Go-ahead for church mobile phone mast in Walsham-le-Willows despite radiation concerns

St Mary's Church Walsham Le Willows''Picture Mark Westley
St Mary's Church Walsham Le Willows''Picture Mark Westley
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A bid to mount mobile phone receiving equipment on the tower of a village church has been given the go-ahead - despite concerns over ‘potentially dangerous radiation’.

The plan, which would bring in cash for St Mary’s Church in Walsham-le-Willows, won the support of some villagers as a way of improving poor local mobile phone reception.

But it met with protest from others who claimed mobile phone masts are a health threat.

David Etherington QC, Chancellor of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, in his role as a judge of the Church of England’s Consistory Court which has to approve such matters, granted a faculty (permission) for the plan to go ahead.

Residents Matthew and Kate Larkin had written to him supporting the idea as it would improve the poor local mobile coverage. However, residents Alison Martin and Cheryl Mabutt, objected to the plan. The judge said they claimed the mast would ‘bombard the village with potentially dangerous radiation’.

But he said it was impossible for him to evaluate competing opinions on dangers posed by electromagnetic radiation or to evaluate how observations on the subject could be applied to these proposals. He said he was satisfied of the need for the mast and approved the plan subject to planning permission.

The church would enter into a 20-year licence agreement with Net Coverage Solutions which would be reviewable every five years. Income from the mast will help with the care of the building.