ANGRY parents have accused a telecoms giant of putting profits over their children's health by installing a new phone mast just yards from a school.

Critics fear the lives of youngsters at Aldersbrook Primary School, in Harpenden Road, could be put at risk when Orange builds the powerful electronic equipment at the junction of Aldersbrook Road and Dover Road.

Mum-of-four Elizabeth Canavan, of nearby Merlin Road, has three children attending the school and told the Guardian she fears for the safety of young children as the transmitter would be the fourth within 200m of classrooms.

She added: “I’m dismayed as they were turned down by the planning inspectorate for a mast nearby but got their proposal accepted just down the road a bit. We are worried that it might have a detrimental effect of the health of our children.

“I think there’s probably a more laissez-faire attitude with the current economic climate at the moment but in the long term they should be exercising more caution as there’s a cluster developing around the school.

“You can’t challenge it as even if you only take it to the preliminary stages it costs thousands of pounds. If you keep going to the High Court then you can lose your house so normal people are really priced out of objecting.”

Carol Bowe, of Redbridge Lane West, is a learning support assistant at the school and said that many parents are extremely worried.

She said: “We have had lots of demonstrations about it in the past and had ‘no mast’ spent out with people on Wanstead Flats.

“A lot of parents have concerns as there are over 500 kids at the school and although there’s bad reception in the area I think that most residents would rather have bad reception than a mast.”

Previous plans to install a Vodaphone mast were defeated in late 2007 but three T-Mobile masts are currently situated surrounding school grounds taking the total number of transmitters within Wanstead and Woodford to 38.

A spokeswoman for Orange said while they do appreciate there are some concerns about mobile phone masts, people can be very reassured by the science, and although permission has already been granted no construction date has yet been confirmed.

She added: “Scientific review after scientific review carried out around the world has not found adverse health effects caused by mobile phone base stations operating within the international health and safety guidelines.

“Mobile phones have become part of our everyday lives and we need to accept that there is an infrastructure required to support the increasing demands on the network.

“These masts operate at a very low power and the signal therefore does not travel very far, meaning that they need to be placed in and around where people are actually using the services and government guidance does not recommend siting away from residential areas or schools as there is no scientific basis for doing so.”