CAMPAIGNERS have hit out at a mobile phone firm for putting up a new mast despite Enfield Council refusing planning permission.

Residents living near the site say they are already surrounded by masts and fear a possible impact on their health.

The ground is being prepared for the eight-metre mast on a wooded area at the corner of Merryhills Drive and Lonsdale Road.

It will be the third Orange mast to go up within a three-quarter-mile radius and a search on the mobile site finder website of regulator Ofcom revealed there will be a total of 14 masts in the square mile around Lonsdale Drive once the new mast is added.

The council, which is not legally entitled to refuse the mast on health grounds, refused planning permission for it on aesthetic grounds in 2006.

But Orange won its appeal with the planning inspectorate last year.

Lisa Cowan, 41, of Lonsdale Drive, who has children of three and seven, sent 60 letters to neighbours asking them to write to complain.

Ms Cowan said: “There is already a mast at the back of my house. Now there will be one at the front. Nobody wants it. We know it can cause health problems. There are clusters of people with cancer around masts.

“The thing is we just don’t know enough about the risks, like it was with smoking.”

A resident on the other side of the street, Kim Protopapa, 49, also led a campaign but said: “The sad truth is that people are just so busy now and can’t fight these things.”

The council received 24 letters of objection and a 35-signature petition.

The area is home to Highlands School and three primary schools, while Merryhills Primary School removed a Vodafone mast from its roof in 2006 after parents complained about potential health risks.

Every resident who complained except one admitted they had a mobile phone.

An Orange spokesman said: “Mobile phones have become part of our everyday lives and there is an infrastructure required to support the increasing demands on the network.

“These masts operate at a very low power and the signal therefore does not travel very far, meaning that they need to be placed in and around where people are actually using the services.

“We do appreciate that there are some concerns about mobile masts and health but people can be very reassured by the science.

“Scientific reviews around the world have not found adverse health effects caused by mobile phone base stations operating within international health and safety guidelines.”

  • What are your views on this story? Leave your comments in the box below.