School 'microwave' internet signal concern

SCHOOL children could be in danger from 'microwave' signals from a wireless internet system, say Lewes Town Council members.

East Sussex County Council has applied for planning permission to install an antenna at Southover C of E Primary School which would receive signals from County Hall to speed up the school's internet connection.

The Next Generation Network (NGN) has been set up in all schools and is expected to go live in the spring, following a safety test at each site.

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The council said the system exceeded all safety requirements and was far less of a risk than mobile phone or wi-fi networks.

But on Tuesday Lewes Town Council's planning committee expressed doubts about putting an antenna in Southover School.

Cllr Ruth O'Keeffe said: 'This is a real concern.

'The system will connect the school with County Hall to speed up its internet connection.

'It's basically a microwave which goes to and from County Hall from the school.

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'I think they should adopt the precautionary principle because with many new technologies we do not always know their effects and history is littered with examples of things which were supposed to be safe but turned out to be very dangerous.

'I don't think it's a good idea to put this on the side of a school and I never feel it's a good idea to experiment with children and that's what we are doing.'

Cllr Susan Murray also agreed that more research should be carried out before it is used in schools.

Noel Fadden, headteacher of Southover C of E Primary School, said: 'I am confident in East Sussex County Council's advice.

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'Myself, staff and parents care immensely about the children's safety and I trust the council who have done the research.

'Parents were informed in November and a council spokesman has said the technology meets all UK, European and intenational health and safety requirements.

'People are always very concerned about mobile phone networks but this is not blanket coverage, this is a point-to-point network.'

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