ANGRY neighbours have vowed to fight communication giant Vodafone in what is shaping up to be the battle of the Balston Road phone mast.

Shocked Poole mum Melanie Brown is leading the charge after learning the mast could be sited just five metres from her three-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

“I am very concerned that in ten years time we will begin to see the effects of these masts on our children,” she said.

“The research into electromagnetic fields is still ongoing. The European Parliament says these masts should be set a specific distance from schools – we simply do not know the health implications.”

Melanie and husband Alan set up a petition calling for Poole planning chiefs to refuse permission – within days it was signed by 200 people.

Independent experts have raised concerns about children and mobile phone radiation, arguing base stations should not be sited near schools.

The Stewart Report, published in 2000, found a one-year-old child could absorb double the energy of an adult.

But, because no links have been proved between cancer and mobile phone radiation, planning regulations state residents cannot object on health grounds.

So neighbours are demanding planners give the thumbs-down because there are more suitable sites elsewhere in the borough.

There are no schools in the immediate vicinity of the proposed Balston Road/Ringwood Road site, in Poole, where Vodafone want to replace a10m lamppost with a similar sized mobile phone mast.

Mrs Brown, who has a background working with people affected by noise and chemical exposure, said: “While I do understand that the subject is emotive, I am not a scaremonger and I want to make it clear that I have very carefully considered and investigated the issue.”

Vodafone spokesman Ilana Clark said: “All of our base stations are designed, built and operated in accordance with stringent international guidelines laid down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.”

Poole councillor Mike Pummer has ‘red-carded’ the proposal, meaning it will go before the borough’s planning committee in weeks.

Should the committee refuse to endorse Vodafone’s plans, the company does have the right of appeal.