Clive Efford is extremely disappointed that the Fire and Emergency Planning Authority approved the installation of O2 mobile phone equipment on the mast at the former Shooters Hill Fire Station at their meeting last Thursday.
The FEPA’s decision came despite wide-spread local opposition to the mast. Clive held a site visit in April along with local people and representatives of the Fire Service and a further public meeting last Wednesday at Shrewsbury House to discuss the report and recommendations that were going before the committee.
Residents are concerned that there is not one single expert who can categorically state that there are no health risks posed by the radio wave emissions from the mast. They feel that the authority has not applied the precautionary approach and has failed to sufficient attention to the potential risks to local residents.
As well as mobile phone equipment from Orange, the mast also houses the emergency services communication system Tetra. Now the FEPA has given permission for 02 to put further mobile phone equipment on the mast.
Clive has written to the Greenwich Primary Care Trust because residents claim that there is a higher rate of certain illnesses in the Shooters Hill area close to the mast than in other parts of the borough. Clive says, “If there is any evidence to back up this claim I will demand the removal of the mast.”
The Home Office commissioned a study of police officers who use the Airwaves system on a daily basis that is also attached to the mast. This is the first study of its kind and will help to clear up the uncertainty surrounding the health issues.
The authority has sold space to Orange and O2 to place their mobile phone aerials on the mast. Clive asked the authority not to give permission to O2 to add their equipment and to terminate the existing arrangement with Orange. Clive says, “It may not be possible to remove the emergency aerials at this late stage, but there is a great deal of concern that the mobile phones are adding to the problem. The Fire Service could have at least given some recognition to the concerns of the residents and stopped the mobile phone companies putting their equipment on the mast.”
“I appreciate that the Fire Authority has to take the wider issues of the people of London into consideration regarding the emergency equipment and that in the absence of any evidence that proves there are health risks to people living nearby they feel they have no other choice. However the addition of the phone equipment so close to people’s homes is not necessary and should be removed.”