Father loses legal battle over mobile mast

John Aston,Press Association
Tuesday 02 February 2010 13:42 GMT

The father of an autistic daughter lost a High Court battle today against a mobile phone mast being sited outside his home.

Alan Cox, an engineer with professional experience of microwave transmission, expressed concern that radiation from the mast could affect his daughter's health.

The family home in Hitchin Road, Letchworth, Herts, is just 24 metres (78 feet) from the site of the proposed mast.

Mr Cox's 26-year-old daughter suffers from neurological problems following brain injury at birth and is in the house most of the time, with her mother as full-time carer.

In a ruling at London's High Court today, deputy judge Robin Purchas QC said Mr Cox remained concerned about the neurological effects on his daughter of microwave radiation from the proposed mast.

Mr Cox, a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, asked the court to quash planning permission for the 10-metre (33 feet) high column with three antennae granted by a Government planning inspector to T-Mobile UK Ltd.

Rejecting the application, Judge Purchas ruled the inspector had been entitled to find there was little objective evidence to support local fears about the mast.

The judge said there had also been sufficient evidence to support the inspector's conclusion that the microwave emissions would be well within guidelines laid down by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

The case went to the inspector after North Hertfordshire District Council refused the mast planning permission on the grounds that it would be inappropriate development.

In February 2007, the inspector allowed T-Mobile's appeal against the council's refusal, triggering today's High Court challenge.

Richard Buxton, solicitor for Mr Cox, said: "We are very concerned about the judgment and are considering whether to appeal.

"The case raises important issues about disclosure of information to the inspector.

"T-Mobile said it was enclosing a particular document about exposure to mast emissions, but it was not there. We say that was crucial."

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