5G protest outside Keynsham school

Campaigners against 5G masts gathered outside Broadlands Academy in Keynsham on the last day of term to express their concern that one might be erected on the campus over the school summer holiday.

We reported in Issue 732 (1st June) that a controversial 5G phone mast at the secondary school in St Francis Road had been approved by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

Vodafone and Telefonica UK Ltd (O2) applied in April last year to replace the current 4G 15-metre mast (17.9 metres to the top of the antennas) with a 5G one measuring 20 metres at the top of the six antennas., along with a microwave dish, remote radio units and new equipment.

The decision about the mast upgrade had been delegated to the case officer despite a request last year by Keynsham councillor Brian Simmons for it to be debated and decided by members of B&NES Council’s planning committee.

Some of the 160+ objections contained references to the environmental and health effects reviewed by the New Hampshire Commission. Keynsham Town Council had been among the objectors, warning that the site was wholly inappropriate and that the potential health effects needed to be fully investigated by B&NES Council as landlord.

In its objection the town council said B&NES had “failed in its duty to consult with all concerned on such an important development proposal”, adding: “The school itself, parents/carers of pupils within the school and all neighbouring properties were not consulted initially and it took requests made to the planning department by local residents before a consultation letter was sent out to the wider community.”

5G campaigners say that no investigation by B&NES Council into the potential health effects had been forthcoming.

The plan received eight comments of support.

The planning officer’s report said that the replacement wouldn’t have a significant adverse visual impact above and beyond the existing mast and that in the absence of a clear consensus of opinion from the conservation sector and scientific communities, an ecological objection on grounds of potential risk to wildlife from electromagnetic radiation would be difficult to justify and defend. With a mast already in place, the report said the scheme could be considered to be appropriately located.

It also said that in light of the compliance with international protection guidelines, the proposals would not have any significant impacts on human health.