Church Creates Independent Panel to Advise on Mobile Phone Mast Fears

A leading independent expert from the Health Protection Agency has visited the Black Country to advise local residents who are concerned about a proposed mobile phone base station in a Wednesbury church.

The proposal to install the base station in the tower of St Francis of Assisi Church is in its infancy and no formal application for permission has yet been made. But for weeks protestors have gathered outside the church during Sunday Services to complain about what they claim is a threat to their health.

To address those concerns the church organised a public meeting chaired by the Archdeacon of Walsall, the Venerable Bob Jackson.

Seated on the panel was independent scientist Dr Michael Clark, from Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, who gave an independent assessment of health risks associated with mobile phone technology.

Also Gavin Drake, director of communications for the Diocese of Lichfield, helped by explaining the procedures laid down in law before any changes to church buildings - including the installation of mobile phone base stations - can be made. He also described how those opposed to the proposals could lodge official objections.

Ann Mobley, from the pressure group WART (Wednesbury Action for the Re-siting of Telephone masts), was the third panellist. WART has offered advice to residents near St Francis' Church who are opposed to the proposal.