We are concerned about the health risks, the costs, and the capacity of TETRA to provide effective police communications.
What is becoming of the Sussex Police Authority? The number of temporary and illegal masts is increasing. In Brighton alone, Moulsecoombe (Fairway Trading Estate), Court Farm (Dyke Road) and Theobald House are all without planning permission. This network was accepted as Ready For Service in July, and we started paying for it. The network is still incomplete, has ongoing public inquiries, masts to be built, masts to be taken down, and is most certainly not ready for anything. Furthermore, after emphatic reassurances from the police Airwave folk, that TETRA is not operating from the roof of the John Street police station, we can tell you it most certainly is!
Brighton has seemed surprisingly quiet about TETRA. This is no surprise, since without planning applications and awareness of the controversy surrounding TETRA, no-one has been asked. Yes, it is part of the ten commitments to consult, but as usual O2 Airwave omitted to do this.
Siting is an issue in Brighton, but you may have an ally in the High Rise Action Group: see comments.
The case of Theobald House
Theobald House is Brighton & Hove Council residential property. The Council did not give O2 Airwave permission to break its policy of not erecting base stations on Council buildings. This mast is illegal, but the Council has prevaricated over ensuring its removal. The property is residential, and the mast has been operating since 9 June 2004. Since exactly that date, adverse health effects have been reported, even though it was only discovered in late July that this had happened. Is this just another coincidence? There was no announcement of activation, and the press in Brighton has not been particularly active.
A Council Officer stated that he had received orders from high up to keep secret that the Brighton masts were in use from June.
Brighton and Hove Council gave O2 until Monday 2 August to switch off the illegal mast on Theobald House, and until August 31st to remove the equipment. The actions of O2 Airwave amount to trespass, the Council said. (Remember the promised switch-off in Bognor?) Well, the mast is still transmitting, despite the fact that O2 Airwave has written to the Council say it has been turned off.
John OBrien spoke at an impromptu but well attended (about 60 people) meeting against TETRA in Brighton, set up by the Green Party on May 14.
A motion was passed in July by Brighton & Hove Council in favour of Developing a written policy on telecommunication masts, because at present they have many guidelines and informal understandings but no written policy. The motion was proposed by Keith Taylor (Green) and seconded by Richard Mallender (Green). Caroline Lucas is a Green MEP campaigning in the EU for a Europewide TETRA ban, and has visited Brighton on the issue.
A cross-party group of councillors has therefore been set up to look into this, comprising a number of officers, and one representative each from the four parties on the council: Labour, Conservative, Green and LibDem.
Brighton campaigner Graham Parfitt wrote in April:
If these masts get activated, were screwed. Ive recently rechecked microwave levels all over the extensive central areas of Brighton and there is an unbroken sea stretching for miles, of biologically critical levels with regular hotspots. The levels seem to be higher than when I checked them a year ago.
If anyone would like to er... talk to O2 Airwave Director of Communications David Nicholas, his telephone number is 0771 575 9176 and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org. In fact why dont we ALL have a chat with him?
TETRA sites transmitting in Brighton
Theres lots more going on in Brighton; being a new city it deserves a full complement of 3G (UMTS) masts now as well.
Visit the Queens Park Mast Action website where they are fighting 3G. Queens Park is framed by TETRA lines, and we have a number of reports from people there already suffering from TETRA as a result.
TETRA at Court Farm, Dyke Road, Brighton and Hove, combined with a 3G mast (right). Another local beauty spot, going west. And now yet another illegal mast in the Sussex network: refused retrospective planning permission, November 2004.