County braced for phone mast blitz
By Roddy AshworthAN MP has warned at least 30 new mobile masts are being planned for the Colchester and Tendring areas - from just one telecommunications company.
By Roddy Ashworth
AN MP has warned at least 30 new mobile masts are being planned for the Colchester and Tendring areas - from just one telecommunications company.
Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP for North Essex, called for “proper consultation” over the siting of the antennae, which he said needed to address concerns about health risks and the visual effect on the countryside.
Mr Jenkin gave his warning about the 30 new masts - which are designed to cater for third generation (3G) technology - after a meeting with mobile phone company O2.
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He is also seeking details from other mobile phone companies to see how many more masts they would need to install as they upgraded their services.
“I was horrified to hear that another 30 masts were planned for our area, and this is only from one mobile phone company,” said Mr Jenkin.
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“I understand the commercial need for masts, but these companies need to understand the legitimate concerns of residents over both health fears and the threat to our rural landscapes. Consultation and general public consent is key.”
But a spokeswoman for O2 said the new masts were much smaller than their predecessors.
Angela Johnson, community relations manager for O2, added when masts were to be placed near schools, hospitals and homes, there would be a consultation process with residents.
“They may just be antennae on the side of buildings. They are nowhere near as tall as the former ones,” she said.
“We are aware people have concerns on health and safety grounds, but this technology has been around a long time and there is no evidence of any risk to health for people living nearby.
“We do try to reduce visual impact wherever possible, particularly in areas of outstanding natural beauty.”
Ms Johnson added 10 new sites would be proposed in Colchester for the 3G masts, five of which would be where there were already masts.