Totnes is leading the way in declaring a moratorium on the rollout of the controversial 5G technology in Totnes.

Activists across the globe fear radiation from 5G wireless services could be dangerous to public health, including 245 scientists and doctors from more than 40 countries, who have called for the EU to halt its rollout.

Towns including Glastonbury and Frome in Somerset have opposed the introduction of the fifth generation technology until further information has been obtained about the health effects on its residents, but Totnes is believed to be the first to declare an outright ban on 5G.

5G is set to be a game-changer: its lightning-fast internet speeds ability to power driverless cars and remote robot-assisted surgeries, plus an ever-growing ‘internet of things’, are all set to lead humanity into a future resembling the most fantastical sci-fi movie.

Critics, though, believe 5G will increase exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields, which they say are harmful to humans and the environment.

More than 800 Totnes residents signed a petition calling on councillors to stop 5G coming to town until safety tests have been carried out.

In response, the council has declared a moratorium on the introduction of the new technology in the town. In reality, the moratorium will do nothing to stop the technology being imposed on Totnes, because if tech giants ‘self-certify’, planners will be barred legally from rejecting the technology on health grounds.

South Hams District Council, as the local planning authority, has warned that, under planning law, the district council’s development management committee will be forced to ignore any local council moratorium.

Town mayor Jacqi Hodgson ackowledged this fact, saying: “I have to say I don’t think we’ll get anywhere with it, but the more councils that do this the more pressure it brings to bear.

“The Government has now said it will make it easier for 5G masts to be installed, which is very worrying. We think there are significant health issues involved. We’re looking at a massive rollout of 5G. which has much higher radiation levels than 3G and 4G. It will power smart meters, driverless cars and highly sophisticated technology. Our concern is that there will be a much higher blanket of radiation all around us. There hasn’t really been any assessment carried out to prove it’s safe to health and the environment. As a council, we have a duty of care to our residents and we want to make sure they’re safe. As a town council, we have very limited powers, but we can at least stand up for our community and say what we believe.”

Leading Totnes anti-5G campaigner John Kitson welcomed the move, saying: “Totnes has overtaken Glastonbury and Frome in going ahead to call a moratorium. “It’s probably one of the strongest stances against 5G in the country.”

Totnes resident Rosi Gladwell, who believes she is sensitive to electromagnetic fields, said:

“We’re very excited this has come about. It’s brave of councillors to be so authentic and caring for Totnes. There has been a soaring increase in neurological diseases in the past five years and many scientists say cases of autism and dementia are due to electromagnetic radio frequencies. Anything the town council can do to protect us from this is wonderful.”

Glastonbury mayor Denise Michell said her council has banned the rollout of 5G using the precautionary principle.

This means the council will investigate health and environmental concerns before making a final decision on whether it wants to ban 5G or not. She welcomes Totnes Town Council’s move.

“I fear a dystopian future”, she said, “but if we all stick together, somebody might listen.”

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