locking systems at a nearby car dealership in Roffey. O2's respect for the law they so frequently use is highlighted again in Hackney where residents have padlocked entry to a roof to prevent them putting up a mast for which permission had been refused. Never mind, O2 also plan to put up a mast next to a Junior School in Belsize Park, and have already erected one opposite a nursery school in Harlow without bothering to consult the school.

Vodafone are back for a second try to site a mast in Jack Straw's Lane in Marston, Oxford, having been refused permission in 2005. Even more signatures have been collected against it this time. And Worthing is being overun with masts at the moment.

VICTORIES

Please note that this section only lists court and campaign victories. While nowhere near as many local authority planning departments reject mast applications as we'd like, these rejections are still frequent enough to occupy a lot of space!

Bolton Council's decision not to permit T-Mobile to erect a mast near a local beauty spot was upheld by the government planning inspector in July last year. A T-Mobile appeal in Shenley, Hertfordshire, was also thrown out by the Planning Inspector in February on the basis of reducing the openess of the Green Belt. An removal enforcement notice was then served on a temporary mast in place for four years, but T-Mobile have moved it a mere 20 metres outside the area of the enforcement notice claiming emergency powers.

Residents of Wycombe Road in Marlow raised 18,000 to appeal Wycombe District Council's decision to permit T-Mobile to erect a mast near a school. The High Court found the school had not been consulted.

O2 have been refused permission to erect a 50 foot mast in the grounds of what was once Lady Hamilton's house in Fareham . The application was rejected on the grounds of being detrimental to the listed building. Their appeal against Bournemouth Council's decision not to let them site in Warnford Road was rejected on the grounds that they had not adequately investigated other options.

An incompetent display by Vodafone's representatives, and a well-briefed local campaign saw a dismissals of an appeal in Woking. The campaign was co-ordinated by GRAM, and a full account of the hearing and subsequent heated Council meeting can be found on the GRAM site.

O2 dropped their appeal against what Basildon Council claimed was an illegally sited mast near a primary school. O2 agreed to remove it, but unfortunately intend to submit a planning application for another site nearby. It took seven months, and a further campaign, but on February 1st O2 finally honoured their July 2006 promise to move a mast in the Moreden area of Swindon.

Wednesbury Action Against Masts helped to fight off Vodafone's appeal of Sandwell Council's decision not to let them site a mast in Wednesbury.

Residents of the Craigmillar Park area of Edinburgh successfully persuaded Network Rail not to erect a mast in their conservation area in November.

A long-hated mast in Barking was removed in February, but only because it was no longer being used, and occupants of Valence Hill in Dagenham won a second appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against Orange on February 1st.

INEFFICIENT COUNCILS NAMED AND SHAMED

 

There seems to be no end in sight for residents fighting what they believe to be an illegally erected phone mast in Codnor. T-Mobile withdrew their appeal against a public enquiry in July 2006, leading people to believe the mast would be removed as an illegally-erected structure. Amber Valley Borough Council's Chief Executive Peter Carney has conceded faults with the handling of the original application in 1999, but T-Mobile now claim only prior approval was required, so the mast remains in place. It would seem costly legal action by private individuals is the only recourse. Far from being concerned about the incompetence of his officials, Mr Carney has been "advising" regarding the consequences of any compensation action taken by residents against Amber Valley Borough Council.

Having been named and shamed for their incompetence in our last newsletter, Ryedale Distirct Council initially made partial amends by conceding the error and offering costs for re-siting a mast. They then changed their decision. What happened next is best scanned via the craven Council's own Extraordinary Meeting minutes. A complaint to the Ombudsman is due.

A complaint is also with Ombudsman about Woking Borough Council, whose incompetence deserves highlighting. They rejected a T-Mobile application on the basis that the proposed site was not circled in red on the accompanying map, misunderstanding legislation, then rejected the revised application a day before the deadline. T-Mobile then successfully claimed the date of the original application as the start of the 56 day period, and the mast is going up.

