Two York Green councillors have hit out at plans for a new 5G mast in the city saying they have concerns about the safety of the technology – despite Public Health England concluding that 5G is not harmful to health.
Plans for a telecommunications mast to be built on the Park Inn Hotel on North Street were up for discussion at a City of York Council planning committee.
Micklegate councillor Rosie Baker told the committee she has concerns about the “carcinogenic effects” of the technology.
She said: “I’m asking you to consider your willingness to consent to this issue – the fact that no person or animal or insect or plant will be able to avoid exposure 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“I would ask you to draw your own conclusions as to whether 5G is in fact essential for supporting strong, vibrant, healthy communities and for enhancing social and cultural wellbeing.
“I would ask you to balance that with the need to accept the mental and social detriment that can be caused by the ever encroaching technology in our lives.
“It’s not something we need in York.”
Cllr Bob Webb asked Cllr Baker if she could explain why she believes 5G causes cancer, to which she replied: “No I can’t but I do not doubt it. I’m not a scientist. I’m representing significant public concern.”
‘Huge economic benefit’
She argued for more research into 5G – and refused to answer when asked if she believes 5G is linked to the spread of coronavirus.
Green councillor Denise Craghill, who is on the council’s leadership team, said she also has concerns about the health impact of 5G and asked planning experts what the benefits of the technology are.
She said: “Downloading a film a bit more quickly? A huge benefit to humankind.
“Obviously a lot of the research is backed by corporate interests. I think these comments are not taking a precautionary principle on looking at our health and the health and wellbeing of our residents.”
Cllr John Galvin said he heard similar arguments when masts for 4G technology were installed.
And councillor Tony Fisher said: “The benefits of 5G are established. It gives a much faster data transfer which will enable research in many areas.
“It is of huge economic benefit. As a former professional scientist I believe in following the science and I have yet to find any research that convinces me there are harmful effects of 5G.
“I’m basing this on a huge weight of evidence from across the scientific community.”
Cllr Webb added that good telecommunications is essential for people working from home, and for children trying to do their homework on their phones.
He said: The fact that we have people who are wilfully ignoring the huge weight of scientific evidence here is slightly worrying.”
The application was approved – with only Cllr Craghill voting against the plans.
Cllr Baker is not a member of the planning committee and was speaking as a public participant in the meeting.
Public Health England guidance published in September says: “Independent expert groups in the UK and at international level have examined the accumulated body of research evidence. Their conclusions support the view that health effects are unlikely to occur if exposures are below international guideline levels”