Two new mobile phone masts are proposed for Wigmore and Hempstead to improve coverage for O2 and Vodafone. Both proposed sites are situated so that they are not directly outside a residential property and the Wigmore site in particular is on an empty piece of land that is adjacent to two mini roundabouts. Current designs for mobile phone masts are very similar to lampposts so they will be virtually invisible with all the other street furniture in a road. Some local residents are campaigning against the site of these mobile phone masts although they acknowledge there is a problem with mobile phone reception.
One resident gave the classic line "I realise reception is poor in Hempstead, but there must be a better way of improving reception." Unfortunately not - the only way to improve reception is to add more masts especially to improve 3G coverage which requires masts to be more closely spaced than for the older G2/GPRS technology.
Another argument is that the masts are situated too close to local schools - one suggestion was that 300m was too close to a school. Presumably that means campaigners believe that a radius of say at least 500m around any school cannot have any masts. In some areas with several schools this would mean that no masts could be erected at all giving no mobile coverage. In other areas with one school it would mean they had to be at least 1km apart and would leave huge empty spots of coverage where little signal exists.
If no-one used mobile phones due to the perceived health risks then the mobile companies would not be rolling out new masts. However mobile use is increasing so clearly mobile phone users - including the campaigners against the masts - are happy to use their phones.
The most common complaint from mobile phone users is lack of signal - if these campaigns get their way then this situation will not be improved.
More info on the guidelines that Mobile Operators use for siting mobile phone masts here
Health effects of mobile phone masts http://www.vodafone.com/content/index/uk_corporate_responsibility/protecting/mobiles_health.html