In June, we in Bristol emerged from lockdown to find a barrage of applications for 5G masts on the city planning website.

So far, the Bristol City Council planning department have refused the majority of applications.

Hundreds of objections on the grounds of health were lodged against the masts.

The 5G mast measures 65 feet in height. Comments on the Council website note how the sinister-looking masts emitting radiofrequency radiation would cause psychological and physical suffering. In 2009, a mobile phone company was forced to remove a 4G mast from a block of flats in Bristol after seven residents were struck down by cancer.

Many of the proposed 5G masts were to be sited close to playgrounds, schools and elderly care residential homes areas, considered by national planners to be ‘vulnerable’ populations.

One of the masts was planned for Ashley Road within 200m of St Barnabas Primary School, in the largely Caribbean-British and African-British district of St Pauls.

St Pauls is an inner city, low income neighbourhood known for its strong community spirit and yearly Carnival. More than one in three children live in poverty on some of its streets. With no local well paid jobs, run down housing, and only two bus routes, St Pauls inhabitants should be receiving massive government aid.

Instead, a telecommunications company, backed by government policy, planned to erect a mast that would tower over one of the community’s small green spaces, with untested consequences for health.

To many in this neglected and poverty-stricken area, it seemed like the final insult. Especially concerning was the lack of democracy and transparency.

No one knew this was to be 5G installation.

The monster mast was to be located by shops, places of worship, a youth and community centre, multiple nurseries and childcare facilities and lots of community services.

Alerted by Bristol’s Stop 5 G campaigning group, the Kuumba Centre and the Malcolm X Community Centre held a ‘St Pauls Community Public 5G’ meeting. There were speakers and a very lively debate.

A St Pauls 5G Group (residents, businesses, allies, community and faith groups) held a ‘5G Frontline Information Sharing’ on Alfred Fagan Green where the proposed mast would be sited. “Let your voice count’ urged the organisers.

In all, one hundred and ninety objections were filed against the Ashley Road mast on the grounds of appearance, siting and health.

Several Council members and the Deputy Mayor, contacted by community leaders, objected on the grounds of siting and appearance. (The UK government instructs local councils not to cite health as an objection in telecoms applications — a clear violation of the freedom of expression.)

On August 5, the Ashley Road mast application was refused by Bristol City Council.

Community organiser Nywani Aduke told Bristol Post online, “this is wonderful news. It’s really good to see the energy of the community making a difference.”

Downloading movies a hundred times faster, an alleged benefit of 5G, clearly counts for little when weighed up against the threats to health, well being and the environment.

But as we know, protesting 5G can be a tricky business. The telecoms-driven media have branded concerned and informed citizens as tin-hatted conspiracy theorists, the type who believes in fake moon landings.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The groundswell of opinion in cities like Bristol and Birmingham demonstrates that it is the lack of informed consent that is driving citizens to protest 5G.

People from all walks of life have read and studied the evidence of thousands of peer reviewed articles. Radiofrequency radiation from wifi, base towers and mobiles is bad for your health and the rollout of 5G must be halted until the science is reviewed properly. This is the gist of the legal case led by Michael Mansfield QC.

Twenty one mast applications have been refused, two withdrawn and four approved as of this writing in Bristol. More 5G applications keep appearing on the Bristol Planning website.

In St Pauls, a campaign is underway against a 5G mast erected by WHP Telecoms. It had been approved by Bristol City Council a year before the city-wide Stop 5G campaign.

Nywani Aduke, who lives a few streets down from the new 5G mast and also works at the Kuumba Centre, told Bristol Post online: “What I want people to understand is that we won’t stop lobbying on Newfoundland Road until the mast comes down. The tower is very significant because it sets up opportunities for more masts to potentially go up.”

“We’ve decided we’re not going to sit down. It’s a suspicious situation and if we had been consulted the mast wouldn’t have gone up in the first place.”

By our Bristol correspondent

September 9, 2020