Islington gives telecoms firm the green light to install 150 wifi antennas on two council tower block roofs
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More than 150 wifi antennas will be installed on top of two Islington Council tower blocks, but the council says they cannot be used for 5G.
An application to fit 65 antennas on top of 19-storey Braithwaite House, in Bunhill Row, Bunhill, and 86 antennas on top of the 23-storey Michael Cliffe House in Skinner Street, Clerkenwell, was approved by councillors at the planning subcommittee on September 6.
Waldon Telecom last year submitted an application to install wireless internet technology on behalf of telecoms firm Luminet, which provides internet to businesses in central London.
However, it was deferred by councillors in November after residents claimed they had not been notified of the proposals.
A petition against Waldon’s revised application to install 4G technology was signed by 200 residents of Michael Cliffe House, but the development was approved by councillors by three votes to two.
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A condition attached to the planning permission outlaws any future 5G installations at the sites.
The World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified all radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer. However, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has said electromagnetic wave frequencies used by mobile phones - including 4G and 5G - are safe so long as devices operate within its prescribed exposure limits.
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5G transmits data at higher frequency radio waves through targeted beams, which provide a faster wifi speed, and as waves at a higher frequency travel shorter distances, more masts are needed. Some people continue to be concerned about health risks.
The application had stated installation of the equipment was sought “in connection with the improvement of the mobile phone network in order to improve wireless internet services, including 5G”.
After the decision was deferred, Luminet told the council the technology itself is not 5G, stating: “Crucially, the power output is significantly lower than that of a mobile (4G, 5G) base station.”
Sarah Nash, from Michael Cliffe’s Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (TRA) committee, said: “There are a lot of people worried about the health implications. How do we know the long term? We have no information about that.”