A judge has ruled that a project to transmit wireless broadband from Norfolk’s church towers can go ahead, despite the health concerns of objectors.

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Judge Paul Downes oversaw a consistory court hearing on Monday to hear a disputed “faculty application” made by the parish of Postwick, outside Norwich.

The village’s church is the first to apply to install a wi-fi transmitter under the Wispire project, a joint venture by the Diocese of Norwich and service provider FreeClix 
to beam high-speed internet 
into surrounding homes and businesses.

Objections were registered by charity Electro-sensitivity UK (ESUK), which represents people who suffer a wide range of symptoms which they attribute to the presence of electromagnetic fields.

The group, along with individual objectors, submitted extensive statements and research backing their claims that broadband signals could potentially cause ill-health – but none of the opponents attended the hearing in person.

Instead, research scientists Dr Azadeh Peyman of the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Dr James Rubin of King’s College London were able to convince 
the ecclesiastical court that there was “no consistent evidence” to support theories of health risks associated with wireless broadband signals.

Judge Downes ruled that, in the absence of an opportunity to cross-examine the objectors’ research, the court had accepted the “live” evidence presented.

His ruling says: “The consistory court, like any other court, can only come to conclusions on evidence and proof.

“The views of others, however genuinely held, which do not take the matter under consideration beyond the bounds of the realm of anxious possibility only, can never be substituted for evidence and proof which is positive in nature and capable of evaluation.

“In this case the views and reports produced by the objectors from many different sources were not available for cross examination or evaluation.

“The court, therefore, had to decide which evidence it preferred. The court concluded that it preferred that of the live evidence of experts in their field, whose testimony the court was able to examine and evaluate, and went on to accept.”

Judge Downes’ decision could now pave the way for as many as 150 other Norfolk churches which have registered an interest in the Wispire scheme.

Deputy diocesan secretary David Broom said: “Clearly we are very pleased at the judgment but I am also pleased that we have aired these concerns, because we recognise they are strongly held by some people and we wanted to make sure they were taken into account.

“We think it could be the first time a consistory court has sat to discuss this issue and because of that, the judgment could have broader implications for other dioceses.”

The faculty was granted with conditions including that, should there be any advice from any government advisory body stating the limits of electromagnetic emissions require reduction, these directions must be followed.

Judge Downes’ ruling also says any safety instructions issued by the World Health Organisation or the HPA must be followed.

The EDP was unable to contact ESUK last night.

33 comments

  • Richard, this is an out dated argument. Radio frequency radiation does damage DNA, as found in so many published studies (eg Ruediger 2009, Genotoxic effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Pathophysiology 16: 89-102). By increasing oxidative stress in living systems radio frequencies can damage DNA, and there are many other ways that biological molecules can be affected without directly knocking an electron out of orbit. As for radio, the Supreme Court in Italy ordered the Vatican to compensate families for the increased cancer deaths near to their radio transmitters this year.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • Better than that, wi-fi studies can be carefully controlled and double-blind, like this one which finds effects of wi-fi on humans: Papageorgiou et al 2011 J Integ Neurosci 10(2), 189-202.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • In Italy the Supreme Court has ordered the Vatican to compensate families for the increased cancer deaths near to their radio transmitters.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • WIMAX invalid, I'm not sure if you have read the WHO statement on Electromagnetic fields and public health...It was issued in 2006 & states categorically that there is no evidence of such devices having any carcinogenic effect at all & concludes.. "Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects."

    Report this comment

    el84

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • Radio frequency radiation does damage DNA, as found in so many published studies (eg Ruediger 2009, Genotoxic effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Pathophysiology 16: 89-102). By increasing oxidative stress in living systems radio frequencies can damage DNA, and there are many other ways that biological molecules can be affected without directly knocking an electron out of orbit.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • A convincing study of 15 subjects which uses the word 'may' in its conclusions - hardly concrete evidence I would suggest.

