Permission granted for controversial 5G mast in Coverdale

The mast will be erected in West Scrafton in Coverdale. Photo: Hugh Chevallier/

Planning permission has been granted for a 5G mast in Coverdale despite opposition from some local residents.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee unanimously approved the installation of a 17m wooden utility pole with mobile communications antenna at West Scrafton in Coverdale.

The decision follows months of public meetings and debate across the national park over the health and environmental impact of Mobile Access North Yorkshire’s initiative to provide 4G and 5G mobile phone and broadband coverage to remote rural areas in the county.

The project is also part of the wider Government-funded Rural Connected Communities programme.

The project will look at how 4G and 5G technology will benefit rural communities and will specifically targeting areas with limited or no current coverage, ‘not spots’, which include the Coverdale area.

However, scores of objectors said the non-ionising radiation from the masts would be harmful to human health and would affect the park’s landscapes and ecology.

Campaigner Harriet Corner told the meeting the need for the masts had not been demonstrated and some 90 per cent of premises in area already had access to superfast fibre broadband, which was safer and superior in many ways to wireless technology.

She said while the scheme’s organisers had pledged it would not go ahead without the support of the majority of the community, that requirement had not been demonstrated.

The meeting heard while a national debate was continuing over the potential health impacts of 5G masts, the law was clear that planning authorities could not set their own health safeguards and could only consider the masts’ siting and design.

Members were told the applicant had confirmed the development would meet international health standards and not being able to get mobile coverage in the remote area could be a matter of life and death.

The meeting was told how even GPs and schools in the area struggled with the lack of connectivity in the area.

Members heard that students were having to sit in a car at the top of a hill just to take part in a lesson.

Ahead of them committee passing the plan, member Ian McPherson said the debate surrounding the Coverdale masts had been extremely controversial and compared commenting on it to “stepping into the lion’s den”.

He said: “I have always been very wary about mobile phone masts not only because of their impact on the environment, but also because of the possible health problems that they could give rise to, but what we are essentially looking at here is how we most properly address the issue of very clear not-spots in Coverdale.”


  1. Coverdale will regret agreeing to this harmful technology polluting this beautiful area . – there is more action to be taken to stop this wireless 5G rollout – this tech can be brought into the area safely with fibre optic cables.

  2. We should not wait until we have damaged so many species including ourselves before we stop and take stock of what we are doing to ourselves and to our environment.
    If such gigabit-capable networks are not managed with a true understanding of the wealth and breadth of scientific data that is currently published, we will only know its damaging impact many years hence, and then it will be too late, as the damage will then already have been done to us, and subsequent generations and to our delicate ecosystem.
    There is a current lack of understanding in this country of the wealth of scientific data that points to real biological negative effects by EMR, and we need to think about ways to limit that damage to our population and environment.

  3. I understand the appeal of the dazzling new innovations seductively presented in a window-dressing exercise by the Telecoms Industry, suggesting that wireless 5g and all its additional paraphernalia is the only way of gaining a better mobile and internet connection in the rural dales. Wrong on both scores. However, what saddens me most is that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Planning Committee Councillors are not willing to consider the wisdom of adopting the Precautionary Principle in light of the fact that the MANY project is identifiably a 5g test-bed trial – a 2 year experiment, in which we are being treated as guinea pigs without our consent, for a technology that has not itself been tested and proved to be safe. By the time these councillors, who are themselves responsible for our health and well-being, discover this neglect, it will be too late to undo the resulting harm to human, plant and animal life, on which our very existence depends.

  4. Its a tough call for councillors to make a decision on such a contentious. issue. For a councillor, no doubt such is heart felt, driven by what they feel is best for all constituents. This being said, I hope that Coverdale ‘Connect and protect’ feel that all of their concerns and their vision for an alternative plan to ‘connect’ the Dale were heard and considered fairly.

  5. What price democracy??
    If these wooden poles are removed (sawn down!) can the community in Wensleydale be entirely to blame?
    I feel shame and disgust that the objectors, with all their research presented so clearly, have been ignored and their precious time wasted.
    Are we to allow our lives to be so dictated – not by our elected bodies but by a corporate elite with their own (seemingly secret) agenda?

    • Yes, people especially whose lives will be impacted are entitled to have their opinions considered. Existing low level EMR is already demonstrated to be having damaging biological responses so untested frequencies such as 5G, means that we should be invoking the precautionary principle on 5G, and re-evaluating and revising current safety limits, as well as putting a moratorium on the roll out of 5G. Naren et al. (2020) stated that 5G should only be deployed after having completed thorough research and well-designed safety testing, as the EMR exposure levels they see with 2-4G are well over the safe limits set by Building Biology standard, Austrian Medical Association (AMA), and the BioInitiative standards which do take into account non-thermal negative biological EMR effects but have 1000 fold lower limits. This very serious impact on peoples lives which is largely profit driven needs addressing urgently indeed.

  6. Those sensitised to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) know personally the potential price of modern technology in terms of health effects and necessary life changes (such as moving home, changing jobs, or retreating to the woods; living a marginalised existence).

    The insects, animals, and environment know it too; and if we observe them keenly, this is plain enough to see. Alternatively we can look to the large volume of arguable incontrovertible scientific literature demonstrating a whole range of health and environmental effects. (For example: BioInitiative Report “Bioeffects are clearly established and occur at very low levels of exposure…)

    The subject of EMR is a complex and nuanced issue crossing many disciplines and with a long history, which those in power all too often seem to choose to ignore. The precautionary principle and conservation seem to be pushed aside for the sake of furthering business and industry.

    What price are we paying for our technology?
    What price will the future generations pay?
    What are the risks? What are the rewards?
    To what degree are we responsible and to whom are we accountable?

    For those interested in the subject:
    Overpowered – Book by the late Professor Martin Blank.
    Exposed – Book by Bill & Lois Cadwallader.
    Searching for a Golden Cage (2014) – Youtube video.
    Prisons without Bars, Beings of Resonance, and Generation Zapped – documentary films.

    “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

  7. What was it Einstein said…. “If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years left to live.” Sounds so small and insignificant doesn’t it. However if those that gave permission to go ahead with this technology and been fully informed on the dangers of this system and the effect it will have on humanity maybe they would have looked into it a bit deeper and realised the significance of the permission that in their ignorance they have given.

  8. Are you all asleep, who passed this unanimously? You are burying all the telephone wires because they, along with the poles which support them are ‘unsightly’. What justification then for this 17m pole? It just does not make any sense – and when things don’t make sense, we should ‘follow the money’. WHO is making money out of this ludicrous lack of congruence? People elected into postions of responsibility by the people they seem to be putting at risk. SO many studies point to this being dangerous and NOT ONE STUDY shows it to be safe, never mind the ugly ugly. Please can we at least have an open discussion about this before it going through, I urge you to STOP this erection right now and discuss the prs and cons openly.

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