Council urged to defend phone mast rejection in court

Mast may be sited near Eastfield Primary School
Mast may be sited near Eastfield Primary School

WITH major mobile phone companies appealing against the refusal of a controversial application to build a phone mast near a local school, North Lanarkshire Council is being called on to defend its decision in court.

Vodafone and O2 have twice applied for permission to build a phone mast on a site near Eastfield Primary School and Nursery, triggering protests from the school community and politicians.

The protests have centred around concerns over health implications to children from exposure to emissions from masts, although Vodafone and O2 state that emissions from their mast would fall far below the regulation limit.

They also say that the site is the best possible option after evaluating around a dozen alternatives. The firms have appealed against the council’s unanimous refusal of its second application, asking the Scottish Government to intervene. The appeal decision is due in late November.

Now Independent councillor Gordon Murray has written to North Lanarkshire Council, encouraging it to defend its case. In his letter, Councillor Murray says: “Has this local authority ever gone to the court to object to a specific location by a telecommunications provider? Is the case of the mast adjacent to Eastfield Primary and Nursery School not a suitable issue for North Lanarkshire Council to challenge the objector’s right to locate in this position?

“No-one can be certain of the long-term effects of the radiation from masts on young children 50 or 60 years in the future. There is widespread opposition from the parents and staff of the school and nursery to this proposed mast situation.”

Referring to the Telecommunications Act 1984, Councillor Murray added: “The council has of course rejected the application, but under the existing law it would be difficult for the Scottish Government to oppose the policy of a previous British Government at a time when there was no Scottish Government or Executive. Has not the council the right to face the proposers in court to examine their full case?”