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Sunday 10 August 2008

High Acres Phone Mast Protest

This site is not the place for a debate over radiation safety but residents of Stourbridge in the West Midlands are calling for their local water tower to be demolished over health fears from the mobile phone masts on the water tower.

50% of the number of news alerts BWTAS gets on water towers turn out to be protests about phone masts. Stourbridge is not the only case. Residents of Halstead near Colchester, Essex have raised similar concerns.

The High Acres and Halstead water towers are not exceptional examples of reinforced concrete construction but their straightforward and honest appearance has been greatly disfigured by the accretion of masts and antennae. We think most members of BWTAS would object to putting phone masts on water towers on those grounds alone.

Dudley Metropolitan Council says:

"The water tower at High Acres on which the antenna are attached, and the land on which the water tower stands, are privately owned.

"All antenna currently on there are permitted developments. Any company wanting to install such equipment must provide a certificate to confirm emissions from their equipment is within guidelines set out by the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

"We have carried out checks at the High Acres water tower and all the equipment meets the legal planning requirements. However, any additional equipment would need planning permission."

These water towers look similar to the Octel water tower on Anglesey which so far has escaped such vandalism, perhaps because of the location amidst stunning coastal scenery, although that does depend on which direction you look.

It does seem as if tower owners can put masts on towers with very little objection (and derive substantial income from doing so). But if planning permission is required to put masts on water towers, perhaps more vigorous objections on aesthetic grounds in the first place could be effective.

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