The Lib Dem Leader of B&NES Council has spoken out about the controversy around the decision of the Council’s non-political Planning Committee to reject a 5G mast in Charlcombe during its December meeting.
Councillor Dine Romero said:
“A mistaken report in the local media, which has since been corrected, has led to widespread misunderstanding about what happened at the B&NES Planning Committee on 16th December.
“The report claimed that an application for a mobile phone mast was refused because of concerns about the safety of 5G technology. That is not true.
“The application was turned down because the committee decided it was "inappropriate development in the green belt and because of its visual impact on the local Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the landscape".
“That is exactly what the formal minutes of the meeting show and there was no mention at all of health concerns in the grounds for refusal.
“As is normal at Planning Committee meetings, the local councillors for the ward in which the mast would be sited spoke on behalf of their residents, many of whom had expressed concerns about 5G safety. But as stated previously, those concerns were not the reason the application was refused.
“Planning Committee decisions are not based on party politics and members from other parties also voted for refusal of this application. It may be that a future application for a mast at this location or nearby might be acceptable to the committee, but that is entirely for them to decide.”
Wera Hobhouse, Bath’s MP, said: “I fully accept that there is no known evidential link between 5G and adverse health. That won’t stop me listening to the concerns of my constituents, which is my duty as their MP. As Lib Dems we don’t silence people who hold alternative opinions but as a party we are committed to making policy on the basis of evidence.”
A spokesperson for Bath and North East Somerset Liberal Democrats added: "5G technology is already operating through two service providers in Bath. There is simply no debate taking place by this administration over whether 5G should be rolled out in B&NES or not. It's already here. The only consideration of the Planning Committee is to ensure that there are appropriately designed masts in appropriate locations."