Local authority will write to planners over appeal rights
Ramsey Commissioners discussed the implications of 5G at a meeting last night (20 June), after residents expressed fears over its impact on human health.
It follows the approval of a planning application by telecommunications company Sure for a replacement mast at Albert Tower, which is on a slope above the town.
The possible introduction of the 'fifth generation cellular network' technology in Ramsey has prompted more than 1,500 people to sign a petition, calling for the commissioners to appeal the development.
But the local authority can't appeal the application, as it's in the parish of Maughold, but neighbouring Garff Commissioners can, and say they will, should Ramsey write to them requesting they do so.
Commissioner Juan McGuinness said this highlighted problems with Interested Party Status, as the town couldn't appeal an application 'right on its boundary'.
The local authority resolved to write to the Planning Authority, to express this view over the third party rights of appeal , which were changed last year.
Sure states the new mast is capable of supporting 5G, but says it won't 'necessarily be used for testing', despite claims by some Ramsey residents they'll be used as 'guinea pigs' for the technology.
During the discussion, commissioner Ffinlo Williams said 'there were the same concerns with 4G, but we're fine so far, touch wood'.
He added 'Sure isn't using this mast to see if we all get cancer, they just want to see if 5G works in Ramsey'.
A letter from the Director of Public Health, Henrietta Ewart was provided to members as part of the debate.
She has 'no concerns' over 5G's impact on health, and is satisfied the mast development conforms with ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) exposure guidelines.
Commissioner Michelle Quayle was sceptical about the issue, and said 'I personally want to see much more information about this technology'.
She also questioned the integrity of the health advice offered by Dr Ewart, highlighting the fact she was employed by government.
'If I can't see it, smell it, or touch it, then I don't want to know about it' said commissioner Wilf Young.
Commissioner Luke Parker sought to strike a balance between both sets of opinions, adding, 'we do care about public health, but if there aren't any concerns, we must welcome this new technology or risk being left behind'.