Coverdale 5G pilot scheme “dividing community”, say campaigners

An image of a mast submitted with the plans.

A campaign group unhappy about plans for a 5G pilot scheme in Coverdale say the proposal is “dividing the community”.

Coverdale Connect and Protect has spoken out ahead of a planning meeting next week to decide a 17m wooden pole for mobile antenna equipment at West Scrafton.

The proposal is part of the Mobile Access North Yorkshire (MANY) initiative which aims to provide 4G and 5G mobile phone and broadband coverage to rural areas within the county.

A planning officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is recommending the application for the mast, which will be 15m above ground, is approved.

In his report to members, senior planning officer Andrew Bishop concluded that while the mast would be visible, including from High Lane to the north, and would “present some harm to the character and appearance of the landscape”, the impact would be reduced by the presence of existing nearby trees and agricultural buildings which would offer some screening from the north west.

He added: “The topography to the south would act as a backdrop to the installation and the timber pole design and brown colouration would reduce its visual impact to such a degree that it would not be so harmful to the special qualities of the national park as to warrant a refusal of permission.

“The equipment complies with international standards for radio frequency radiation and will not give rise to undue perceived health risks.”

Mr Bishop said that at the time of writing the report the authority had received 13 representations in support of the scheme and 22 objections.

The objections include claims of a lack of consultation with the local community, insufficient and misleading information given by the applicants and that non-ionising radiation was harmful to human health.

In a statement to Richmondshire Today, the campaign group said the report did not mention that 90 per cent of the target area for the pilot scheme already had superfast fibre broadband and that homes further up Coverdale, including those in Braidley and Woodale, who would be the biggest beneficiaries of improved communication, were not included.

The statement added: “There appears to be no attempt by the senior planning officer to verify who would benefit, and how many, from the project.

“We believe the figure is a little more than 40 homes.

“This omission makes a nonsense of MANY’s claim that community is at the heart of everything it does.

“The scheme is dividing a community, not uniting it. This, however, is not commented on by the planning officer.”

The campaigners have also taken issue with a statement in the planning officer’s report that “anti-5G campaigners have leafletted premises in the whole area”.

In response, Coverdale Connect and Protect member Anne Pilling, from Horsehouse, said: “There is an outrageous arrogance about an organisation which, at the first sign of opposition to its plans, resorts to cheap jibes in an effort to rubbish its opponents.

“That this is then picked up by an official of the national park authority and used in an official report is especially disappointing.

“We are not anti-5G campaigners. We are not fruit cakes, oddballs, geeks or advocates of a flat earth.

“We are local people who are standing up for and hope to get the best for the people of Coverdale. And at the moment we are a long way from achieving that.”

The campaigner said she had hoping for support from the national park but now realised that this was a “forlorn hope”, adding that the park authority had refused to meet the group in advance of the planning meeting.

The planning application for the mast will be decided on Tuesday, February 2.

For more details on the application click here.

To view the officer’s report click here.


  1. Non-ionising radio signals like 5G are not hazardous unless you put your face in front on the antenna when there is a small heating effect. People should be more worried about the millions of high energy particles from space which penetrate their bodies daily. The cosmetic issues of such masts are reasonable grounds for objection.

    • Like the comment for this to work, it needs only 1 telegraph pole style mast in Coverdale.

    • Non-ionising not being damaging is a slogan similar to the tobacco industry used during the 1970’s.

      As it turns out, the only measure they used to substantiate this claim is that is does not heat and break dna bonds.

      The reality is far different with 30,000 studies showing biological changes occurring during the non-ionising phase. One such example if voltage gate channels being deregulated which bloods calcium into the cell in beyond healthy levels.

      We have to question the marketing from industry, we have been lied to.

  2. Non -ionising radio is not hazardous at the power levels experienced by the public. If it were then mobile phone and wifi use would have caused verifiable harm over the last several decades. This is not the case. Of course individuals have a right to reject the use of modern technology for themselves but they should not have the power to hold back valuable enabling technological advances from others in our communities.

