Campaigners win hold on connection

Wednesday 7th August 2002 10:00 pm
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CAMPAIGNERS against siting a telephone mast on North Tawton Fire Station are pleased that the Devon Fire Authority has decided not to allow aerials and mobile phone masts on any of its premises because of concerns about public health.

An application to mount a mast on top of the new training tower in North Tawton was withdrawn several months ago after local residents, including the pre-school and young club submitted a petition.

After a meeting of the fire authority last week, it was agreed to defer any further applications by MMO2, which is handling the emergency services' new digital network, until the health issues surrounding mobile phone masts have been resolved.

North Tawton resident John Kinsey, who was part of the campaign in North Tawton, said he was pleased that the fire authority had listened to the views of the local people.

'When we had a meeting with the fire chief we found him to be very sympathetic,' he said.

'There was a great deal of concern about the application because it affected the whole town due to the position of the fire station.'

Next to a park and within close proximity of the pre-school and youth club, parents were particularly concerned about the potential health risks posed by the masts.

'We understand the need to improve communications for the emergency services but would have liked to have seen other locations being investigated which are not in large centres of population,' added Mr Kinsey.

Superintendent Tim Swarbrick said there was no scientific evidence to suggest masts were dangerous and he was a little disappointed with the fire authority's decision.

'It has presented us with a problem but we will endeavour to find alternative sites,' he said.

'The masts are part of a new national police integrated communication system which is coming on line next year.'

The new system called Airwave will prevent officers losing contact in blackspot areas like Moretonhampstead which can potentially be very dangerous.

He said the problem was that the new system all worked on mobile phone technology and new masts were needed to complete the network.