Phone mast closes classroom

By Sarah Bell

12:14pm Friday 2nd January 2004

FEARS over the safety of a mobile phone masts mean a class at a Whitton primary school is to be put out of bounds until further notice.

The infant school class at St Edmund's Primary School will start their spring term in a different classroom after the school was inundated with requests from parents who are concerned about the effects of mast emissions.

The move comes after a planning application for a further mast on the site in Ashdale Close, just 100 yards from the edge of the school playground, was successfully defeated by parents.

They now plan to ask Richmond upon Thames Council to retrospectively consider the planning permission granted for the existing masts. Fears over the closed classroom at the school were raised following readings which showed emissions from the masts in the room were in the red' zone. Bob King, chair of governors, said: "The school is responding to requests from parents who are fearful of the effects that mast emissions may have upon their children. The members of the planning committee took the view that the concerns of our parents outweighed the reasons for the application."

Many of our parents are also fearful about the existing masts and some have already applied for places at other schools in the area.

"It is high time that government experts came up with declarations as to the safety or not of mast emissions. Until they do, fears will multiply in the minds of some people, particularly the parents of young children exposed to them for long periods of the school day."

He added that the school is anxiously waiting for a government agency to monitor the radiation affecting staff and children which should take place in January.

Mr King added: "In the meantime the school is caught between there being no safety guidelines for these new phone masts that require far more power than previous generations and the obvious fears of governors, staff and parents that the children are at serious risk."