Mother's victory over 'danger' phone mast

Date:

23/10/2003

Author:

Peter Allen

Source:

Daily Mail

Matter:

Phillips

A pregnant woman yesterday won a landmark legal case over mobile phone masts linked to serious health risks such as cancer.

Jodie Phillips, a 27 year old nurse who is expecting her first child in January, successfully argued that such masts 'terrified' people living nearby.

She persuaded a High Court judge that telecom company Hutchinson 3G had no right to put a 40ft high mast just yards from her home.

The ruling opens the way for residents to fight masts being built in thousands of locations.

Speaking after her victory, Mrs Phillips said: 'No one has ever proved these masts are safe and we didn't want to be the guinea pigs that developed terrible diseases.

'This has been like David and Goliath I have been taking on a giant company.

'I hope this decision gives some heart and hope to all the other people fighting corporations to stop the march of the masts across the country.' Mrs Phillips, of Waterlooville, near Portsmouth, claimed companies such as Hutchinson 3G were choosing spots which were cheap and easy to get planning permission for.

There are currently around 27,000 masts in Britain, but the figure is predicted to reach 40,000 by 2007.

The majority will be for the so-called 'third generation' phones, which have been linked with numerous health scares.

A cluster of breast cancer and tumour cases near a mast at Wishaw, near Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, is currently being investigated. And research published this month linked 3G phones which transmit at a higher signal than ordinary mobiles to a variety of illnesses.

In a stinging judgment, Mr Justice Richards yesterday warned that people's health fears had to be taken into account when applications were made to put up masts.

Revoking Hutchinson 3G's permission to keep the mast so close to Mrs Phillips's home, the judge said: 'The question is not just is this an acceptable location but is this the best location?

'And for the purpose of answering that question, one can and should look at whatever alternative possibilities there may be.' The judge rejected Hutchinson's argument that the issue of alternative sites was 'an irrelevance'.

Mrs Phillips is particularly worried about the effect the mast's signal transmissions could have on her baby, due in January.

She said: 'We had huge fears about having this mast sited there from the moment the application was made last year.

'This is our family home and we don't want to live in fear.

I'm now six-and-a-half months pregnant. The whole thing has been very stressful.

'I'm delighted and relieved at the judge's decision, but we still have a long way to go to get this mast pulled down.' Her solicitor Richard Buxton described mobile masts as 'a real problem', adding: 'Residents hate them and they are hard to challenge. This judgment gives some hopes to residents.'

Scientists in Holland have revealed that 3G signals could cause extreme illness.

They said those exposed to 3G base station signals 'felt tingling sensations, got headaches and felt nauseous'.

Hutchinson 3G said it would consider an appeal. A spokesman said: 'We always engaged fully in the planning process and did so in this case.

'We will review the possibilities with regard to this site following the High Court decision.'