A 5G mast will be built at a hotel in the town centre, after plans were approved last week by the council.

The mast will be built at Novotel, Reading Centre, on 25B Friar Street.

The plans from Cornerstone and Vodafone will see six pole-mounted antennas installed, which would be 42.3 metres above ground level, along with three transmission dishes, but would not reach higher than the building’s current highest point.

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Cornerstone says the 5G mast will drive improved productivity and efficiency and will be in compliance with International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines.

No concerns were officially raised about health risks, with no comments from members of the public in the planning portal, although one reader commented on the Reading Chronicle website: “I wouldn’t want to work there with those powerful constantly switched on 5G signals blasting everywhere.”

National planning policy states councils must determine applications on planning grounds and, in judging the health risks, should only ensure the proposal meets ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure.

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Therefore, case officer David Brett said it would not be appropriate for the council to substitute its own “opinion” on health issues.

Additionally, he said 11 years of research into mobile phones and health issues by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme has found no association between exposure to mobile phones, or base stations, and an increased risk of developing cancer.

He concluded: “On balance, the suggested health risks associated with this development and the fear and/or stress associated with these perceived risks are outweighed by the reassurances provided by the technical information submitted by the applicant.

“As such, the possible health implications of such apparatus are not considered sufficient reason to refuse prior approval.”