Urgent - proposed cell phone mast, Fingringhoe sewage works

There is an application live for planning permission for a cell phone mast on the site of the sewage works across the river. Anyone living in Cooks Shipyard and with line of sight to the river will get the full benefit of being bathed in the energy from it. The same applies to anyone living along the front, or who can see the mast as it'll be a little way above the marsh.

I have requested coverage / energy maps but there isn't a lot of time, so I'd suggest that anyone who is concerned, and you probably should be if you can see the site, should raise an objection on the planning site.

The application is here:

http://www.planning.colchester.gov.uk/WAM/findCaseFile.do?appNumber=170219&appType=Planning&action=Search

That should take you straight to it, if not, it's application 170219. There is a button at the top of the scree that allows you to comment on the application. If you wish to, you have until the 10th of March - numbers count, so the more comments the better.

Leaving aside the dangers that the mast may well pose it will be a complete eyesore as well despite the trees that they claim will hide it and which will probably be pruned to improve coverage.

If I get any further information from the proposers, I'll post it here.

N

Comments

  • Sounds like a good thing for Wivenhoe
  • As part of the redevelopment of Rowhedge Wharf a cell phone mast is being lost.  You have to look quite hard to see it and I am not sure how its height compares with the one proposed at Fingringhoe (25 metres) .  If people want mobile phone coverage then there have to be masts and their homes have to be "bathed in energy" for the phones to work.  There does however to be an existing mast on Ballast Quay Road in Fingringhoe only 500 metres from the proposed new mast at Fingringhoe sewage works. There may be reasons why this is not adequate but the developers proposing the new mast should be pressed by the Borough planners to explain why an addition is needed.

  • One's house has to be 'bathed in energy' to receive a decent radio signal.
  • Whilst there is mixed evidence as to the dangers of being in close proximity to a radio mast, there is evidence that the closer one is and the higher the power, the higher the likelihood of the effect being injurious to health.

    Roughly, the power will drop according to an inverse cube rule but that depends on the aerial radiation pattern which the company asking for permission have declined to supply. The likelihood is that the pattern will be adjusted to concentrate the energy in a roughly horizontal band across the front of Wivenhoe.

    To date the company that is asking for permission to install the mast have declined to supply any information as to how much energy those in close proximity to the installation are likely to be subject to so it seems reasonable to assume that they are aware that the level is high enough to cause concern.
  • Sounds like a good thing for Wivenhoe
    Absolutely, reception of EE who are mentioned in the application can be problematic over this side of the river and with the existing Rowhedge mast to be ceased how bad would it get if the gaps are not filled.

    If your mobile is important I would suggest supporting the application on the link above.
  • Andrew said:
    Sounds like a good thing for Wivenhoe
    Absolutely, reception of EE who are mentioned in the application can be problematic over this side of the river and with the existing Rowhedge mast to be ceased how bad would it get if the gaps are not filled.

    If your mobile is important I would suggest supporting the application on the link above.
    With respect, it's not problematic at all, i'm with EE, if it gets bad i'll change network.Three or four clicks on uswitch: cash back, number ported, problem solved. 
  • I'd be interested in seeing the details of this evidence you have that the non-ionizing radiation from mobile masts has any impact on human health. 
  • Wivenhoe data signals for O² and Vodafone are very poor. 
  • Exactly. Much as I understand the advice above it is not as simple as just swapping operators.

    I have ended up with at least 6 cellular devices in the family all of which at some time have been on all of the networks mentioned.  As mobile devices the usage particularly of data has to be the best balance of coverage in many frequent locations of which home use is an important factor.

    Taking all of the factors into account only EE have the best balance for us. This would be upset by loss of home coverage and not resolved by switching as suggested.  I agree with mottza that for my location both 02 and Vodaphone are totally inadequate for data and I have tried them all.
  • @andrew this discussion will reduce down to a question of 'why is one person's quality of life more important than anothers?'

