Mast for Whittington Park is experiment on our children, says mum

Friday, 19th November 2010

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Published: 19 November, 2010
by PETER GRUNER

ANGRY residents in Archway protested this week about plans to site a 50ft mobile phone mast in Whittington Park.

Consultations are taking place on proposals to install the freestanding Vodafone device at the entrance to the park opposite the community cafe in Rupert Road. The mast would be close to a nursery, playgrounds and Yerbury Primary School.

It follows a row over the removal of trees for the building of new sports changing rooms, which opened in the park last week.

Opposing the mast, resident Nicolette Galliers said Whittington Park would not meet any of the criteria on where to site such a structure. “We have schools, football pitches and playgrounds in the vicinity. And think of the mess it will incur during construction, with vehicles coming and going along a main thoroughfare for children.

“It’s the worst possible place to put this device, particularly when the health risks have not been properly addressed.  It’s a massive experiment on our children.”

Liz Case, a trustee of the Whittington Park Community Centre, said users have already faced disruption with the building of the changing rooms and a new ecology centre, which is still not open.

She added: “To have more disruption is beyond belief. We want things that will make it a park, like allotments and community activities, not a giant phone mast.”

Lib Dem councillors Ursula Woolley and Arthur Graves say they will fight the proposals in council.  

Cllr Woolley said: “We’ve spent the last five years getting investment into the park. This mobile phone company is going to come along and ruin everything. We hope they get the message from today that we don’t want this mast.”

Although a recent scientific report suggested electromagnetic emissions from phone masts close to schools were within safety guidelines, the government has called for a “precautionary” approach to the issue with regular tests.

A spokeswoman for the scheme said Vodafone will share the mast with O2. She added: “We recognise that some communities are concerned regarding the deployment of radio base stations close to residential areas but without radio base stations, mobile phones will not be able to work.  

“All of our base stations are designed, built and operated in accordance with stringent international guidelines laid down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.  

“The adoption of these guidelines has the formal backing of independent bodies such as the World Health Organisation. Typical public exposures from our base stations will be many hundreds, if not thousands, of times below these guidelines.”

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