NEWPORT East assembly member John Griffiths is calling on Newport council to think again about its decision to allow mobile phone masts to be built on council land.

Mr Griffiths said he had been contacted by many people over the years opposing proposals to put masts near their homes, because of worries over their safety and said numerous questions had been raised about health risks regarding masts.

He said up to now the council had adopted a safety first approach and believed this, and not its current policy, was the right approach to take.

He said unless it could clearly be demonstrated that there was no danger to local communities, masts should not be allowed to be built.

“The council should think again and stick with previous policy which properly recognised safety concerns," he said.

Newport council’s old policy prohibited the siting of masts on council-owned unless it could be proved the general public was not at risk.

But following an examination into the issue, cabinet members agreed in February, that in the absence of any proven health risks a more flexible policy should be adopted.

The new policy includes a presumption that masts will not be located on school or nursery sites and new leases will include a clause, which says they can be terminated if there is evidence of nuisance or public health problems.

The policy will be reviewed every three years, or sooner if it there is significant evidence of likely health risks or a change in national planning guidance.

Applications for council sites will be considered on an individual basis.

A spokeswoman for Newport council said: “This flexible policy also gives the council greater control over the location of sites through the planning process, allowing operators to use more suitable council-owned sites as opposed to more sensitive private sites.”