    Person 1 wants something
    Person 2 wants the opposite

    You could argue that poor mobile reception is an irritation, where as living in fear of RF induced illness is distressing. From a utilitarian stand point distress trumps irritation.

    Closer to reality it is more likely to be

    Group of people 1 want a mast for better phone reception
    Group of people 2 don't want a mast because it will look rubbish and they are concerned for their health

    So is (number of people in group 1 X level of irritation) > (number of people in group 2 X level of distress) ?

    Clearly measuring irritation or distress is going to be subjective which makes the above comparison nigh on impossible, so we are left with 'why is one group of people's quality of life more important than another'?

    The only answer i can think of: Is group of people 1 much larger than group of people 2 or vice versa. However, we don't know which way round it is because no one has asked.  

    (btw, as a related aside, why are people using their mobile data in their house when when a a wired connection albeit delivered wirelessly in the house is going to provide more consistent transfer rates, lower latency and is cheaper?)
  • Given the location of the mast, I'm curious as to who is likely to benefit from the increased signal strength, my suspicion is that as one gets up toward the Uni, the mast is unlikely to make much of a difference as the top of the town is probably in a sort of RF shadow from that location. Unfortunately, the company who want to put the mast up have declined to provide coverage / power density maps which is telling in itself. The logical solution might be to put a mast somewhere up near the Uni where students would benefit too but I suspect that the Uni would object, people often do when masts are proposed near youngsters.

    The jury is very much divided on the risk of being exposed to low levels of RF but a quick Google on health risk cell towers on Google or Google Scholar will produce reams of material, some for, some against. There seems to be enough material to suggest that there are risks to make the idea of having one in close proximity to a lot of people somewhat undesirable. There is also the concern that the potential impact is being down-played in much the same way as the risk of smoking was and also more recently, the use of oil just because its such a profitable industry. Anecdotally, there seems to be a risk of things like leukaemia, and sensitivity to the fields that manifests itself as headaches, vision problems etc. It also seems to be obvious that exposing humans to any sort of field that doesn't occur naturally is not something to be treated as a casual and uncontrolled experiment.

    From my own perspective as a radio amateur, virtually every amateur I know is of the view that living near a mast isn't a good thing and should be avoided if at all possible. I don't know if the numbers stack up, and it would be hard to prove now as so much of the population is exposed to RF fields, but for a long time the view was that amateurs tended to succumb to a number of things that might be RF related and anyone who is active has had a enough of a nip from RF energy to treat it with a lot of respect - it tends to produce a deep and painful burn that takes a long time to heal.

    It would be interesting to see a detailed and accurate coverage map for the town to see if there really is a problem with coverage and where it is. If we had that information, the logical thing to do would be to try to persuade a comms company to plug the gaps without putting people at risk but that would come down to the profitability to them before they would consider it as we aren't really a "not-spot".

    In terms of the appearance of the mast, the view from the town is an asset that probably draws people in, and its one that could and should be exploited to draw money into the town, doing so would be to everyone's benefit. Sticking up a large, obvious mast right in front of the town that may give potential visitors sufficient concern to not want to visit isn't going to help. Even if it isn't harmful, if people think that it is, they will be discouraged from visiting and spending money locally.
  • NickT said:
    Unfortunately, the company who want to put the mast up have declined to provide coverage / power density maps which is telling in itself. 
    You meant apart from the ones in the planning documents showing coverage now, without the mast they are losing and with the mast they are proposing ?

    http://www.planning.colchester.gov.uk/WAM/doc/Report-2438183.pdf?extension=.pdf&id=2438183&appid=1001&location=VOLUME1&contentType=application/pdf&pageCount=1
  • 2.7 Local Engagement The site has been rated as Green on the mobile operators’ consultation traffic light rating system. This is because it is set at some distance from the village (in terms of visual impact) 15 and amenity impacts. In addition, there are no planning designations affected by the proposal. However, in addition to the LPA we also undertook consultation with local Councillors and Parish Council.

