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Local Residents To Protest at Council Meeting Against Illegally Erected Mobile Phone Mast In Stradbr

category dublin | sci-tech | press release author Tuesday January 12, 2010 18:16author by People Before Profit Alliance - People Before Profit Alliance Report this post to the editors

Residents from St Fintan’s Villas and Park and surrounding estates in the Stradbrook area will hold a demonstration tomorrow, Wednesday January 13th at 4.45pm outside the January meeting of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co. Council to protest against a mobile phone mast recently erected on the grounds of TEK FC.

The 18.5 mast was erected by Obelisk Systems on behalf of the Meteor mobile phone company late last year without planning permission.

Following an outcry by local residents and representations by Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA), the Council instructed the company to remove the mast but the company have since applied for retention planning permission.

With the assistance of PBPA local residents have launched a campaign opposing the application to locate such a mast so near to their homes, local schools and crèches.

At two public meetings held in the local community centre before Christmas, residents agreed to mobilise the community to submit objections to the application to retain the mast and hold a protest outside the next meeting of the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co. Council.

Residents oppose the mast because of the illegal manner in which it was put up, the potential health risks from mobile phone masts and the masts visually obtrusive character in a residential area.

The residents are also gravely concerned that while the application for the mast is on behalf of Meteor, the mast is designed as a multi-user mast, which will accommodate other mobile phone company’s antennae – multiplying the potential health risks from the structure in the future.

Cllr Boyd Barrett has also put down a motion for the Council meeting proposing that persons or companies that knowingly flout the planning process should not be rewarded with subsequent planning permissions but rather should have penalties imposed on them, prohibiting them from making further planning applications for a period of two years and have heavy fines imposed on them.

Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett said:

“Local residents have every reason to be very angry about the attempt to put up one of these masts in such close proximity to their homes and with the way it was deliberately put up without planning permission.

It is very clear that Obelisk and Meteor misled the Council when erecting the mast - falsely claiming the development was “exempted” (i.e. did not require planning permission) on the grounds that they were simply replacing a mast of similar size and nature previously located on the same site. This claim was absolutely untrue and more than 60 residents who attended a public meeting before Christmas were adamant that no such mast had ever been located previously on the site.

It is absolutely clear that these companies sought to deceive the planners and bypass the legal planning process in the hope that the Council would be asleep at the wheel. It was only because local residents protested and the Council were contacted that it emerged that planning permission was, in fact, required and that the mast had been erected illegally.

It is a disgrace that having played fast and loose with the planning process that these companies can then apply for retention. They should not be rewarded for their wrong-doing. They should be penalised by being disqualified from making further planning applications for at least a couple of years and fined. Imposing serious penalties is the only way to bring these profit hungry companies to heel who think they ride rough-shod over local communities and legitimate health and environmental concerns.

It is widely acknowledged that major questions marks exist as to the potential health risks of these masts. While the scientific jury is still out on the matter, there are a number of International studies and reports that suggest there is a health risk or that there may be a health risk.

In recent times there have been a number of important Court rulings both in Europe and further a field that have required such masts be taken down, where they were erected too close to schools or residential areas, on the grounds of possible health risks.

In France at the end of last year, a court ruled in very similar circumstances that a mast should be taken down because of potential health risks and even more recently the Chilean Institute of Public Health produced a report stating that mobile phone masts do represent a danger to human health.

EU environmental law requires that a ‘precautionary principle’ should be applied where a development might have an adverse affect on human health even where the exact level of the risk is unknown or disputed.

There is no doubt that this precautionary principle should apply in a case like this where the mast is very close to several hundred residencies. Until we have clear scientific proof - one way or the other - about the safety of these masts they should be located well away from people’s homes and schools.

The People Before Profit Alliance have put in an objection to the mast citing examples of court rulings, health studies and EU environmental law, as well as pointing out the dishonest and illegal manner in which this mast was erected.

Many local residents have also put in objections and they will be backing those objections up with a protest outside the Council meeting to encourage the Council to refuse this application and insist on it being taken down.

I hope the Council will now pay heed to the justifiable objections and concerns of local residents and refuse permission to this mast.”

For more info/confirmation or to get in contact with local residents, contact Richard Boyd Barrett 087-6329511

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