A councillor launched a blistering attack on ‘naive’ campaigners hoping to pause the rollout of 5G in Bristol.
The service, which allows faster phone data speeds, has been operational in the city since July 3 on the Vodafone network.
But campaigners are calling for Bristol City Council to switch off the network over radiation fears.
(Image: ©Mark Simmons)
Montpelier nutritional therapist Sally Beare launched a petition earlier this year urging the authority to follow Geneva and Florence in adopting “the precautionary principle”, halting 5G until there is more information to show it is safe.
Her concerns are primarily public health related and she claims that the technology “risks cancer” and will cause “illness and death”.
Public Health England (PHE) – which provides advice to local authorities – says it does not expect 5G to impact on people’s health.
Nearly 4,000 people added their names to Ms Beare’s petition and dozens of anti-5G campaigners attended City Hall on Tuesday (September 10) for a special debate in the chamber on the petition.
But if it was support and understanding they were looking for over their concerns, they would have been left very disappointed after Labour Co-op councillor Tom Brook launched a blistering attack in which he referred to them as “naive people who had been taken in by malicious misinformation”.
Speaking at the meeting the councillor for Bishopston and Ashley Down said: “I am dismayed it is this topic we are discussing because these concerns are scientifically unfounded and those that have brought this petition have been misled and are in turn sadly misleading others.
“There seems to be a bewildering range of maladies attributed to 5G including cancer, infertility, autism and Altzehimers.
(Image: Bristol City Council)
“ Fears about radiation in the mobile phone industry are nothing new, they were around when 4G was rolled out and before that 3G and WiFi.
“The claims and the arguments have not been updated with time, but simply repeated.
“They are from the same conspiracy theorists fuelled by fake news and misinformation that brought us the greatest hits such as vaccines cause autism, people being allergic to power lines, the government spraying chemicals out the back of aeroplanes and of course the earth being flat.
“So let me be clear there is no solid, credible evidence that 5G mobile communications has any effect on human health, none.
“It has been tested and proven to be safe. I speak here not just as a relatively informed individual with the ability to Google but also as an engineer working in risk and safety.
“From the World Health Organisation down there is an agreement within the scientific and medical community that 5G is not a threat to health.
“The only so-called evidence out there is from discredited researchers peddling pseudo-science using technical sounding words to confuse people.
“Well meaning but naive people have sadly been taken in by malicious misinformation. They have been spoonfed nonsense under the guise of public safety.
“Please, please, please don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Act to stop the spread of conspiracy theories and fake news.
“The only thing that’s cancerous here is the spread of psudo-science and fake news and misinformation in our society.”
His speech was met with jeers and booing from the packed public gallery – most of whom were part of the anti-5G campaign.
Councillors from the opposition parties were much gentler in their responses, but reiterated the point that local authorities have to take their advice from Public Health England – which has said there should be no consequences for public health.
Both the Green group and the Liberal Democrats suggested that the situation should be monitored as the rollout progresses.
Deputy mayor Asher Craig, who is the cabinet member responsible for Public Health, said that while she appreciated the concerns raised about the “alleged health risks” the authority had to be led by the “experts”.
She added: “Public Health England have advised that the highest frequencies being discussed for future use by 5G is not new, they have been used in microwaves and some other types of transmitters for many years.
“PHE has advised that there may be a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves when 5G is added to an existing network or in a new area. However the overall exposure is expected to remain relatively low to guidelines and as such no consequences to public health.”
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