    Well that is clearly bollocks:

    "Fingringhoe Parish Council has not previously been consulted on this application as stated in the supporting statement and has not given agreement to the development."

    "The Town Council [WTC] has not been consulted or advised of the proposal"

    Not sure how we can believe anything else in that document.
  • NickT said:
    Unfortunately, the company who want to put the mast up have declined to provide coverage / power density maps which is telling in itself. 
    You meant apart from the ones in the planning documents showing coverage now, without the mast they are losing and with the mast they are proposing ?

    http://www.planning.colchester.gov.uk/WAM/doc/Report-2438183.pdf?extension=.pdf&id=2438183&appid=1001&location=VOLUME1&contentType=application/pdf&pageCount=1
    Those maps don't show the local detail, i.e. Wivenhoe rather than the surrounding area - given that we are as close as we are, I consider that important information, Its highly unlikely that the coverage that they have shown will be as uniform as the map suggests and they don't reflect the higher power levels in close proximity to the tower, so yes, they have declined to provide the information that has been asked for. The maps that do show granular detail appear to be for existing coverage rather than the proposed.


  • What suits one doesn't suit another
  • It'll spoil the riverside less than the housing developments. Imagine if someone wanted to build a shipyard there now. 

    Inevitable part of progress I'm afraid. We should also be looking at wind turbines along the estuary. 
  • I'd be interested in seeing the details of this evidence you have that the non-ionizing radiation from mobile masts has any impact on human health. 
    There actually is any if but limited evidence
    Cancer research UK itself has said that "Mobile phone masts and base stations are unlikely to increase your cancer risk. They were included in the 2012 review, mentioned above, which found no convincing evidence that the radiation they gave off could affect your health. The exposure you would get from a base station is usually at least a hundred times below international guidelines. And it is much less than the exposure you would get from a phone."
    And when put into perspective, non-ionising radiation doesn't carry enough energy per quantum  to ionize atoms or molecules, therefore it is very unlikely that the concentration of radiation received from a mobile phone mast will cause cancerous mutations.
  • edited March 12
    Unfortunately, for every article or paper that expresses the view that they are safe, there are similar articles that suggest that they are not - as it happens, I agree broadly with the comment in respect of the power, however, there have been papers that suggest that there is a mechanism at work that occurs at the very low power levels that people will be subject to. (Incidentally, it looks as though the predicted levels could be anything from about 1.5uV/m to significantly higher levels, possible above 50uV/m, a quick check just behind the Co-op suggests that the field here is currently about 11.2 uV/m).

    According to various articles on the web, if you have an iPhone and type *3001#12345#* in and then press Call as though it were a phone number, it will give you the field strength in dBm instead of bars - its about -95dBm where I looked on Stanley Road on O2 but that can vary in the space of a few metres or less. It worked on my iPhone, but I take no responsibility if you try it and yours melts or dies a hideous death !!

    Close proximity to a mast means that exposure will be higher, possibly a lot higher given the (small) distance between the proposed site and Cooks shipyard and that it could be continuous, especially for say pre-school children who leave the house less and who are likely to be especially vulnerable, and there is evidence that some other mechanism than heating or ionization might be at work and acting on the body at cellular level, e.g.:

    Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects

    Pall, M. L. (2013). Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine17(8), 958–965. http://doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.12088


    That can be found here:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780531/#

    along with a list of similar articles and I have no doubt that articles saying that the proximity to the masts is hugely beneficial can also be found - the point is that no-one actually knows for certain, they haven't been around long, transmission modes power and frequencies have changed over the last few years and we are all subject to far more "emf smog" than we ever were. 

    The common sense approach would seem to be to err on the side of caution until the risk is better understood and there is clear evidence one way or the other and to stop and consider whether it really is wise to put convenience ahead of other peoples safety. My suspicion is that like tobacco and asbestos, it'll be some time before any effect if there is indeed a negative effect won't be obvious for some time to come.

