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Controversial plans for South Woodford 5G mast to be discussed by council tonight

PUBLISHED: 15:00 16 July 2020

The application is to erect a 5G phone mast on a grass verge in South View Drive, South Woodford. Picture: Google

The application is to erect a 5G phone mast on a grass verge in South View Drive, South Woodford. Picture: Google

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More than 400 people have objected to plans to put up a 5G telephone mast in South Woodford, including two ward councillors from opposing parties.

Cllr Suzanne Nolan is one of hundreds of people who have objected to the proposal. Picture: Suzanne NolanCllr Suzanne Nolan is one of hundreds of people who have objected to the proposal. Picture: Suzanne Nolan

The mast, intended for a grass verge in South View Drive, will be discussed at a Redbridge Council planning committee meeting tonight (Thursday, July 16) at 7.15pm.

Some objectors, including Conservative Group leader Cllr Suzanne Nolan (South Woodford), objected due to health concerns, despite there being no evidence 5G is unsafe.

Councillors will also discuss an application to build a tower block of 330 flats, 30 storeys high at its tallest point, in High Road, Ilford.

Regarding the telephone mast application, Cllr Nolan wrote: “The proposed telecommunications infrastructure, located within a residential area and in close proximity to schools and facilities used by community groups, would have an adverse health impact on residents of the area.”

Council officers replied reassuring Cllr Nolan and other concerned residents that the applicant has “submitted a certificate declaring conformity with the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation (ICNIRP) public exposure guidelines”.

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Non-ionising radiation, of the kind produced by telephone masts, lacks the energy to damage the cells of the human body.

In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that “no adverse health effects have been established” from the use of mobile phones.

Because 5G technology requires more base stations, each one can run at a lower power level than previous 4G masts, meaning radiation exposure from the new masts is actually lower.

Another South Woodford councillor, Beverley Brewer (Lab), argued that the proposed development is “excessive in scale” and would be “visually intrusive and overly prominent”.

She added: “The applicant has failed in providing adequate justification for the proposed development at such a site, and has failed to sufficiently identify alternative sites.”

Plans for the mast were previously reduced from 20 metres tall to 15 metres, in response to a prior public consultation.

There were 12 responses recorded in favour of the application, which argued that bringing 5G to the area “will allow for increased educational opportunities that will provide a valuable benefit to those living in the local community, particularly those who do not have access to home broadband”.

The meeting can be viewed on Microsoft Teams here


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