Scott Mason 0

Vodafone/O2 Telephone Mast has been sited right next to Marlborough House School, Hawkhurst, Kent, UK

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Marlborough House School parents are calling for the relocation of the O2/ Vodafone mobile mast, that has been installed on Kent County Council Highways land, right by Marlborough House School for children aged 3-13.

No one knows the long-term effects of mobile masts as they have not been around long enough and not a single credible organisation has said that there is no risk in the long run. For that reason alone, the small children at Marlborough House School and surrounding houses in particular should not be used as guinea pigs. A precautionary principle must surely be exercised (as recommended by the government-commissioned Stewart Report). Safeguards have been built into national planning policy, but these were disregarded in this particular case.

A number of other countries - New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Italy and parts of the United States - have banned phone masts near schools. Given the evolving nature of health authorities' stances on various issues (tobacco, asbestos, lead, BPA, Thalidomide, sodium valproate, for example), why take the risk with such small children? They are the first generation to have a life-long exposure to EMF with all sorts of technical devices part of everyday life. The true effects will only be known in a generation's time.

We know there is poor mobile reception. But communities must be involved in decisions about mobile masts. This did not happen. It is unacceptable that no-one living in the vicinity knew about it and neither did the parents of the children at Marlborough House School.

The mast is also much more visible than suggested in the plans, towering above the surrounding trees which will soon lose their leaves and provide no screen. We must value the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in which we live - and the Council has a duty to protect and enhance it.

Although the mast is already in situ, we are asking for an alternative site to be found. O2/ Vodafone have an opportunity to demonstrate integrity and acknowledge the concerns all signatories to this petition are expressing, and voluntarily agree to engage properly with Marlborough House School and community to relocate the mast.

For more information on how to support the campaign, please email removethemast@gmail.com

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