    Report this comment

    Lord Horn

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • The Supreme Court in Italy ordered the Vatican to compensate families for the increased cancer deaths near to their radio transmitters.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • Test. Comments aren't being posted.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • Radio frequency radiation does damage DNA, as found in so many published studies (eg Ruediger 2009, Genotoxic effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Pathophysiology 16:89-102). By increasing oxidative stress in organisms radio frequencies can damage DNA, and there are many other ways that biological molecules can be affected without directly knocking an electron out of orbit. As for radio, the Supreme Court in Italy ordered the Vatican to compensate families for the increased cancer deaths near to their radio transmitters this year.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • I have no doubt that the anti wi-fi objectors will now slate Judge Downes’ decision . However, I for one now feel vindicated in my support for the installation of wi-fi transmitters in church towers. A victory for common-sense and for the church!

    Report this comment

    Douglas McCoy

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • Lord Horn, the church is all here for 'all this religious nonsense'. The church is not a broadband provider, but an organisation committed to spreading the Word of God and showing the love that Jesus had for everyone in society. The scientific evidence for damage to health from wi-fi will grow, as there is enough published already to justify concern.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • How are 'the arguments put forward by Mr Jones seriously flawed?' Basing an opinion on controlled sceintific studies isn't flawed, it is logical. You may be blinded by your desire for Wi-Fi from church steeples, but it won't change the science or make the technology safe for the members of the community exposed against their will. I hope the church will monitor the health of its parishioners, and keep a record of (cancer or other) dealths to see if they increase. If they do, the church may be required to compensate the families concerned in the future. This project is forcing a whole community to be exposed to a class 2B carcinogen whether they like it or not.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

  • I agree with Mr. Jones, we are being exposed against our will. In the same way that cigarette smoke pollution irritates some people, I am bothered by wi-fi, cell phone and other RF pollution. I have proved that I am sensitive to this in double blind experiments as Dr. James Rubin mentioned above will tell you. Also I am not alone in this sensitivity as the reems of anecdotal evidence as well as numerous unbiased scientific studies have shown there are negative affects of exposure on the human system. I can totally understand that many people desire more transmitters to get more wireless coverage but spare a thought for those of us that have no choice but to endure increasing pain as the wireless future is rolled out.

    Report this comment

    faisal khawaja

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

  • What a lot of religious nonsense from Mr J - parishioners I'm sure will be more than happy with their improved internet access and the mumbo jumbo over health issues is an old pony that should have been put out to grass years ago!

    Report this comment

    Lord Horn

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • Mr Jones, sadly for you the WHO review you mention was for mobile phones. Not Wi-fi & it states that .....The electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans. BUT it's findings are......A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use. So yes it accepts there may be, but categorically states that no current evidence exists to even support a theory that it may cause problems let alone does cause any problems. Thats the problem with facts, when they are not understood, not read in person or misquoted for any other reason. They become unhelpful...Look at the research & you will see why the non linear effect of RF field strengths are important..Even a few feet reduces the Volts per meter massively on low power transmissions. The WHO for example does not see texting as having any potential risk, as it is conducted at a distance of a few inches from the body.

    Report this comment

    el84

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

  • The WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radio frequency radiation as a potential carcinogen in May of 2011. We may not have conclusive evidence of harm from Wi-Fi, but we do have evidence. The Church is obviously prepared to take the risk that they might damage people, in order to build links with businesses.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • I have an uneasy feeling... when I think about those people who do not proportion their belief to the evidence. If the evidence isn't there, we don't sit around on the assumption that one day it will be, we get on with our lives. The alternative would mean sitting under the stairs with a tin hat on because we could never be sure that it was absolutely safe to come out.

    Report this comment

    a fine city

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • All truth goes through three stages: first it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed, finally it is accepted as self evident. - Schopenhauer http:www.youtube.comwatch?v=FO0AnNHz8vI

    Report this comment

    Spinneyhorse

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

  • This latest garbage about Wi-fi is exactly that it's the latest extension of some peoples universal fear of the new, lets see where have we seen this before.... Radar, Radio, Television, Mobile Phones, Tetra radios and now wi-fi. Come on wi-fi radio waves are non-ionising they have about 11000 of the power necessary to damage DNA I would suggest that cosmic rays passing through your body at 99.9% of the speed of light pose more of a risk than 10mW of wif-fi or 60mW of Wimax

    Report this comment

    Richard_Waugh

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • I didn't expect anything else but is doesn't stop me from having uneasy feeling about it all.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • WiSpire may have won this case, but the Church will be the loser. If the Church decides to take risks with the health and wellbeing of its parishioners then it has lost the one thing that Jesus asked it to do. Love your neighbour.

