Give us green rooftops not phone masts
10 January, 2020
Cartoon by John Sadler www.johnsadlerillustration.com
• JUDGING from your Letters pages, I am not alone in my concern about the effects phone masts can have on the health of those who live nearby.
And now a change in the law gives phone mast operators the right to put their equipment on any roof, whether the property owner likes it or not, unless the owner can prove their intention to redevelop the rooftop of a building.
This begs the question: why is Camden not developing the rooftops it owns in order to prevent the installation of mobile phone masts?
Camden has long claimed to be an administration that takes the threat from climate change extremely seriously. What better way to do this than by replacing its digital rooftops programme with a green rooftops programme instead?
A green roof is heavier and, as such, would require more structural support to be implemented. Although some rooftops will need to be retrofitted to cope with the increase in load, fortunately flat roofs are often able to handle this capacity. (Residential buildings owned by Camden often have flat roofs).
One of the biggest problems facing a typical roof is poor insulation, leading to substantial heat loss in winter and sweltering conditions over the summer months. This all changes with the aid of a green roof.
A green roof helps improve the overall air quality by reducing sulphur dioxide and nitrous acid. This will help reduce the number of fatalities from air pollution, which currently stands at 24,000 deaths per year in the UK.
Solar panels traditionally function better in a cooler temperature, so a green roof can provide this. Thus solar panels and green roofs have many environmental benefits that can help the other operate better than average.
Using solar panels will undoubtedly help the climate by reducing our crippling reliance on fossil fuels, and this is substantial because 44 per cent of CO2 emissions are released from buildings.
In conclusion, the council faces a stark choice. It can keep ignoring all the evidence that points to severe doubts over the safety of mobile phone masts, or it can do right by the people of Camden and scrap its digital rooftops programme in favour
of a green rooftops programme, which will prove that it really is serious about tackling the climate emergency. Let us see them end their public silence and make clear where they stand in the Letters pages of the CNJ.