Mill Hill Preservation Society
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Mill Hill Preservation Society

An Irreverent look at Telephone Masts

I was walking the dog the other day, as you do, through the fields of Totteridge Valley and my mobile phone bleeped into action. On the other end was someone rather high powered in MHPS saying “John, you really must write something for the Annual Report on these dreadful mobile telephone masts”. I smiled, and, of course, agreed.
So, here are my musings* … Did you know …

  • The birth of mobile phone masts was only some 15 years ago
  • There are 35,000 masts and base stations in Britain
  • About 3 out of 4 people own a mobile phone – this figure is set to double
  • The greatest objection to phone masts has been their unsightly bulk
  • Some people collect pictures of telephone masts as examples of great modern engineering design – some of the larger ones are amazing
  • Health issues are claimed to be important – but are unproven
  • We have lived with naturally occurring radio waves since the dawn of time with no proof they are damaging to health
  • If you stood naked next to a radio mast in the sun for a couple of days – you would suffer more from the sun’s radiation than that of the mast
  • Overhead high voltage power lines, television screens, microwave ovens and computer screens are all likely to be more dangerous than masts
  • The protester’s argument that masts emit ‘radiation’ is scaremongering conjuring up images of Geiger counters, radiation suits, atomic reactors, nuclear bombs and Hiroshima etc. Somewhat over the top …
  • British masts conform to International Safety Standards
  • The Crystal Palace television transmitter gives out 1,000 kW of power – 1MW or 1 million watts – on its analogue transmissions – in addition each of its digital services gives off a further 10,000 watts. There is no evidence of leukaemia or other carcinogenic dysfunctions in the area!
  • The average mobile phone mast gives off between 50 and 100 watts – that’s the same as the average light bulb – think of that when you turn on your lights at home!
  • Driving you car or taking an aeroplane flight on holiday is more damaging to the environment than the poor, undervalued, mobile telephone mast

… and as the temperature rises, the sea level rises, water becomes precious, and there is limited fuel for our cars, buses, trains and aeroplanes – at least we shall be able to chat about it on our mobile phones …. or will there be sufficient masts to give coverage...?

John Living 2006

Post Script: Whilst the masts might not be too damaging the mobile phones might be. Some research headed by Professor Bengt Arnetz at Kaarolinska Institiute and Uppsala University in Sweden and from Wayne State University in Michigan, USA is thought to be the most comprehensive of its kind. The research shows that using the handset before bed causes people to take longer to reach the deeper stages of sleep and to spend less time in them, interfering with the body’s ability to repair damage suffered during the day. The finding is especially damaging for children and most of all teenagers, most of whom – surveys suggest – use their phones late at night. Dr Chris Idzikowski, the director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre says “There is now more than sufficient evidence, from a large number of reputable investigators who are finding that mobile phone exposure an hour before sleep adversely affects deep sleep.”

Independent 20 January 2008

* these points are taken from current documents or can be found on the internet.