Council leader weighs in

The Lib Dem Leader of B&NES Council has just confirmed what l have been saying all along – in reporting a lengthy Zoom meeting of the council’s planning committee in which an application to upgrade a telecommunications mast to 5G was discussed and then turned down.

The upgrade concerns a mast which stands on the edge of the sports field above Larkhall.

Councillor Dine Romero said:

“A mistaken report in the local media, which has since been corrected, has led to widespread misunderstanding about what happened at the B&NES Planning Committee on 16th December.

“The report claimed that an application for a mobile phone mast was refused because of concerns about the safety of 5G technology.  That is not true.   

“The application was turned down because the committee decided it was “inappropriate development in the green belt and because of its visual impact on the local Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the landscape”. 

“That is exactly what the formal minutes of the meeting show and there was no mention at all of health concerns in the grounds for refusal.

“As is normal at Planning Committee meetings, the local councillors for the ward in which the mast would be sited spoke on behalf of their residents, many of whom had expressed concerns about 5G safety.  But as stated previously, those concerns were not the reason the application was refused.

“Planning Committee decisions are not based on party politics and members from other parties also voted for refusal of this application.  It may be that a future application for a mast at this location or nearby might be acceptable to the committee, but that is entirely for them to decide.”

Wera Hobhouse, Bath’s MP, said: “I fully accept that there is no known evidential link between 5G and adverse health.  That won’t stop me listening to the concerns of my constituents, which is my duty as their MP.  As Lib Dems we don’t silence people who hold alternative opinions but as a party we are committed to making policy on the basis of evidence.”

Having reported that response in full l will repeat what l have said previously. (see https://bathnewseum.com/2020/12/17/why-dibley-pc-comes-to-mind/ ) The committee was told by the council’s legal team that they couldn’t turn the application down on safety grounds as the government has already publicly stated that 5G is safe.

The only thing they could use to reject it was its visual impact on an area of outstanding natural beauty – so they went for that.

I find it ironic that a city that wants to appeal to IT and Hi-Tec industries – as a way of developing its commercial future – is not exactly welcoming the means of ensuring it can offer good communications for those firms who might consider coming here.

Anyone who watched that meeting will know the majority of objections to the upgrade concerned heath and safety. They just weren’t allowed to use those arguments as an official reason for refusal.