Before landlords rush to cash in on the idea of placing a Mast or Mobile Phone Antenna on the top of their block of flats, as Bernard Slade in Wimbledon Park intends to do, they might like to consider a few points.
Firstly, more and more evidence of negative health effects and cancer clusters are being linked to Mobile Telephone Masts in residential areas. If, or more likely, when these health effects are proven to be directly linked to the masts in court, compensation will be forthcoming from land owners, since Telecommunications operators are unlikely to fully indemnify land owners against legal action. In the recent TV drama Judge John Deed, (an episode entitled “Silent Killer”), the landlord of a Block of Flats was taken to court by a sick resident who lived below a Mast – albeit a TETRA/Airwave (Police) antenna rather than a similar 3G Mobile Telephone Mast. This may be fiction at the moment, but in the near future many such cases are no doubt inevitable.
Secondly, once the initial contract period is up, you may not be able to have the mast removed, since the Operator can claim the right to stay – even if the owner may wish to sell or redevelop the site. The text below recently arrived at mast Sanity from the owner of a Water Tower, who wanted to terminate his contract with T-Mobile:-
“I have given 12 months notice to T Mobile under the terms of the original 10 year lease I have with them requiring them to remove the aerials from the top of my house in order that we can sell it in 12 months time without the aerials on top. They have responded under the Telecomms Act serving a “Code Notice” saying basically they are a utility provider and are entitled to stay. In a without prejudice side letter they have said they do not want to inhibit the sale of the house but will need to find an alternative site. This will be very difficult in the area where I live. In discussions they have said they recognise that they will be liable to pay compensation if they stay beyond the end of the notice period.”
Question: “Does anyone have any help or advice to help us bring pressure to bear to ensure they vacate the site at the end of the notice period?”
The Reply: “Presumably you have taken fairly profitable payments from them in the past to have their antennas on your building. Nothing comes for free. Now comes the payback time.
Maybe you will have to accept that it has discounted the current value of your building and sell it for less than you had hoped - just like many of your neighbours may have lost value on their houses and found them harder to sell because you had the antennas on your house. You could try asking around to see if any of your neighbours would be prepared to take them.
I suspect you will be in for a long hard fight with T-Mobile - they became much harder to deal reasonably with after they had been bought by Deutsch Telecom.”
Thirdly, Is it morally right for the Owners of Blocks of Flats to take money in exchange for putting residents' lives and health at risk, purely for financial gain? Don't they have a “Duty of Care” toward their residents? If we were discussing the storage of Toxic waste or the installation of Asbestos sheeting on the roof nobody would rush to take the companys' cash – the only difference is the Official and Corporate mis-information and ignorance which surround Mobile Telephone Masts i.e. the very real and serious health effects from the microwaves emitted from them, incidentally including the residents living directly below the antennae. Surely it is completely wrong for anyone to impose such risks on people living within their care, when those people will have no choice about being bombarded with microwave radiation from those masts, purely to satisfy the landlord's desire for ever more money.
So, to recap, with the moral dilemma and the future serious problems that any Flat Owner may have with agreeing to host a Mast, is it sensible to take the Operator's money, or is it really Fools' Gold?