    If anyone is interested in some desktop research, there's a long list of papers here:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=link&linkname=pubmed_pubmed&uid=23802593&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pmc

    and an article here that might have you reaching for a pair of foil underpants:

    https://rbej.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1477-7827-7-114

    Some of the references following that paper include papers that discuss the effect of very low level radiation on biochemistry, reproduction, damage to kidneys etc. 



  • Mike said:
    It'll spoil the riverside less than the housing developments. Imagine if someone wanted to build a shipyard there now. 

    Inevitable part of progress I'm afraid. We should also be looking at wind turbines along the estuary. 
    this is interesting in respect of the wind turbines:

    Life cycle assessment of a multi-megawatt wind turbine
    E. Martı´nez a,*, F. Sanz b, S. Pellegrini a, E. Jime´nez c, J. Blanco b
    a Grupo Eo´licas Riojanas, R&D Division, Carretera de Laguardia, 91-93, 26006 Logron˜o, La Rioja, Spain
    b Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of La Rioja, Logron˜o, La Rioja, Spain
    c Department of Electrical Engineering, University of La Rioja, Logron˜o, La Rioja, Spain

    Searching for the title on Google Scholar will turn up several accessible versions.

    Other articles look at the impact on the environment in terms of bird and bat deaths and the infrasound that wind turbines (allegedly) generate.

    One solution might be to wander around the house pulling a few plugs out of the wall - its surprising how much energy things like power supplies for phones that aren't actually charging the phone use. better for the environment and your electricity bill ...
  • Hmmm, that's an awful lot of science for a basic question if 'do we want mobile phone coverage in this country, either in our homes or as we travel around'.

    The next question after that is do we want exposing to other forms of energy in our daily lives, radio, television etc. 

    Technology can be dangerous but we consider the risks v benefits, cars kill an awful lot of people but they are convenient, so we choose to keep them. 
  • In this instance, the question is rather more one of the level of potential risk that we are prepared to expose a specific group of people to for the sake of enhancing an existing service ... 

    You are absolutely right, we do need to be thinking about the level of energy that we expose ourselves to and what its impact might be. No-one has mentioned it, but a lot of houses have WiFi which is another transmitter that's actually in the house radiating a fairly small signal on about 2.4GHz, and then there's all the Bluetooth devices, the radiation that comes from any microprocessor and the garbage radiated by a lot of electronics, plasma TVs are especially bad for example.

    if you go back a little 100 years, we wouldn't have been exposed to anything but very low levels of energy that occurred intermittently from natural sources - is that why certain conditions might be getting more prevalent - no idea but it might be, hence taking a common sense approach and drawing attention to what might well be an elevated risk that we can avoid.

    The difference between cars and rf smog is that cars are driven by people who make choices and are essentially an avoidable, or at least a reducible risk, you can see them, you know where they are and can, for the most part, avoid being harmed by them - RF energy is more like their emissions, you can't see that and its much more difficult to avoid ...

    Not sure if its true and I haven't so far found anything to back it up, but whilst doing my Masters about 6 years ago, I was told that the 20 largest container vessels in the world generate as much air borne "pollution" as the entire worlds car fleet and contribute to a large number of deaths from respiratory disease.
  • Nick, I'm not sure we can limit this conversation to just one group of specific people. The concern you are raising can and will be applied to many communities. If we succeed here then others will follow and soon we will be back to the 1990's where the only good mobile reception was on the X files ( Moulder always managed to make and receive calls in obscure places such as lifts).

    Im afraid that I believe that mobile phones have saved many many more lives than they may have adversely affected. 
  • In this instance we can, the proposal is to install a mast in close proximity to a specific group of people when it could be installed elsewhere and achieve the same result.

    We are not the first to be concerned and won't be the last which is causing companies to re-think their approach and to be aware of communities. 

