Anger over lack of 5G consultation for Coverdale pilot scheme

Horsehouse in Coverdale. Photo: Greg Fitchett.

Councillors have been told residents of Coverdale, which has been selected for a £6m Government trial of 5G technology, are unhappy over the amount of consultation which took place before the initiative was launched.

North Yorkshire County Council’s Richmond constituency committee heard there was a high level of anxiety among residents of Coverdale due to the authority’s failure to explain what the Mobile Access North Yorkshire (MANY) pilot project would entail.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 5G testbed and trials initiative aims to bring 4G mobile connectivity and ultra-fast broadband to the area where mobile phone coverage is almost non-existent.

MANY, a collaboration between the council and Quickline Communications, has said it has held discussions with parish councils and community members, but the committee heard claims many people and some parish councils in the dale had been left in the dark.

In a statement to the committee, Harriet Corner, of Coverham, said residents had been “disturbed by the disingenuous behaviour of the authorities”.

She said: “I was shocked to discover there is a plan for three 50m 5G masts, one of which has already been erected at Braidley, again without any knowledge of residents at our end of the dale.”

Mrs Corner highlighted concerns she said were shared by other Yorkshire Dales residents that 5G technology would damage wildlife, humans and livestock with radiation, adding at least one of the masts was next to a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, where hen harriers had nested this year.

She said the safest and most secure way to increase mobile phone coverage would be through fibre broadband connections.

Calling for a briefing for all residents, Mrs Corner said: “The urgency is that the residents of Coverdale remain unaware of these risks.

“The only information some of them have seen or heard has come from MANY.

“They have had no consultation and clearly have no control over what happens to the infrastructure that may be required.

“They have no information or detail regarding the nature of the trial.”

The meeting was told the masts did not need planning permission and were at least some were not connected to the 5G trial, but were instead part of a new network for the emergency services.

Councillors said they had heard evidence that 5G masts presented risks, but were also aware of counter-claims that the technology was perfectly safe.

After the meeting, the council’s executive member for access, Councillor Don Mackenzie said MANY had not written to every resident as the initiative was only a trial, but there had been widespread media and social media coverage.

He said: “We have made every effort to make people aware this trial was going ahead short of delivering to every single household.”

Cllr Mackenzie added there was no evidence that suggests 5G is harmful to health at the sort of frequencies that would be used in Coverdale.

He added: “We had exactly the same fears expressed when we introduced 2G, 3G and 4G technology.”


    • We raise questions when we are concerned about something. This is how we work to try and resolve complex issues such as poverty. If you are alerted to what you may consider to be adverse change in the area where you live and you haven’t been consulted, then you might want to raise questions. Consider both sides of an argument and research an issue thoroughly. I’ve researched the impact of Electromagnetic Radiation on the environment and on health too. The Telecommunications industry has failed to provide even one independent study to show that EMR is safe. Further more, 5G will involve a range of frequencies which have never been used widely in a public domain before. I research because I fear for my children’s future…the saying is ‘ignorance is bliss’…the only bliss for me, will be when we have honest discussion and preferably an end to the ensuing creep of ubiquitous EMR from Wifi in our environment.

    • Thats true but isn’t it a shame when the ignorant turn out to be counsellors.
      They are people who should be looking at all the evidence independently. 5g is NOT proven to be safe. As I understand it there have been no tests done – could that be because they fear the results? it would be easy enough to get independent studies done – or even look at the many peer reviewed papers in existence. Theres an expression – I don’t want it to be true therefore it isn’t.
      As Dave says the ignorant are always with us it’s just a shame that they get into positions of power which they abuse.

    • There’s such a huge amount of negativity about the use of 5G that further research & consultation needs to be undertaken. If the Government don’t want to investigate, one must ask oneself what is it they are trying to hide?

  1. We live in a technological age. Businesses rely on mobile and broadband. If you use a mobile phone or use the internet for whatever reason you have to accept these changes are there to improve the service. 5G is around already why should rural areas not have funding to keep up with the rest of the country. We are losing many essential services as it is.

  2. We have made every effort to make people aware THIS TRIAL WAS GOING AHEAD – according to Mr Mackenzie….so not much consultation there then. Sounds like decisions were made long before and with little consultation. A fait accompli?

  3. “We had exactly the same fears expressed when we introduced 2G, 3G and 4G technology.” – Yes indeed, and there are thousands of independent peer-reviewed studies evidencing the harm already being done to people, animals, pollinators & the environment by these earlier generations of wireless technology. If we add the stronger 5g layer of untested, pulsed, non-ionised radiation on top of these already toxic electro magnetic frequencies, this time with no escape 24/7, we do so at our peril. Similar fears were also expressed about tobacco, asbestos, & mercury many years before their dangers were recognised. Let us not make the same mistake again and at least put 5g through independent testing, which the Wireless industry confessed to the US Senate Hearing in 2019 that they have not done. Let us employ the ‘Precautionary Principle’and be safe rather than sorry.

  4. The debate goes on and on. One thing for sure is that the telecom companies will win. They have years and years of experience in lies and deceit. Those who want to believe them will and the rest will go down as nutters or conspiracy theorists or just plain sad. Until in a few years when statistics show the cancer rates are such that everyone can expect cancer in their lives along with a whole host of other undesirable illnesses. Even then they will be saying ‘but hey you can sit in a driverless car and just tap on your cell phone wherever you want to so it must be worth it?. And, after all, the world is overpopulated so does it matter that 80% of the population are now sterile? And the suicide levels are only high because people done work anymore – there’s no jobs but does that really matter? Of course not’ – we will have 5g {and probably 6g by then}.
    So, brave souls who dare to voice your concerns I fear they will fall on deaf ears mostly. As pointed out by the previous person it is generally hindsight which teaches stupid humans.
    Im 80 so it hardly matters, I’ve had my life but I feel sad for the young people who should have full free lives ahead of them.
    it doesn’t take a psychic to see that they won’t have that!

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