Despite being familiar with all the legal advice for fobbing off members of the public with legitimate health concerns, there are still numerous councils seemingly incapable of realising that there's a legally imposed 56 day deadline for dealing with mast applications. Masts are due to appear due to the incompetence of the following local authorities: Barnet Council, Cambridge City Council, Newark and Sherwood District Council, and Walthamstow Council. We can at least be grateful that this list has shrunk from the last newsletter.

Norwich City Council were aware of the deadline, but not that a rejection had to be in writing. An O2 mast is now on Newmarket Road thanks to this incompetence. Haringay Council, on the other hand, are acting within the law, but their greed is hardly commendable. They're hardly the only council raking in annual six figure sums from masts as More 4 news discovered via Freedom Of Information requests. The News Of The World has since produced an even fuller list.

If the planning process wasn't weighted enough in favour of mobile phone operators, Borough of Poole Councillors have voted to save themselves the bother of discussing any applications submitted under the prior approval process. Instead of being ashamed of the administrative incompetence of not being able to process such applications within the legally binding 56 day deadline, Head of Planning Peter Watson offered this negligence as an excuse for further burdening the public with masts. Join the discussion in the Dorset Daily Echo.

MONEY-GRABBING CHURCHES NAMED AND SHAMED

It's becoming all too common for churches to take money to have phone masts hidden in their steeples. Whether through ignorance or otherwise, very few even bother consulting with their parishioners. Among those currently causing offence are the following: The United Reform Church, Clayton Hill, Chapel West, Huddersfield, St John's Parish Church, Farsley, Leeds, All Saints Church, Broseley, Shropshire , All Saints Church, Shirley, Croydon, St Peter-Le-Poer, Muswell Hill, Muswell Hill Baptist Church, St John The Evangelist Church, Farnworth, The Peterlee Memorial Methodist Church, County Durham. By contrast The Rev Andrew Davis of St Peter's Church in Bishop's Waltham stresses the possibility of a mast in his church is nothing to do with greed.

GOOD NEWS

Having highlighted greedy churches, congratulations to Leeds vicar Brunel James who was willing to listen to the concerns of his parishoners and turned down money from O2. Haddington Church Council did the same, and St Peter And Paul church in Chinford was spared a T-Mobile mast as the diocese court ruled it could be used to spread pornography.

The media have very quickly identified the possible downside to wi-fi, and the past six months have seen a spate of articles questioning the placing of the technology in homes, schools, and the general safety. There was an unbiased discussion on Radio 4's You And Yours, which can be heard by clicking the link. It includes contributions from Professor Challis and Dr Carlo.

Talking of Dr Carlo, the Radiation Research Trust sponsored his February visit to the British Isles. It was well publicised and there were plenty of opportunities to pass on his cautionary message. There are links elsewhere in the newsletter to the You And Yours programme, and his comments to the Jersey authorities. He also gave a presentation to Westminser MPs, which was widely reported. A precis can be found on the Mast Sanity homepage, and you can watch his contributions to RTE's national news programme Prime Time.

Oxford City Council have been generally sympathetic to the concerns of their constituents regarding the proliferation of phone masts. In July last year they passed a resolution requiring all phone companies to inform local residents in advance of where masts were planned in their area, irrespective of permitted development rights.

Despite the initial optimism of the phone companies, it's become apparent that the general public isn't really keen on 3G technology. Vodafone's 3G revenue isn't matching the heavy subsidies they provide for 3G phones. A Sunday Times article reported that as of July last year sales of 3G phones had fallen to just 12% of the market. Unfortunately, in the short terms there will be no related drop in applications for 3G masts as statutory coverage is required. Further explanation can be found in an article at Theregister.com.

Residents of Arnison Avenue in High Wycombe celebrated in August as O2 removed a controversial mast one day before a court case to decide its future. The reason given for the removal by O2 was that it was no longer required, and they claimed the timing was coincidence.

After a long campaign in Belvedere by the Orange Squash group. Orange agreed to re-apply for a mast siting it 700 metres away from a local primary school instead of the 100 yards originally requested. Astoundingly, T-Mobile have now earmarked the site.

People power swayed the day in Eastbourne after T-Mobile's application for a mast on the Tally Ho pub were withdrawn. This was their second unsuccessful attempt to site a mast in the area. In Peterborough Hutchison were denied permission to retain a mast previously approved in 2005.

