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26 May 2017

United Kingdom: Frome Mother Afraid Telephone Antenna Outside Home Could Heighten Risk of Children Developing Cancer

Hayley Riddick with her twin daughters and son
(Photo:  James Wood)
Frome mother afraid telephone antenna outside home could heighten risk of children developing cancer
by James Wood, somersetlive.co.uk
25 May 2017

Hayley Riddick is concerned at the risk of her children developing childhood leukaemia, brain tumours or brain cancer

A Frome mother battling to prevent a telephone antenna being installed outside her home says she is afraid that it could create health risks for her children.

Hayley Riddick, who is mother to twin daughters, aged eight months, and a son aged three and a half, is concerned the monopole could heighten the risk of her children developing childhood leukaemia, brain tumours or brain cancer.

Plans to install the monopole at the junction between Grange Road and Bath Road were submitted by Vodafone last month. The 15m shrouded monopole – otherwise known as an antenna – will come with two microwave dishes and three equipment cabinets.

It is the microwave dishes that are most concerning to Ms Riddick. She has spent time researching the effects of living near a mobile phone mast.

She said: “I am very concerned with the health risks for myself, my partner and my neighbours. The list is endless on the many health risks associated with living close to a mobile phone mast.

“It is less than 200 metres away from Frome Community College. Unfortunately, both pupils and staff have no choice but to teach and learn on this site.

“Alongside this the location of the proposed mast is within 400 metres of numerous public amenities such as Frome Community Hospital, Frome Medical Practice, the Merlin Theatre and Frome Leisure Centre. This exposes Frome's community to the aforementioned health risks.”

Ms Riddick thinks that there could be a much better location for the mast, away from houses and local schools.

She said: “I’m not blind to the fact that people need mobile phone signal. With a bit more thought I think Vodafone could find a better place for this mast.

“As a mother I have very strong concerns about the health risks to my children.”

Speaking of how she came across the application, Ms Riddick said: “It was by sheer luck I saw the application in the Frome Standard. We’ve had no notice of it here. There has been no consultation and no notice given to us as residents.

“I was straight on the phone to Frome Town Council about the application and Nick White helped organise a public meeting to discuss the antenna. Vodafone was invited but did not come.”

Ms Riddick thinks that the antenna could create health implications for everyone who lives and works in the vicinity.

She said: “It won’t be until ten to twenty years down the line that we could start to notice the implications of having a mast like this in the town.

“That’s when the impact on health could start to become visible.”

It’s not only the health implications that Ms Riddick is concerned about.

She said: “Bath Road is the main gateway into town. Visitors will see it as they come into town for the monthly market or the upcoming Frome Festival.

“It will look completely out of place and will tower two metres above the tallest trees.”

Mendip District Councillor Linda Oliver is campaigning against the location of the antenna alongside Ms Riddick and Frome Town Councillor Nick White.

She said: “I’ve had calls from a number of residents expressing their concerns with the plans.

“The location of the mast seems completely inappropriate. One resident has done quite a bit of research and is very upset about the proposals.

“They’re particularly concerned about the microwave dishes being in such close proximity to houses.”

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: “Vodafone and O2 customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live, work and travel.

“Base stations are low powered devices which cover approximately half a mile in radius, therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.

“Vodafone and O2 have identified that they need to improve the coverage to their customers in Frome.

“After pre-application consultation with the Ward Councillors, Frome Town Council and the local MP we have applied for a base station site at Bath Road.

“All Vodafone and O2 base stations operate well within guideline safety limits, below these guidelines there is no evidence of adverse health effects for any members of the public.”

http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/frome-mother-afraid-telephone-antenna-74156

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