    • I would love to agree but studies demonstrate harm from exposure to wifi and mobile phones. The extensive 2 yr NTP study found clear evidence of an association with malignant schwannomas tumours in the hearts of male rats. A cancer Epidemiology update is calling for IARC’s current categorization of Radio frequency radiation as a possible human carcinogen (Group 2B) should be upgraded to Carcinogenic to Humans (Group 1). An Italian businessman was awarded a pension in a 2017 court ruling since he developed a brain tumour after 15 yrs of phone use.
      I agree, individuals are free to choose to engage with technology or not, however wifi in our communities is ubiquitous so disables free choice…as does an onslaught of technological deployment a ploy without informed consent

        • If you believe that I’m wrong please explain how there will be no danger its important

        • I think its a very fair question to seek an explanation from companies. Due to the extremely high density of BSs [base stations, i.e., cell antenna sites], street light access points, separate indoor BSs, relays and Massive MIMO [multiple input multiple output] technology employed in 5G, a person will be exposed to very high levels of PFDs [power flux densities], whether he is indoors or outdoors, or whether or not he is using any wireless devices in close proximity. In other words, it may be suspected that even the ambient PFD which a person is exposed to in most situations throughout the day may fall under the category of “Severe Concern” according to the Building Biology Standard, “Far above normal” according to the AMA [Austrian Medical Association] standards, and may be higher than the precautionary action level recommended by the BioInitiative Guidelines. If 5G networks are deployed without careful analysis of expected exposure levels, almost all people in the area of coverage may be exposed to dangerous levels of PFD, the outcomes of which, in the near future, may turn out to be calamitous.

  3. I receive leaflets through my door daily, I’d be delighted to receive one about 5G. These folks are raising discussion, a good thing and not to be discouraged. Anyone reverting to criticism or name calling of those trying to reach out, usually wish to close down discussion. Re ICNIRP’s guidelines, it’s common knowledge they’re out of date and were designed to protect us only from short-term heating (or thermal) effects. The guidelines fail to protect us from non-thermal effects, especially from long-term exposure to wireless radiation. ICNIRP continues to dismiss the many hundreds of peer-reviewed studies that have found biologic and health effects from exposure to low-intensity, radio frequency radiation including many human as well as animal studies. The preponderance of the research has found evidence of increased cancer incidence, oxidative stress, DNA damage, and infertility from exposure to wireless radiation.

  4. We find in this day and age that you can actually drive 40 mins or more from Pinkers Pond to Kettlewell with NO signal available !! this needs addressing. It is a busy route for tourists and people trying to work like other “ normal” people in the UK on a daily basis.

    We were told as well through the local leaflet drop much misinformation for example about a visually intrusive network and were told that repeater stations would be needed every 300 meters for it to work … This is simply untrue and only requires 1 telephone pole style mast in Coverdale. Possibly a second one in the future, So masts all over the place is not going to happen. This will provide much needed mobile communication as well as broadband with a minimum speed of 30mb. This will help people immediately who are in no man’s land with new technology as Openreach simply will not get to them for a long time and involves far more than 40 properties so this is also untrue. Another scare tactic was saying that planning permissions was being “rushed Through” again untrue and has followed the normal planning application processes as far as I can see.

    The benefits of this project are huge people that have a regular mobile signal take things for granted this is here and available now and should be welcomed .. Would WHO, GOV, Councils and Councillors support something that was intentionally going to harm us ? The levels are NOT 5g level or it would need repeater stations . 4G was launched 8 years ago and 5G was launched in 2019 .. surely, we would have had some negative feedback by now or they would stop the roll out over the UK.

    We can’t just rely on fibre and broadband as a local farmer said and pointed out he dealt with livestock on a daily basis and often working in isolation with dangerous machinery … he had NO hope of getting fibre at the moment and having a mobile signal was crucial “ you cant drag the router down the field”.

