Health concerns over mobile phone masts prompt review - Independent on Sunday
"Ministers are to investigate arrangements for erecting mobile phone masts in the light of growing fears that they may cause cancer and other diseases because of "electronic smog".
They will review the exceptionally favourable rules that allow mobile phone companies to escape normal planning regulations and stop councils from considering the effects of the masts on health, even when they are sited near homes and schools.
Originally promised three years ago, and then shelved, the review follows articles in The Independent on Sunday about possible effects of the radiation on children and bees. The Government will take account of new scientific and medical evidence, and consult experts and campaigners, as part of a wider review of planning guidelines which ministers send to local authorities.
More than 47,000 "base stations", like masts, have already been erected in Britain to service its 50 million mobile phones, often in defiance of intense local public opposition. Successive governments have made extraordinary concessions to the companies to ensure that coverage was rolled out across the country as quickly as possible.
Masts up to 45ft high do not need planning permission in the normal way. Instead, companies merely have to notify councils of their intentions and can go ahead unless they are formally stopped within 56 days.
Overworked planning authorities struggle to cope with these applications on time, and companies have frequently put up the masts against councils' opposition because news of a refusal has reached them shortly after the deadline."