Government minister says Coverdale 5G test scheme is “great news” for residents

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman.

A Government minister said last night that the 5G pilot scheme in Coverdale is “great news” for residents.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman was speaking after national park planners approved a communications pole in West Scrafton which will allow the initiative to go-ahead.

Members voted unanimously bin favour of the pole despite opposition from some residents.

Mr Warman said: “Our multi-million pound investment means rural Coverdale will soon enjoy lightning fast internet access.

“The project’s cutting-edge technology will produce stronger signal using fewer masts and this means we can preserve the natural beauty of the Dales while fulfilling our commitment to level up the region.

“This is great news for residents and I look forward to sharing what we’ve learned with other areas across the country.”

The project aims to go live with the network in April/May 2021 when officials say residents will be able to utilise ultrafast broadband and mobile data outside the home.

The second phase of the project will see the consortium working to develop roaming agreements with mobile network operators to offer a conventional 3/4G mobile signal.

The £6.4million project is part-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) with the remainder coming from commercial partners.

Experts say the scheme will use a software system and mapping database called WISDM – owned by MANY partner Wireless Coverage – whixh has allowed the project to gain an understanding of how specific frequency signals are likely to cover a selected area.

This has meant that only one mast is needed in Coverdale itself – at West Scrafton – to cover the northern area with a further two being erected outside of the dale.

This will link back to Quickline Communications’ – the lead partner of the MANY consortium – backhaul near the A1.

Steve Jagger, CEO of Quickline Communications Ltd, said: “We are pleased that we have secured permission from the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Quickline Communications’ core business is bringing ultrafast connectivity to rural areas.

“We pride ourselves in working sensitively to the uniqueness of these areas, making sure masts are discreet on the landscape.”

North Yorkshire County Councillor’s executive member for access, Cllr Don Mackenzie, said: “This planning permission is very good news for all residents of Coverdale who have for a long time been looking for better broadband and mobile phone coverage.

“At the same time, the County Council recognises the need to protect the local environment, and the work of the MANY partners has ensured that there is minimal effect on the local landscape with this 5G project.”

Objectors to the scheme said the non-ionising radiation from the masts would be harmful to human health and would affect the park’s landscapes and ecology.



  1. After looking into the MANY programme it is much more about trialling out new technologies for the internet of things eg driverless tractors, augmented tourism , drone technology, smart appliances . . These all need testing in a rural setting . Coverdale, Wensleydake and Swaledale will be a big Tech playpen where they trial out all their new inventions . In the recent planning meeting where the West Scrafton mast was passed it was based on very emotive language about the necessity of having a mobile signal in the dale as well better broadband , something we can all agree is important. Notice above Matt Warman says they will try and find mobile phone operators to partner with, in the second stage ! Yet their sales pitch was all about bringing a better mobile signal to the dale .There are already two new EE masts in cCoverdale as well as a new emergency mast at Coverhead . This is because 5G is not suited to mobile signal. The CEO of Huawei has already said ‘ Humankind doesn’t need 5G what Humankind needs is better broadband ,something 5 G doesn’t provide’ . Fibre is the safest and fastest delivery of broadband and this is what the residents mostly want. 90 percent of the test area has already got fibre coming to their home. This all begs the question , Have the residents been missold something ? Only time will tell . If in a few years our iconic Dales wildlife plummets in numbers and our citizens health is negatively affected due to no precautionary measures taken. Even in the planning meeting legitimate health concerns were noted but these are outside the remit of the decision as permitted by a planning clause.number 16 . All of us living in the Dales can expect to be exposed to much higher EMR 24/7 which is recognised around the world as having a deterimental affect . This will be even greater for all those in the direction of this new beamed technology called 5G. A 50 m exclusion zone gives us a clue this isn’t safe but this topic wasn’t alluded to by anyone in the meeting. I know we all want connectivity but this trial is not going to benefit us in my view and any harm caused is not covered by these companies as this sector failed to get insurance cover for any future health claims. The failure of this industry to be indemnified for health claims speaks volumes !

