Hospital mobile mast plan sparks row

Mast goes up on London hospital, but complaints could mean it coming down

A private hospital on Harley Street has provoked a storm by agreeing to let mobile network operator Orange install antennae and dishes on its roof.

Heart Hospital claims that it has conducted a survey which proved there were "no health effects" from the antennae and a spokeswoman insisted it would not interfere with hospital equipment.

However, those living near the hospital are concerned. One local resident whose flat is next to Heart Hospital told the Evening Standard that she couldn't believe the decision. "We are concerned about the health aspect -- they haven't proved whether antennae are safe or not."

A hospital spokesman reportedly said that permission for the equipment would be revoked if there was opposition from local residents.

Last year's Stewart Report recommended that exclusion zones were established around all mobile mast sites, and urged the government to change the law so that planning permission is required for all mobile masts. Currently permission is only needed for masts over 15 metres.

The government has not yet implemented this recommendation, but on Monday Kent County Council unilaterally decided to refuse permission for mobile network companies to install any phone masts on its property.

Rupert Goodwins is getting in a froth about the the very doyen of middle-class sensibilities, Radio 4's You and Yours programme transmitting a piece about radio and health. He asks "What is the risk?" We live in a country where you can buy cigarettes over the counter and drink yourself to a coma every night. He maintains the only danger you're in from your mobile phone comes from colonic rupture if it rings once too often, too loudly in a place filled with choleric Chelsea fans. Go to AnchorDesk for the news comment.

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