Councillors has been advised to listen to ‘proper, balanced scientific opinion’ after raising health concerns about the roll-out of the superfast 5G mobile network.
The advice came after Arun District Council was asked to declare a moratorium on the roll-out, which could allow providers to build bigger and taller masts without having to apply for planning permission.
A government consultation into the issue is due to end on November 4.
At a meeting of the full council, Colin Oliver-Redgate (Con, Ferring) urged caution and told members that 5G had the potential to increase the public’s exposure to electromagnetic frequency radiation (EMF) ‘by an unknown degree’ which could not ‘practically be regulated’ by safety standards.
He asked for a moratorium ‘while more conclusive safety evidence is sought, with urgency’.
Mr Oliver-Redgate added: “At the end of the day, it is simply not good enough for authorities to say that they cannot see that there is conclusive proof that EMF exposure is a risk to health, and we’ll just take a ‘suck it and see’ approach, as guinea-pigs, when it comes to permitting the roll-out of 5G.”
He was supported by Isabel Thurston (Green, Barnham).
Ms Thurston said there was growing concern worldwide about the impact 5G would have on people’s health, adding: “Children are particularly at risk due to less-developed physical defence systems.”
A number of town and parish councils, including Glastonbury, have already declared moratoriums.
But Lib Dem council leader Dr James Walsh told the meeting that the council had to rely on government advice.
He said: “We cannot, in Arun, make our own laws on this matter. We have to be guided.”
Dr Walsh said he remembered when mobile phones first came out and ‘we were all warned that this was going to make us deaf, blind, sterile’.
He added: “We must listen to scientific advice on this and I would say to Cllr Oliver-Redgate read the whole literature and not just those from interested advocates.”
“We must listen to proper balanced scientific opinion on this and that’s what we will continue to do as a council.”