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Neighbours fight phone mast plan for historic Lissenden Gardens estate

Phone company: Without base stations, the mobile phones we rely on simply won’t work

02 June, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

How the new equipment could look from Hampstead Heath

THE Town Hall is being urged to block mobile phone firms’ bid to put new masts and a base station on the roof of a block of flats that overlooks Parliament Hill Fields. Vodafone and Telefónica have asked for planning permission to put the new antennas on the roof of Chester Court, but the plans have been met with a raft of objections from neighbours on Lissenden Gardens estate.

Many say the new masts would wreck the roofline in a conservation area, while others have expressed fears that the masts will emit health-threatening radio waves. Edwin Keen, who lives near Chester Court, wrote to the council to object. He said: “Having a postgraduate degree in networks and communications, I learnt of this planning application with dismay. Like many in the scientific community I am deeply concerned about the electrical smog we are inflicting on the population. Mobile phone towers are significant contributors to the level of radiation received and, unlike individual mobile phones, are active 24/7.”

He added: “Exposure to the frequencies now in use, and the communication patterns and encoding methods currently used, has not been adequately researched and, of the studies carried out, some show extremely worrying trends.

Neurophysiologist Dr Keith Baxendale fears the masts are exposing thousands of youngsters to potentially dangerous levels of radiation and called for such masts to be banned within a mile of schools and nurseries, whereas the current proposal is close to three schools.”

Chester Court on the Lissenden Gardens estate

Leaseholder Nick Duffell added: “The plans show that the antennas are huge and unsightly and this is very out of keeping with the style and character of the surrounding buildings. Chester Court is in a conservation area and I feel that this will greatly compromise the character and the appearance.”

The firms say the new “4G” base station is necessary as mobile phone technology keeps improving and demand increases. In the planning application, they state: “It is important to note that mobiles can only work with a network of base stations in place where people want to use their phones or other wireless devices. “Without base stations, the mobile phones we rely on simply won’t work.”

The application includes an appraisal of whether the base station could be a threat to health. It adds: “We recognise that the growth in mobile technology has led, in some cases, to public concern about perceived health effects of mobile technology and its deployment, in particular about siting masts. Naturally, the public seeks reassurance that masts are not in any way harmful or dangerous. We are committed to providing the latest independent, peer-reviewed research findings, information, advice and guidance from national and international agencies on radio frequency electromagnetic fields.”

It added: “Vodafone and Telefónica ensure that our radio base stations are designed, built and operated so that the public are not exposed to radio frequency fields above the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). In fact, radio base stations operate at low power and emit low levels of radio frequency fields, typically hundreds to thousands of times lower than the ICNIRP general public guidelines.”

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