The following article was sent to Hackney Independent. The author wished to remain anonymous:
If you were walking past Hackney Town Hall a couple of weeks ago you may well have noticed a protest being held by London Field residents over the erection of a phone mast by T mobile in the Richmond Road area.
Back in 2004 the Council failed to respond to or reject a planning application from the company to build the mast and as such T-mobile exploited planning laws by deciding to go ahead with their plans at the end of April.
Protesters gathering on the Town Hall steps were delighted when Labour Chief, Jules Pipe addressed them stating, ‘T-mobile should do the honourable thing and not go near London Fields.’
Considering the concerns over the possible health implications of placing radiation emitting devices close to busy public areas I think that we would all agree with the sentiment of Mayor Pipe and his apparent resolute stand against such developments!
However I was recently on the 55 bus passing through Lower Clapton and to my surprise I noticed a new mast, situated on top of a portacabin, between Mildenhall and Atherden Road.
The top of the aerial is almost level with the top deck of a bus and in heavy traffic passengers are presented with a safety sign on the mast itself which rather alarmingly alerts readers;
‘DANGER MICROWAVE RADIATION’
You have plenty of time to read the sign as you sit in rush hour traffic adjacent to the microwaves and the new flats which they front.
It struck me on observing the demonstration by residents from the recently gentrified Martello Street and surrounds that Mr Pipe appeared to be saying one thing and doing another.
Appeasing the middle class residents of the ex-squatted, Class War heartlands whilst on the other hand apparently ignoring the carcinogenic pulses of masts in Lower Clapton, one of Hackney’s more run down areas populated in the majority by working class people.
On further investigation it seems that Hackney is covered in ‘base stations’. Indeed in Clapton alone there are many, including four on the Lea Bridge Roundabout (at least two on top of the B-Six sixth form college), two on the Pembury Estate and two on buildings around the Downs.
Furthermore there are at least seven on Mare Street, two on top of the Trelawny Estate and loads in Dalston.
It would seem that the only real ‘reception black spot’ in Hackney is the London Fields area and although I do not take issue with those expressing their rights to demonstrate on that sunny day in April I do take issue with the cynical and ill informed approach of a Mayor who has been leading the council for the last 11 years during which time mobile phone masts have been springing up all over the place, on schools and Council blocks throughout the Borough.
If the Mayor, who exclaimed that T-mobile had ‘no moral right’ to build the mast in London fields, feels so strongly about their erection then perhaps he should examine the Council’s income to see how much the Borough makes from renting out their building’s rooftops to phone companies.
If readers feel the need to contact him to express their concern at his apparent hypocrisy may I suggest that they ring from Lower Clapton I understand that the coverage there is excellent!!!