    I can't see the UK returning to a situation where coverage is actually reduced and in any case, the new masts are more likely to be affecting the availability of (lucrative) high speed data in a place where people have data available in their homes and offices than filling in "not spots". You have to have higher power for higher bandwidths ... What we have seen though is companies sharing masts to reduce their costs - mobile phones might have saved lives but at the end of the day, the telcos are in it for the money, not out of any benign social conscience.

    There are alternatives on the horizon that provide the same facilities but at lower power however you would still need a higher signal level at the device so I'm not sure if there would be a benefit.

  • It is surprising that no one seems to bother about the transmission of VHF signals for eg  BBC Radio 4  at around 92 MHz but mobile phone transmissions at  about 824 MHz are a cause for concern. We  have lived in  radiation fields from the decay of uranium salts in brickwork and have survived well enough and the cosmic radiation from up there  has been tolerated. Today's environment is dominated by mobile phone users each transmitting about 1 Watt of stuff for extended periods everywhere, train, bus, theatre, supermarket....what is so bad about a new mast?
  • I find it rather amusing that people are worrying about a phone mast that will be positioned exactly 8 miles away from a Nuclear Power Station. 
  • Mike said:
    I find it rather amusing that people are worrying about a phone mast that will be positioned exactly 8 miles away from a Nuclear Power Station. 
    If you look on www.radmon.org, zoom in on the uk, Essex then Wivenhoe, you'll find that there's a station running an SBL20 Geiger muller tube monitoring the background in Wivenhoe ... 
  • Mike said:
    I find it rather amusing that people are worrying about a phone mast that will be positioned exactly 8 miles away from a Nuclear Power Station. 
    Is that because 8 miles is 7040 fathoms and 7040 is quite close to the population of Wivenhoe?

    I agree that's quite a coincidence!

  • (btw, as a related aside, why are people using their mobile data in their house when when a a wired connection albeit delivered wirelessly in the house is going to provide more consistent transfer rates, lower latency and is cheaper?)
    We always use the landline for outgoing calls because reception with O2 is rubbish but most (wanted) incoming calls are via mobile since that seems to be the automatic choice. Often have to then ask callers to re-dial the landline. 

    But generally 4G is excellent at home (if we switch off wifi) and when out and about, so sticking to O2. 
  • NickT said:
    Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects
      I read through the article by Pall which you cited and pulled out some things I believed were worth commenting on.

    "The direct targets of extremely low and microwave frequency range electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in producing non-thermal effects have not been clearly established. However, studies in the literature, reviewed here, provide substantial support for such direct targets. Twenty-three studies have shown that voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) produce these and other EMF effects, such that the L-type or other VGCC blockers block or greatly lower diverse EMF effects."

    The issues I found are as follows:
    1. The article states that there is no clearly established link between EMFs (which would be produced from the mobile phone mast) and non thermal effects 
    2. "Substantial doesn't really show a clear cause and effect relationship but merely implies that there is a correlation between the two factors and my cynical perspective will refuse to accept "substantial support" to a claim as a fact
    3. Only twenty three studies have been conducted. Twenty three is a remarkably small number when considering the reliability of the conclusion. Therefore I struggle to accept it as I will only believe something is 'true' if it is proven multiple times. 
    4. The definition of what constitutes a specific or non thermal microwave effect are vague 
    And to support what I've said I wish to draw your attention to the works of Prof. Dr. C Oliver Kappe, Bathmolomäus Pieber and Dr Doris Dallinger who have wrote (in my opinion) a more convincing exploration into this matter and they claim that: 
    "the effects observed in microwave-irradiated chemical transformations can in most cases be rationalized by purely bulk thermal phenomena associated with rapid heating to elevated temperatures."
    I am more inclined to believe this based on the fact that the energy of a microwave photon (quantum energy of a microwave photon is about 1 x 10-5 eV (for your reference)) is far too low to directly cleave molecular bonds and that this means it is unlikely that chemical reactions will occur due to direct absorption of EM energy. 
    This was by no means an attack on your opinion, but rather my attempt at widening your perspective on the issue. I would just feel awful if I did not make you aware of the counter argument that exists. 
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