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • John. Get a VHF broadcast radio, extend the antenna & hold the radio so that the antenna is horizontal. Now turn your radio as you are listening to a strong signal, you will get what is called a Null, a low point in the received signal, that null will be at the base of your antenna. The RF (magnetic field) being produced by these Wi-fi antennas will be the same, so the height of these antennas, together with the radiation pattern of an antenna & the fact that these Wi-fi transmitters will be very low power will make any signal strength from them minimal, even close up. The power will be usable for what is required, but insufficient to do anything else. If you think about it, many many offshore DJ's spent weeks at a time living just feet from a transmitter producing many tens of thousands of watts & these wi-fi transmitters wil not produce anything more than a few watts at most & there is no evidence to suggest offshore broadcasters are as a whole more prone to any problems & with people like Keith Skues or Andy Archer, there has been 50 years for it to show up & it has not.

    Report this comment

    el84

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • Better than that, wi-fi studies can be carefully controlled and double-blind, like this one which finds effects of wi-fi on humans http:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.govpubmed?term=papageorgiou%20AND%20wi-fi

    Report this comment

    Mr Jones

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • If there is no risk, why have the World Health Organisation classified these signals as a possible carcinogen and the EU Council of Europe have called for a ban - significantly for children. Clearly money from the telecom revenues matters more than health ..... and this is being rolled out by the Church.

    Report this comment

    WIMAX invalid

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • I will not present by cutting and pasting the alternative scientific arguments against the evidence that spinneyhorse and faisal khawaja have done as it is apparent that they both feel EMF is a health hazard. Unfortunately, neither of them have answered my objections to their stance on this issue by answering my question about how do they know what type of RF and EMF exposure precipitated the sensitivity that they claim many people have become sensitised to? Given that unless someone has been on another planet for the past 75 years EMF and RF transmissions surround all of us for most of the time. Selecting one type of RF or EMF transmission is fraught with difficulty as indeed is it to identify when and where sensitisation was first acquired. Wi-fi strength is considerably less than other types of RF and EMF pollution and unless one wants to ban most types of modern communications devices they are being very selective in their objections to wi-fi!

    Report this comment

    Douglas McCoy

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

  • Some years ago, I recall a study that said sweets and chocolate were good for your teeth. Researchers can just about make a hypothesis stand up to say anything. The sad thing is, when that research appears credible and feeds hyper-sensitive people with a propensity to believe anything that challenges conventional wisdom and common sense, it can have far reaching consequences. Just ask the poor parents of people who believed that Andrew Wakefield and didn't immunise their kids against MMR. Wireless broadband has great potential to improve the lives of millions in rural areas. Let's hope common sense prevails and not the views of a few mavericks.

    Report this comment

    Tom Jeffries

    Monday, October 3, 2011

  • The arguments put forward by Mr Jones are seriously flawed. Whilst some limited studies have shown that RF radiation can damage DNA this was under accelerated and controlled laboratory conditions. No large scale independent studies have proved that wi-fi has contributed to ill health amongst the human population. To prove wi-fi transmissions were the cause of ill health would therefore require that a person was isolated from all other forms of RF transmissions except wi-fi throughout their life. As damage to human DNA could potentially occur from so many variable sources of RF transmission the argument that wi-fi had caused ill health would be extremely unlikely. The people who worry about the effects of wi-fi transmissions on their health seriously need to get this situation into perspective. The reality is we have all been subject to a myriad of RF transmissions for years and for the majority of the population as a whole the health effects have been inconsequential.

