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See also CEL's August 2002 briefing note on Health Risks and Mobile Phone Masts in Church Spires and Towers

16 Jan 01


Church of England proposals to use space in churches spires to house telecommunications masts should be treated with great caution by parishes, Christian Ecology Link said today. The comments were made in response to a consultation exercise in which the Archbishop's Council is offering local churches the opportunity to gain 'preferred status' in a bidding process. Parishes have been asked to express interest by the end of January.

Tim Cooper, Chairman of Christian Ecology Link (CEL), Britain`s leading church–based environmental charity, said:
    "We recognise the value many people place on mobile phone technology, but it is not appropriate for Church of England authorities to stimulate further growth in this sector until further research has allayed health concerns.

    "Parishes must recognise that there is considerable moral responsibility on those who receive payment for siting masts on the premises. Particular attention must be given to the elderly,who are most vunerable to health threats and less able to defend their interests."
In a letter to the Archbishop`s Council, Christian Ecology Link urges the use of the `precautionary principle` and makes the following comments:
    "A list of all churches who have expressed an interest, or already installed a mast, should be publicly available. Churches that install masts must be required to display a notice so that individuals have the opportunity to choose alternative places of worship if concerned about potential health risks. Important information for parishioners must not be hidden behind a cloak of commercial secrecy.."

    "Churches should be informed about a full range of sources of information. The limited consultation process to date is regrettable. English Heritage has been contacted, but Christian organisations with environmental or medical expertise should also have been contacted."

    "The Archbishop`s Council should reveal the cost of the telocommunications working party and the current consultation exercise. Our members are taking a particular interest because of the Church`s refusal to appoint a full time Enviromental Officer."

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