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RTAG: Ryde Tetra Action Group, Isle of Wight


In October 2003, in spite of planning refusal in August, O2 Airwave erected an illegal (temporary) mast at Cowleaze, Shanklin. Immediate health effects were experienced by a couple living at a 50 metres distance.

 Read the full sequence of events to date on the RTAG website.

It has just come to light that the Council was made aware of the health controversy over Tetra masts at a full meeting on 23rd May 2001 nearly two years before planning approval was granted for the mast.

Despite this prior knowledge the approval was granted and the mast erected and activated with no public consultation or consent. The presence of the mast only became known to the public when radio interference was traced to it in November 2003.

TETRA, St Mary's Isle of Wight From the car park in front of the mental health unit at St Mary’s hospital. TETRA on Dodnor Estate, Newport.

It is proposed that the Planning Approval process was inadequate on the following grounds:

  1. Controversy over health risks was known to the Council since May 2001, but health concerns were not considered in the application.

  2. Operator Airwave mm02 did not have pre-application discussions with local residential groups, councillors, or amenity bodies (as PPG8 para 10).

  3. Operator Airwave mm02 did not discuss the proposed development with local schools before submitting an application (as PPG8 para 11).

  4. The IWCC planning dept did not undertake additional publicity to give people likely to be affected the opportunity to make their views known (as PPG8 para 12).

  5. The IWCC planning dept could consider Health and public concern (as PPG8 para 29) but chose to hide behind the guidance that it was not necessary (PPG8 para 30). Misleading information was then quoted to claim they could not consider health or public concern.

  6. The operator Airwave mm02 has not displayed the legally required notice informing public of commissioning date and address for complaints (see enclosed letter dated 24th December 2003). The Planning dept have not enforced this action, nor replied to letter.

  7. The planning application notices were not displayed in a prominent position and not a single citizen can recall seeing them – hence no objections.

  8. The application notices were merely for a 7.5m aerial and did not mention Tetra, although it was known since 2001 that there were health concerns.

  9. Only 3 out of 30 or so adjacent properties were notified through the post, none were residential dwellings, and the proprietors of the business premises have no recollection of getting notices.

  10. Local councillors, schools, and public amenities were not informed or consulted.

  11. No risk assessment for maintenance on the Cinema roof was undertaken.

  12. Planning Officer Andrew Pegram was present at a public meeting objecting to a proposed Tetra mast in nearby Seaview. The Seaview proposal was withdrawn. The objectors highlighted the health concerns, and presented the planning department with a dossier of health reports. Despite this information the presence and nature of the Ryde mast was still not revealed.

  13. The public was finally made aware of the mast because of radio interference in November 2003 shortly after the mast was activated, and 8 months after planning approval.

  14. After the public became aware of the existence of the mast, floods of letters of complaint were sent to the council, planners, and the MP. Many questions asked of the planning department still remain unanswered.

  15. A petition asking the council for action attracted over 1,700 signatures in 3 weeks. No response has been received.

  16. A new statement released by the Council on 12.02.04 stated that Tetra masts will not be allowed on council buildings or land until it is proven not to be a health risk. Surely the same logic must apply to Ryde Cinema.

The residents and workers of Ryde feel that the mast was approved without their consultation or consent. By granting approval the planning dept took a gamble with their health that could prove to be a public health catastrophe like smoking or asbestos. The citizens now have no choice but to suffer daily concern and anxiety while they await the long term health impact.

In view of the planning shortcomings the application should be revoked and the mast removed until it is proven beyond all doubt to have no health impact.

February 2004

...and February 2005 ...

  Great Reception for Tetra Alternative in the Isle of Wight

TETRA, Isle of Wight
TETRA on top of the Commodore Cinema, Ryde, Isle of Wight.
View from a bedroom window...

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