  2. In the former article re Coverdale 5G, thank you Mirium for your interesting clip from a senate hearing, Mr Blumenthal denouncing 5G as devoid of industry funded, independent safety testing..”zero”..and we’re “Flying blind as for health and safety”. This new 5G telecom standard for mobile devices now leads me to reconsider the extent to which our microwave environment might be affecting our health. Signals transmitted in 1970 were analogue, now they are digital and carried by microwaves..almost all ‘information’, whether sound, picture, text or data, is now sent as highly complex, multi-channel pulsed phase-modulated EM waves. Whilst we might think are bodies are animated by biochemical processes, in reality, we function on bioelectrical principals. Our physiological functions are shaped by pulses. Signalling happens by the opening of ion channels in membranes, allowing a pulse or influx of small ions like, sodium, potassium and calcium into (or out of) cells. With this in mind, pulsed microwaves are considered to be more biologically active than non-pulsed sinusoidal waves (Panagopoulos et al., 2015). Of great concern should be the effect that phase-modulated pulsed microwaves might be having on children and young people. We expose most children in school and at home to WiFi and mobile device and pulsed microwaves have been shown to affect DNA repair and embryonic stem cells [Belyaev et al., 2009, Markovà , 2010]. As stem cells occur at much higher densities in children (most abundant in the foetus), impacts on young children are likely to be higher than in adults. EM wave effects on stem cells may also disrupt brain development and function in young children [Bhargav et al., 2015]. This may play a role in autistic spectrum disorders. Whilst there is absolutely no doubt that phase-modulated pulsed microwaves cause adverse biological effects, it is not so easy to make studies on overall health (with the exception of cancer studies, as they relate to mobile phone use). Unless we used wired connections, laptops, tablets, WiFi, cordless phones and Bluetooth devices all emit pulsed EM waves at microwave frequencies. Add to this transmissions from mobile phone masts (antenna) and one can appreciate that it is impossible to conduct case-control studies; we are all part of the ‘experiment’. This means that we can only look at trends over time. The telecom industry will also point out that extrapolation from isolated biological systems is not valid in terms of human exposure, as microwave penetration into tissues has to be taken into consideration. For this reason, SAR values or Specific Absorption Rates are often quoted in the context of mobile phones. SAR is calculated from the average field strength emitted by a device such as a mobile phone (one assumes, at distance from the head when phone in use), the density of the tissue and its conductivity (as if the tissue were an electrolyte). whilst it is theoretically possible for microwaves to penetrate to a depth that most certainly could cause health problems, one has to assume that the actual penetration depends on power as energy will be lost as the microwaves pass through tissues. The only solution to bridge the divide between biological responses determined experimentally and health, is to do experiments. The problem is how, as we are already in the experiment and so case- control studies are technically difficult. Consider smoking for example. Many individuals in the 1970s were part of the experiment due to ‘passive smoking’. Studies were eventually performed on animals. In rather the same way, experimental studies (on the effects of pulsed microwaves) have now been conducted on animals (see Bioinitiative report 2012). Children work/play for hours a day, often within one to several meters of WiFi routers (30mW devices emit microwaves at a power level of 1mW/m2 at around 1.5m), both a school and at home. Add to this mobile devices and antennae placed within 200m of dwellings and one quickly realizes this could be potential for disaster. Whilst health fears have been expressed concerning the higher frequency millimetre bands, (targets will be skin and eyes), it may be the lower sub-GHz bands that are the most troubling. These are the ones reserved to provide ‘deep coverage’ (all areas). At the lower frequency of 700 MHz, microwaves are more penetrating and will pass easily through clothing and deposit energy in tissues. Much, of course, depends on the power transmitted by base stations in the new 5G networks. So what about trends? A recent meta-analysis revealed lowering of sperm counts and sperm quality in many countries around the world, with declines of 40-50% in all advanced technology countries (Levine et al., 2017). As for all correlations, one cannot conclude causation, but given the biology, pulsed microwaves may be playing a part. Other trends might be the gradual rise in autistic spectrum disorders. Despite the biology, it will be extremely difficult to pin this rise on exposing children to pulsed microwaves alone. For this reason, once might suggest that exposing the population to pulsed microwaves is equivalent to the ‘perfect crime’. Unless conducted on an artificial island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, ‘clinical trials’ to investigate a cause-effect relationship will never be possible. We’re ‘flying blind’

  3. Mr Warman said: “Our multi-million pound investment means rural Coverdale will soon enjoy lightning fast internet access.” So immensely sad that Warman is so unaware that a wired connection is significantly faster than a wired one and tht despite wireless being cheaper in the short-term, so unaware of the ensuing cost, not just financial. On his head be the damage that will unfold.

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