At last we have a meeting with Hutchison 3G who are the mobile phone company erecting a mast on Mount View Road – where residents have been fighting tooth and nail against it.
Even Haringey turned it down – but Hutchison won on appeal. This is really a last ditch attempt to try and get Hutchison to change their mind.
These meetings are never easy – and I am grateful to Mike Davies from Hutchison for coming to face us. The mast will be situated barely 20 metres from residents’ houses, and very close to children’s bedrooms.
For me the important issue is to follow the precautionary principle – don’t site masts near young children, vulnerable people and schools etc. So – back to this mast. Robin Derham and near neighbours with a range of phenomenal skill sets were there for the discussion. There had been deliberately no demonstration organised this time – the idea was to talk and persuade.
Attending as well as Mike Davies, who is the Corporate Affairs Manager for H3G, was the planner for the site and on the residents’ side – Barbara Derham (Co-ordinator of the Neighbourhood Group, Mount View Road); Dorothy Livingston (lawyer); Peter Sommer (radio and telecomms expert); Chris Turrell (businessman) and Dr Chris Wood – doctor specialising in immune systems. Sadly Neil Morrissey could not be there – but was quoted as saying he was willing to chain himself to the railings if it came to it!
I won’t go into the techy arguments – but Mike Davies agreed to take back to the decision makers the question that Robin put – were Hutchison willing to look for alternative sites even at this late stage? And also – to look at the angles and direction of the coverage which appeared to mostly go towards the houses where there was already coverage as opposed to H3G’s stated aim of filling in the coverage gap in the other direction.
I hope they will look for a new site as far away from residential properties as is possible. They mentioned a site that seemed to be arbitrarily rejected before, but I don’t know enough details to judge whether it would be better or worse than this one.
So – we wait and hope.
One problem H3G voiced was that Haringey Council has put a moratorium on masts on council property, land or buildings – and that is forcing the mast companies on to residential streets. The criteria should surely be not who owns a possible site – but how suitable or not the site is.
Second problem – and one I will be pursuing – is that the conditions set by the Government for the licence for mast companies requires that they have an independent network. With five companies in the field all erecting their own sites – that’s a lot of masts. So – I’ll be pressing the Government to allow for more sharing of resources.
We do all (well many of us – including me) use mobile phones – which is why I’m happy with arguing for the precautionary principle – and not an outright ban – because we should put health concerns first, whilst also recognising that people do like having decent reception on their phones.