SNIPPETS

A new website has opened sponsored by the International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety. It's a non-profit organisation for the purpose of protecting public health from electromagentic emissions. The precautionary principle is fundamental to their ethos, and the people behind it were responsible for the Benevento Resolution , which now has 45 qualified signatories. It calls for unbiased and comprehensive research into the effects of electro-magnetic radiation.

You Tube hosts numerous documentary shorts regarding the safety of mobile phone technology. Start with the ABC News report here, or the disturbing CBS item on disguised masts here, or the electrosmog report here , then scroll through the related videos listed. It's also hosting snippets from the Richard & Judy discussion on EMF from Friday March 2nd.

An appalling lack of consideration is being shown by many schools in Edinburgh, who're happy to take the cash for phone masts on their buildings. Have they swallowed the phone company deceit hook, line and sinker, or are they just plain greedy?

Vodafone and Orange have announced a deal whereby in future they'll share 3G network facilities. In principle, this ought to mean fewer masts are required, as mentioned in this Guardian article. We have discovered over the years, however, that principle is a word often missing from the dictionaries of mobile phone companies.

Well done to Camden Council for rejecting an Orange mast to be sited just ten feet away from a house. Instead of accepting common sense, Orange have given notice they are to appeal the decision.

This May Scotland will be experiencing the first local authority elections under proportional representation. Big shake-ups are expected all over the country. With no party really sure of what their standing will be, what better to time to contact the non-ruling parties and enquire about their policies on masts. Click on the party names for links to their homepages. Conservative, Green Party, Liberal-Democrats, Scottish National Party, Scottish Socialist Party, Solidarity.

There's widespread concern about the declining insect and bird populations throughout the world, with no deifinitive answer. It's now been suggested that the loss of millions of bees in the USA may be down to the spread of electro-magnetic frequencies.

OVERSEAS NEWS

In a ruling last July a Greek court upheld a decision by the National Telecommunications and Post Commission ordering the removal of ten mobile phone masts, eight of them in Athens. The masts were ruled illegal as having been placed in concealed locations without a licence. The National Telecommunications and Post Commission are to use this ruling as a precedent to remove other illegal masts. Following revelations that many leading Greek politicians and military figures had their mobiles tapped by Vodafone, Greece has taken a tough line against the mobile phone industry. A bill was passed in 2006 keeping masts 500 metres away from schools in rural areas and 200 metres away in built-up areas.

In an article translated from Danish and posted on Omega.Twoday.Net a former Danish government advisor Professor J. Bach Andersen, also employed by phone companies, was revealed as quite the hypocrite. Having written in reports that radiation from masts is completely harmless, when plans were revealed for a mast to be sited near his home he joined the protest. He now claims that while there is no evidence of harm, the precautionary principle should be applied.

This year's mobile phone industry 3G beano was held in Barcelona, and the link is to photographs of anti-mast demonstrators protesting outside the event.

Belgium has passed laws reducing the amount of electromagnetic radiation permissable from phone masts. Although a reduction noted as 47 times lower, in practice the legislation goes nowhere near what would be required to ensure a good night's sleep for Brussels residents. In Hungary, though, there's now a 34 apartment building specifically constructed to ease the suffering of those susceptible to electrosmog.

Israel has proposed new laws holding cellphone companies, rather than local authorities, responsible for any drop in property prices due to their masts. The hand washing response with its inappropriate threats is all too predictable.

LINKS

Please note that Mast Sanity does not endorse any site listed, nor should opinions on these sites be considered those of Mast Sanity. The links are presented for information and interest purposes only.

Mast-Victims.org maintains a comprehensive list of news items with linked radio and video snippets, a discussion forum and testimonials from 102 people (to date) regarding the ill health they've suffered due to phone masts.

Hallberg Independent Research is an independent Swedish organisation studying health and electromagnetic fields. The website contains several relevant papers.

Long-time campaigner Eileen O'Connor has produced a handy report on health concerns assorted with electro-magnetic radiation. There's also been a recent profile of Eileen in The Irish Post.