A CAMPAIGN group set up to fight against the building of a mobile phone mast in Belper, claims a staggering 99 per cent of residents it spoke to were not consulted before the mast was eventually installed.
Belper Against Mast (BAM) is now seeking guidance on the possibility of requesting a local referendum to enable the local community to express its feelings on the matter.
Lee Stevenson, of BAM, said: “Clearly this is not a step that BAM would take lightly, given we have no desire to unnecessarily cost the public purse.
“The exceptionally high response rate of completed questionnaires demonstrates quite clearly the true feeling of local residents and parents within the Belper community.
“Even the government’s own Stewart report in 2000 stated, ‘We cannot say for sure whether the emissions are safe’. Which is precisely why we are on this journey.”
BAM was formed in response to Amber Valley Borough Council’s planning board giving planning permission for a mast at the junction of Marsh Lane and Laund Nook in the town.
The group intends to first approach Belper town council over its referendum idea.
The mast is one five new ones planned for Belper.
The group is also furious at what it claims was a point-blank refusal by Vodafone and O2 — the companies behind the mast — to a request under the Freedom of Information Act to provide information on the polar diagrams of field strength of the mast, as well as the time when it will become operational.
Wayne Green, of BAM, said: “Vodafone’s position appears to suggest that they are under no obligation to provide this information, despite their relentless claims that they have nothing to hide.
“We don’t know whether mobile phone masts are dangerous and that is precisely why we are seeking further clarity.”
BAM is currently working with professor Chris Busby, of The Green Audit, in the hope of collating information on adverse effects of living near to mobile phone masts.
BAM say that Vodafone and O2 have not used the Precautionary Principle in siting this mast so close to St John’s Primary School and the play area known as the three-cornered rec.
A planning application has now been submitted by Vodafone and O2 for a 12.8 metre high telecommunications pole on land off Derby Road, Belper.