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Bourne: Ensuring the safety of phone masts

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"I support the motion to monitor the effects of mobile phone masts in Wales. This matter causes concern to rural communities in mid and west Wales. Therefore, I believe that full assessments of all planning applications need to be made.

It is crucial that every case is looked at independently. As Elin said, we risk the charge of hypocrisy, as I too have a mobile phone, as do we all. The important point is that there needs to be a balance between the various aspects of the legitimate needs of everyday life.

We all use mobile phones, and that tendency is probably irreversible. The same applies to Tetra masts and the advantages to the police, but there needs to be a balance. We need to get that balance right and put planning law on such a footing that local communities are considered and that the genuine health risks that exist for young schoolchildren take centre stage in all considerations.

We know that one of main recommendations of the Stewart report was to adopt a more precautionary approach until more detailed and scientifically robust information on health effects becomes available.

I welcome moves made by the telecommunications industry to take those recommendations on board. The industry does not always do the right thing, but sometimes it does and I think that we should recognise that. It is as well that we recognise that there have been moves in the right direction.

We are not looking to stifle the telecommunications industry—and I do not believe that Janet Davies is doing so either—or the economic development opportunities that better communication links across Wales will bring.

I reiterate what I and others have said, in that there needs to be a genuine balance between the needs of the police, the development of the telecommunications industry and the natural concerns of local people and communities about the unknown potential effects of this new technology, particularly on children and where schools are concerned.

I hope that the Minister will move forward on this matter because of the genuine concerns that have been raised across the Chamber, and will continue to be raised, about telecommunications masts."

"Yr wyf yn cefnogi'r cynnig i fonitro effeithiau mastiau ffonau symudol yng Nghymru. Mae'r mater hwn yn peri pryder i gymunedau cefn gwlad yn y canolbarth ac yng ngorllewin Cymru. Felly, yr wyf yn credu bod angen asesiad llawn o geisiadau cynllunio ym mhob achos.

Mae'n hanfodol yr ystyrir pob cais yn annibynnol. Fel y dywedodd Elin, yr ydym yn wynebu'r risg o gael ein cyhuddo o fod yn rhagrithwyr, am fod gennyf innau hefyd ffôn symudol, fel pawb arall. Y pwynt pwysig yw bod angen sicrhau cydbwysedd rhwng yr agweddau amrywiol ar anghenion cyfreithlon bywyd bob dydd. Yr ydym oll yn defnyddio ffonau symudol, ac mae'n debyg na ellir gwrthdroi'r duedd honno. Mae'r un peth yn berthnasol i fastiau Tetra a'r manteision i'r heddlu, ond mae angen sicrhau cydbwysedd.

Mae angen inni gael y cydbwysedd hwnnw'n iawn a threfnu cyfraith gynllunio yn y fath fodd fel bod cymunedau lleol yn cael eu hystyried ac y rhoddir sylw priodol i'r risgiau iechyd gwirioneddol sy'n wynebu plant ysgol ifanc ym mhob ystyriaeth.

Gwyddom mai un o brif argymhellion adroddiad Stewart oedd mabwysiadu ymagwedd fwy rhagofalus hyd nes bod gwybodaeth fanylach a mwy cadarn yn wyddonol ar gael ar effeithiau iechyd.

Croesawaf y camau a gymerwyd gan y diwydiant telathrebu i ystyried yr argymhellion hynny. Nid yw'r diwydiant bob amser yn gwneud y peth cywir, ond gwna hynny weithiau a chredaf y dylem gydnabod hynny. Dylem gydnabod hefyd y cymerwyd camau yn y cyfeiriad cywir.

Nid ydym yn bwriadu rhwystro'r diwydiant telathrebu—ac ni chredaf fod Janet Davies yn gwneud hynny ychwaith—na'r cyfleoedd datblygu economaidd a fydd yn deillio o'r gwell cysylltiadau cyfathrebu ledled Cymru.

Ailadroddaf yr hyn a ddywedais innau ac eraill, sef bod angen sicrhau cydbwysedd gwirioneddol rhwng anghenion yr heddlu, datblygiad y diwydiant telathrebu a phryderon naturiol pobl leol a chymunedau ynglyn ag effeithiau posibl anhysbys y dechnoleg newydd hon, yn enwedig ar blant ac ysgolion. Gobeithiaf y bydd y Gweinidog yn gweithredu ar y mater hwn yn sgîl y pryderon gwirioneddol a godwyd ar draws y Siambr, ac a fydd yn parhau i gael eu codi, ynglyn â mastiau telathrebu."

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