Architect fights against 5G mast installation near Nice, France – The Connexion

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‘Owner of the land next to us was offered €1,000 a month to site a mast,” says local man

More masts are required for the 5G network due to the shorter range of radio waves it uses
Leitenberger Photography/Shutterstock

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AN ARCHITECT is campaigning against what he calls a ‘Wild West’ of phone mast installations after learning of plans to build one five metres from his bedroom window.

Patrick Giraud, who lives in the hills above Nice, has been fighting for a year to stop the 5G mast going ahead. He has so far succeeded, with the support of neighbours and local and national politicians.

Planning work on the site was halted after the mayor of his commune of Saint-André-de-la-Roche (Alpes-Maritimes) used his municipal police powers.

However, it is unclear if the operator, Free, has to obey this. Several official websites say that a mayor’s police powers do not extend to banning masts.

Mr Giraud said: “Telecom operators can install masts anywhere, as long as they are not higher than 12m and they do not take up more than 5m2 on the ground. They do not even have to own the land – the owner of the land next to us was offered €1,000 a month for the mast.”

A rule that there are no planning formalities required – neither prior decla­ration nor permission – for these smaller masts was confirmed by the Conseil d’Etat in March. An exception is made for protected areas, such as near to historic monuments. 

However, most mast installations require autho­risation from radio frequency body ANFR to check it will not interfere with other signals and to ensure safe levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields.

What angers Mr Giraud especially is that, he says, just 500m away, there is another mast shared by three operators.

However, Free told local authorities it does not wish to join the partnership. A law exists that operators must justify not sharing other masts in ‘rural’ areas if mayors ask them to.

Read more: France’s 5G network is faster than in US, Japan and UK, claims study 

‘Very stressful’

Mr Giraud estimates his home, where his family has grown up, will lose at least half its value if the mast is built. A neighbour opposite is equally affected – the mast will be in his direct view.

“It is very stressful, because this house represents nearly all my savings and assets,” said Mr Giraud. “Very few people will want to buy it with a giant mast and antenna looming over it.

“We thought my son, who is in his early 20s and wants to stay in the region, would take it over, but he will not want to have young children growing up so close to a powerful radio transmitter, for the sake of health and safety.”

Support for Mr Giraud and the association he formed with neighbours has come from local, regional and national politicians, including senators. However, he is waiting to see if the tribunal administratif court will take up the case. 

“If it does not, Free can go ahead, ignoring the mayor,” he said. “What we need is a return to a proper planning process for installing mobile phone masts, especially as the move to 5G mobile phones means that many more will be needed.”

The 5G network allows phones, computers and other devices to connect to the internet at speeds close to those of fibre connections – but the shorter range of 5G radio signals, compared to earlier generations of mobile phones, means more masts are required.

Read more: Free, Orange, SFR: which mobile operator best covers France? 

Some people cite potential health risks from 5G radio signals. Those claiming to suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, for example, say they feel ill when they pass close to mobile phone masts, though scientists have not found a link.

Various means can be used to disguise them. In Strasbourg, there was an outcry when one was installed in a steeple. In Lyon and Toulouse, they have been hidden behind false chimneys. 

■ ANFR has an online map of every mast. It can be found here and searched by address/postcode.

This post was originally published on the 3rd party mentioned in the title ofthis site

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