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Kristin Andrew - 14 October 2014

Kristin Andrew made the following comments in Non Agenda Public forum at the Ordinary Council Meeting on 14 October 2014.

Good afternoon Mayor, councillors, administrators and people in the gallery. My name is Kristin Andrew. I am here to outline objections to Development Application 106-15, a 40m telecommunications monopole in North Batemans Bay, on behalf of residents closest to the proposed site.

Our concerns relate to impacts of this monopole on our quality of life, with the visual marring of our bush surroundings, the very reason we choose to live where we do, as well as the limitations on amenity of private land immediately adjacent to the site, the reduced value of potentially 64 surrounding properties as indicated by a valuation obtained by one resident, and the physiological stress of continuous exposure to radio frequency radiation. Some of these home owners, at least one less than 500m from the site, received no notification of the proposal. The notification received by some of us contained inaccurate information about the distance to the closest dwelling.

These monopoles are going up fast throughout the South coast, and community groups elsewhere, including in Narooma, Tilba and Bermagui are also objecting to those proposed near homes.  Long Beach residents were also opposed. We are not against the NBN, and would like to express support for the far superior and zero EMR pollution fixed optic fibre network. It is unfortunate that Batemans Bay has been allocated this second-rate technology that will stunt our capacity for community growth and development due to the limitations of bandwidth and wireless data transfer. 

Representatives of NBN Co have stated that the tower will emit the same kind of radio frequencies as AM/FM radio and television signals, and these at levels well below safety guidelines. So do we have reason to be concerned about our health? The safety standards are of minimal use if we do not have the good sense and freedom to adjust our behaviour by controlling the number of simultaneous sources of radio-frequency radiation and limiting the duration of our exposure, as we do for all other frequencies with which we are familiar.

All electromagnetic radiation is the same type of energy wave, differing only in the length of the wave and its height, which indicates the amount of energy it carries. Our categories for different frequencies are invented, based on our experience with them. We might think that some are safe and some are dangerous but with a little reflection we can see that all electromagnetic radiation is harmful if either the energy level or the duration of exposure is left unchecked.  

We take extreme care to limit our exposure to high frequency gamma and X-rays with shielding, intensity regulations and hazard signs, and GPs try to keep track of the number of scans you've had to protect you from the cumulative effects.

We monitor the UV index, ultraviolet frequencies, so that we can adjust our time spent in the sun to prevent burning and skin cancer. How long can you spend in the sun before you burn; 20 minutes, an hour?

Continuous visible frequency or light exposure is stressful on the body and we also know not to stare directly at the sun.

Below this is infrared or thermal radiation, radio frequencies (which include microwaves) and the extremely low frequencies generated by anything electrical. Global and national safety levels for telecommunications set limits for energy outputs for single devices to prevent short-term thermal damage from these frequencies. They do not set maximum durations of exposure to prevent cumulative effects. Nor do they set limits for simultaneous exposure from multiple devices, and there are more and more of them around us. We must do these things ourselves.

This tower will emit higher frequencies than AM/FM radio or television signals, closer to wireless routers, microwave ovens and some mobile phone networks. But we don't have to use these devices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year for years of our lives. We are already exposed to AM/FM radio and television signals, wireless gateways in shops, in the work place and many people's homes, to mobile phones and towers. This tower and those like it will add to that, and we will not have the power to turn it off or seek shade. Cancer rates are not decreasing, they're on the rise, as are many non-infectious diseases with ambiguous causes.

We must use our own sense and judgement. Nothing should be transmitting EMR continuously near where people live and sleep.

Thank you.