Local Tories Express Concern Over Mobile Masts

New Bill would allow residents greater say in planning process

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Councillor Peter Thompson, Leader of Hounslow's Conservative Group, welcomed a proposed new law to give Hounslow Council a stronger say on the location of mobile phone masts.

A Private Members Bill, by Conservative MP Richard Spring, is working its way through the House of Commons. If the Bill was passed, it would give greater powers to local authorities in England and Wales to reject inappropriate applications for mobile phone masts, and place the onus on Telecommunication companies to prove that there is an essential need for controversial masts.

Cllr Thompson explained, "In light of the recent controversy about the masts on Chiswick Police Station I do hope that this bill becomes law. There is a great deal of concern across Hounslow about the erection of mobile phone masts. We all want to be able to use mobile phones, but that doesn't mean we should allow the dumping of poorly-sited mobile phone masts in Hounslow on the cheap. There are also concerns about health and this is why I welcome these proposals, which would give local people a greater voice to stop the invasion of badly-placed masts.�

For this legislation to become law - it will need the support of the Government and Cllr. Thompson is calling on Ann Keen to support the bill.

Richard Spring MP's Telecommunications Masts Bill received its Second Reading in the House of Commons on Friday 5 March 2004 but was unfortunately objected and therefore will be read a second time on Friday 20 May. As a Private Member's Bill, it will be dependent on Government support to become law.

The Government-commissioned Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones ('the
Stewart Report') in 2000 recommended a precautionary principle with regards mobile phone mast siting. It reported that children might be especially vulnerable to any adverse effects of radiation yet Government-issued Planning Policy Guidance in England on mobile phone masts prevents councils objecting to mobile phone masts purely on health grounds.

May 10, 2004