TETRA: national realities
How did it happen and with what outcomes?
The UK is alive with the most unlikely people complaining about O2 Airwave and Tetra masts. Middle England, afraid for their health, is rising up against the sheer arrogance of the Home Office and O2 Airwave. See our UK Action page for some of those groups that have websites. There are very many more that do not.
A Popular Revolt. This excellent article appeared in The Ecologist, 17 September 2004. What it describes is popular uprising, corporate bullying and a political and scientific scandal.
In March 2004, Managing Director of O2 Airwave, Pete Richardson, said in a You and Yours programme on BBC R4:
What you see are some isolated protests and we have to work with each of those local communities to try and get the right solution. But 90% of the masts we need by the middle of 2005 we already have planning permission for. Its small pockets of people within each of those areas, and again we will work with those people to find the best solution. ... We are proud to be building the service that will support our emergency services. ... We need to work with them [the protest groups], as do their local communities and their local councils and so on, to help them to understand.
Can anyone please report to this website instances of O2 working with (other than to bully and persuade) local communities? What is it that we dont understand? The reasons for sleepless nights, headaches, nausea, migraines ...? Or do we need help in being persuaded that these health effects do not exist?
Mr Richardson went on:
This thing is coming, and we are building this network; 90% of planning permissions are in place, 70% of the network is already built and 35 out of the 51 forces are already using the service ... Dont worry about it, because theres nothing to worry about. If you are concerned, look at the body of evidence, dont look at one piece of evidence.
Mr Richardson, how many sick people do you need? How many communities do you have to ride roughshod over? How arrogant can you get? We guess you dont care one bit because youre off to the bank. But you most certainly do not espouse the public values of your company, O2.
You must surely understand that if people are getting sick, then they will go on getting sick, including police officers all around the UK. It is only a matter of time before the penny drops and O2 is sued into the millions for damage to peoples health. Such as this report:
There is an 02 Airwave Tetra mast along with several others on the roof of the telephone exchange in the very heart of a residential village in Ainsdale in Southport.
We experienced insomnia from the 3g masts but since the Tetra mast was erected after Nov 2002 we saw a sharp decline in our health and wellbeing.
We want this mast removed, its become a source of misery in our lives and theres clusters of cancer and neurological problems in people in rows of houses around it that are in a pattern that cant be ignored.
Many people have not made the connection and we dont want to frighten them but these illnesses have multiplied since the arrival of the mast.
Sefton council have set up a scrutiny committee through their Dept. of Health to look into the problems surrounding this.
In one area near the mast there is a strange buzz or vibration that several people can feel and this area is particularly bad for making people ill.
For more useful comments from O2 Airwave, see Letters to and from O2.
For a scientists critique of how things are, August 2004, read Barrie Trower (author of the original report on TETRA to the Police Federation) (PDF)
It would be fun if it were not true: the attitude of O2 and the Airwave rollout.
See our Health pages for more information.
O2 Airwave is extremely sloppy about its safety signage. For some locations, warning about pacemakers, hard hats, safe proximities, harnesses, electrical equipment, but for others merely a single padlock and Warning: electrical equipment