Tuesday 8 September 2009

Talks to resolve mast row ‘constructive’

EFFORTS are continuing to resolve a stand-off between a community in Kerry and providers of a controversial telecommunications mast which has been given planning permission by An Bord Pleanála.

Objectors to a 15m-high mast in Annascaul have met with contractors acting for Eircom in the hope of finding a solution.

Residents who have been urging the Threefold company, agents of Eircom, to erect the mast on a site away from the village, described the meeting as constructive.

"They wanted to meet the company face to face so as to explain the situation to them," said local FG councillor Seamus Cosai Fitzgerald.

Local protests escalated last month when people filled in foundations that had been dug for the mast on a site in the picturesque Dingle Peninsula village. Work has since ceased at the site.

The residents say the mast will completely dominate the village skyline and could also create health risks.

Kerry County Council refuses planning for masts under its rule which bans such masts within 1km of houses, schools and other residential buildings. However, such decisions are regularly overturned by An Bord Pleanála.

The latest example is in the Knocknagoshel area where the O2 mobile phone company has successfully appealed against a county council refusal to retain a 30m mast for a five-year period.

The mast is located less than 1km from a number of houses, but bord inspector Brendan McGrath said there was no rationale for the council’s mast policy on health and safety grounds.

"According to the council planner’s report, the nearest dwelling is 300m from the mast. The restrictive council policy is not supported by the national guidelines, or by any other authoritative planning guidance," he said.

Mr Grath also pointed out an inspector had previously concluded there was no health risk with a mast at the site.

In its appeal, the O2 company claimed the council’s policy was unduly restrictive and "not scientifically justified".

Irish Examiner


No comments: