Norwich City Council ban on phone masts comes to an end after 14 years

New phone masts look set to be permitted on Norwich City Council property and land for the first tim

New phone masts look set to be permitted on Norwich City Council property and land for the first time in 14 years.

A ban on placing mobile phone masts on council-owned land has come to an end after 14 years.

Norwich City Council agreed to a moratorium on their installation in 2002 amid concerns of the impact on people's health.

But last night, cabinet members were presented with research showing there was no general risk to health from living close to a mast.

Council leader Alan Waters, Labour, said: 'The research is kind of compelling and we were right to do that in 2002, because no one was certain of the health impacts of mobile phone masts.

'The Stewart Report identified the fact that levels of exposure arising from phones held near to the body are substantially greater, by a factor of 10,000, than the whole body exposure arising from base stations.

'Given that we are almost umbilically attached to our mobile phones, that sets in context the health risks.'

The change in policy will now allow mobile phone companies to pay the authority to have masts on City Hall-owned assets.

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Papers presented to cabinet members showed that seven existing aerials generate more than £78,000 per year for the authority.

These were installed before the ban on council properties and include Normandie Tower, Winchester Tower, Ashbourne Tower and Aylmer Tower.

Cabinet members agreed that any proposals for new masts would be accompanied by a 21-day public consultation for people and businesses living within 50 metres.

Mr Waters added: 'People will want to be reassured that there views are taken into account in any discussion about locations of mobile phone masts.'

There would also be independent checks on equipment, including an annual radiation safety survey and provisions to terminate the contract if future research confirms masts have adverse health effects.

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