    Benefits outweigh the risks on this one as we sit here today in my opinion .. Lets be proactive.

    • Oh dear, how did we ever manage before the advent of the mobile phone?
      I recall, life was a lot more peaceful. I ran my business successfully with customers leaving their order on the answer machine if I wasn’t available. Then I could respond in my own time. Many are addicted to their mobiles and to social media, so you think you have lots of friends but in reality you are lonely. It’s all a falsehood. We subscribe to technology because it’s available and yes there are positive aspects but also there exists a serious downside that nobody wants to discuss. To be fair, it would be great if when we buy a new gadget it came with instructions on safe use and the dangers just like prescription drugs. As it is, nobody warns you about the dangers of a child using a mobile phone or the dangers of high output from your wifi reuter. Right now energy consumption from mobile phones alone is higher than aviation. By 2026 its projected to rise 170%. The carbon footprint is unquantifiable at the current rate of consumerism we can only imagine the cost. How many films does anyone need to download in the middle of a field? If you think you need 5G to make a call think again it will be reliant on current infrastructure..all is never as it seems.

      • Well if that is the case what are you doing commenting on here? Ill await your reply on the BT response 50

        • Thanks Bob, I commented here because it’s possible to connect to the internet via a wired connection, which is safer, faster, stronger and more reliable. I use a computer which is connected via an ethernet cable. All wifi is off. I had a flip top mobile once, it went when I realised the high levels of radio freq radiation it was pushing out. I didn’t find that it improved my life, despite my antiquated answer machine (not as advanced as a BT50). Wired is safer

    • On the face of it this seems a reasonable enough response but I have to question whether 5G is going to address the issues that you raise. My understanding is that 5G will not improve mobile signals at all but will allow you to quickly download a film in the middle of the dale. Even if that is a simplistic view, I am very saddened that the community is becoming divided about this. Unfortunately, these days, accessing good quality information is not so easy as just typing in Mr Google. Numerous scientists and studies now exist to show that harm is caused by this unseen magnetic radiation. I guess that the NHS will pick up the bill ultimately? We live in an age where change happens very quickly, things are done in haste, and because it’s convenient to ignore the facts. He who shouts loudest and has money behind him rarely acts in the interests of others. And by the way, my preference would be to urge a wait and see strategy before launching into this. I believe it is called the Precautionary Principle. Let’s not be lemmings.

  5. If true that “The levels are NOT 5g level or it would need repeater stations.” then why is the MANY trial called a 5g trial? “It would be great if when we buy a new gadget it came with instructions on safe use and the dangers just like prescription drugs.” If you have an Iphone, go to ‘Settings’, then ‘General’ then ‘About’ then ‘RF Exposure’ and read the warnings in the smallest of small print. We have to ask why are these danger warnings so small and so hidden?

    • Ask them tonight in the zoom call. We have been told by MANY and confirmed by NYCC that it is NOT 5g strength. All the experts say that you would need more than 1 mast to make this happen as the radius of the 5g signal is much shorter. I’m sure the 79 million handset users in the UK will have all read this small print !!

  6. ICNIRP – International Commission on Non Ionising Radiation Protection – Which sets the RFR (radio frequency radiation) exposure limits has been shown to be a captured agency with industry ties. (Turin case) Of course the Telcoms industries will say that 5G is safe as they are set to make lots of money, they’ve been selling us mobile phones for years, which, if you look at the small print, are hazardous to your health, if you hold one to your ear, as many people do. Has anyone noticed that the big insurance company – Lloyds of London has refused to indemnify any damage from 5G? None of these subjects are being discussed in the mainstream media so it is difficult to see both sides of the story – it’s not surprising that the community is divided on a subject about which most people know very little. It is best to apply the precautionary principle until the proposed 5G test bed technology has been proved to be safe.

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