    Report this comment

    Douglas McCoy

    Monday, October 3, 2011

  • There's a novelty...religion damaging peoples' health :-)

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    Lord Horn

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • 11000 = one thousandth

    Report this comment

    Richard_Waugh

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • Int J Neurosci. 2011 Sep 5. Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Evidence for a Novel Neurological Syndrome. McCarty DE, Carrubba S, Chesson AL, Frilot C, Gonzalez-Toledo E, Marino AA. Source 1Department of Neurology, LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. Abstract ABSTRACT Objective: We sought direct evidence that acute exposure to environmental-strength electromagnetic fields (EMFs) could induce somatic reactions (EMF hypersensitivity). Methods: The subject, a female physician self-diagnosed with EMF hypersensitivity, was exposed to an average (over the head) 60-Hz electric field of 300 Vm (comparable with typical environmental-strength EMFs) during controlled provocation and behavioral studies. Results: In a double-blinded EMF provocation procedure specifically designed to minimize unintentional sensory cues, the subject developed temporal pain, headache, muscle twitching, and skipped heartbeats within 100 s after initiation of EMF exposure (p < .05). The symptoms were caused primarily by field transitions (off-on, on-off) rather than the presence of the field, as assessed by comparing the frequency and severity of the effects of pulsed and continuous fields in relation to sham exposure. The subject had no conscious perception of the field as judged by her inability to report its presence more often than in the sham control. Discussion: The subject demonstrated statistically reliable somatic reactions in response to exposure to subliminal EMFs under conditions that reasonably excluded a causative role for psychological processes. Conclusion: EMF hypersensitivity can occur as a bona fide environmentally inducible neurological syndrome. PMID: 21793784 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] magdahavas.com

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    Spinneyhorse

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

  • Prof. Dominique Belpomme, Oncologist, Professor of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Necker-Enfants Malades, Chairman of Research for Anti-Cancer Therapeutics (ARTAC), in his lecture “Diagnostic and Therapeutic Protocols for Electromagnetic Fields Intolerance”, showed the results of a clinical observation on more than 450 patients enrolled from 2008 to 2011. He and his team use a new technique to make the diagnosis to people reporting reactions to electromagnetic fields, a condition that he prefers to define as “Electromagnetic Fields Intolerance” or “EFI Syndrome” rather than “Electromagnetic Hyper-Sensitivity”. The new technique is the “Pulsed Eco-Doppler” of the brain that combines the eco-doppler with a computer to evaluate brain perfusion. Unlike some other methods, this one is not dangerous and it does not involve any ionizing radiation. The results show that people with Electromagnetic Fields Intolerance have a reduced perfusion in the brain, particularly in the left part of the limbic area of the brain, compared to the control group. This is a very particular area, because it is the “ancient” part of the brain that controls many body functions. “These results are very important – Belpomme said at the congress – because for the first time we are able to define the Electromagnetic Fields Intolerance as a physical illness based on objective tests”. His team uses also other tests, such as the dosage of histamine, of protein S100B, and of heat shock proteins hsp70 and hsp27 in the blood. The 70% of the group of patients observed showed a serious reduction of vitamin D, about 1-2% of the patients showed an increase of proteins hsp27 and hsp70, while more than the 40% of the sample had increased histamine, a fact that is fully compatible with a physiological interpretation of this syndrome. About 10% of the patients had an increased protein S100B, which is a marker for Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) permeability. In one third of the sample, a reduction of melatonin in urine was found, and this can explain symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia and depression in these patients. These alterations are quite similar to the ones found in patients with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) <http:www.csn-deutschland.deDIMDI_MCS_2008_de-en.pdf> , particularly regarding the brain perfusion reduction, the neurogenic inflammation, the oxidative stress increase, and the reduction of the defense mechanism. The fact that EMF induces the opening of the BBB may interfere with the brain protection from toxic chemicals. It is not uncommon, in fact, that patients with EFI Syndrome have MCS symptoms, while many patients with MCS also react to EMF.

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    Spinneyhorse

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

  • A bit like the scientific evidence that mobile phone masts are bad for your health eh?

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    Lord Horn

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • With the amount of RF that we are always subjected to for cellular communications, TV, natural RF and other devices go unchallenged, this is nothing more than local histeria started by few and followed by many lacking the knowledge to make such a decision. Glad that experts were involved in the decision making process, at least they use facts and knowledge to make decisions.

    Report this comment

    Dave B

    Monday, October 3, 2011

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