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This is the text of a letter sent to the editor of the Golden Plains Miner, the local newspaper, on 5 August 2010. The newspaper chose not to print it; it seems that they only publish letters opposing the phone tower. Draw what conclusions you like about their objectivity.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt about the Dereel mobile phone tower

I take exception to claims that Wendy McClelland makes in her letter in the 5 August edition of "The Miner". They are not only alarmist, unsubstantiated and without factual foundation, but in two easily verified points completely wrong. Wendy must have been aware of this when she made them.

One is that the planned tower in Corindhap will cover Dereel. It will not. To quote the project leader, "We believe you may get some outdoor coverage at best due to the distance and terrain". This is no better than what we have at the moment.

The other is that "nano fibre" optical connections will be installed in Dereel. The NBN optical fibre rollout does not include Dereel, as the NBN will confirm. The fact that Wendy makes both these claims makes me doubt the honesty of her actions.

Apart from that, the letter is a paraphrase of the web page site, presumably the one she implied in her letter. This site claims to have “quality information and knowledge”. In fact, it contains mainly unsubstantiated, one-sided claims, and is full of factual errors. I have posted a detailed response at For example: she claims that microwaves are different from radio waves; in fact, microwaves are a kind of radio wave, and they are used for TV broadcasting, which emits thousands of times more power than mobile phone towers.

The most important issue, though: if mobile phones are a health concern, the highest level of exposure comes not from the towers, which are a relatively long way away, but from the phones themselves, which are right up against the user's ear. The further the tower, the more power the phone has to emit to maintain the connection. So by not having a local tower, all users--including Wendy McClelland, who has told me that she uses mobile phones on occasion--are exposed to more radiation than would otherwise be the case.

I fully sympathize with Wendy's fears. But I don't believe it does anybody any good to publish claims that are demonstrably untrue. I encourage anybody with an interest in the matter to read and and to draw your own conclusions.

Greg Lehey

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