Council to report on base station health concerns

Sutherland Shire Council may be powerless to act in the interest of residents over the installation of small cell mobile phone base stations (MPBS) in residential areas.

At Monday night’s council meeting Councillor Kent Johns said concerned residents had petitioned him on potential health risks associated with MPBS installations.

State planning law classifies the installation of MPBS on existing infrastructure (telegraph and power poles) as exempt development, making the council’s development approval function void. The council will have to work with the state and federal bodies responsible to address residents’ concerns.

Cr Johns said people’s main concern was the cells’ proximity to schools and childcare centres. They criticised carriers for not giving due thought to the health of residents or visual impacts.

The council unanimously carried a motion moved by Cr Johns that they report on how best to serve residents over installation of small cell base stations in residential areas and that former policies be reviewed.

This comes a little over a year after Gymea Bay residents petitioned the council, state government, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and their local MP Scott Morrison – now the prime minister – to oppose a proposed MPBS to be built on Ellesmere Road.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency’s (ARPANSA) website states: “No adverse health effects are expected from continuous exposure to the RF EME emitted by the antennas on mobile phone base stations.”

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