PLANS to erect new phone masts within yards of two Redbridge primary schools have been denounced as 'reckless' by worried families.

Relatives of children attending St Joseph's Convent School for Girls in Cambridge Park, Wanstead and Oakdale Infant's School in South Woodford have vowed to oppose proposals submitted by two telecommunications firms to install devices nearby.

Their fears were raised after Orange asked permission to position a mast in Cambridge Park, Wanstead, within yards of St Joseph's, and T-Mobile requested the right to place one in Primrose Road, South Woodford - near Oakdale - as part of the annual borough-wide 'roll-out' plans received by the council.

Grandmother-of-four, Jeannette Keane, of St Barnabas Road, Woodford Green, whose granddaughter attends Oakdale Junior School, said the plan could put children's health at risk.

She said: "These things are all about money. You can't put a price on a child's health.

"There is a problem with reception round here, but I'd personally sooner see the kids stay healthy than see this built.

"The council has got to put children's health first and turn this down."

Father-of-two David Williams, of Charteris Road, Woodford Green - whose children used to attend the school - said: "This thing should be positioned as far away as possible.

"The problem is you have to have them somewhere but where do you put them?

"They would be better located on a brown field site."

The plans will be discussed by members of Area One committee at its next meeting at Wanstead Library in Spratt Hall Road, on Monday (January 25).

An Orange spokeswoman said: "Orange previously identified a requirement for additional coverage in the area and located a suitable location for a site at Cambridge Park.

"We are currently undertaking a review on all of our sites and this review has meant that we may not be progressing with this site; therefore we do not have any plans to submit a planning application at this moment in time.

"With regards to Health and Safety concerns, extensive research has been carried out on radio waves over the past 40 years, and this research has resulted in international guidelines being created.

"These guidelines protect everyone in the population, including children and the elderly, and all Orange sites operate well within these guidelines.

"Although we are not planning to build this site, if our plans changed, we believe that the site would not cause any adverse health effects to local residents or pupils of St Joseph’s Convent."

A spokesman for T-Mobile said that any new device installed in Primrose Road would not alter the visual look of the phone mast and would not increase the levels of radio waves emited from the site.

He said T-Mobile adheres to strict national and international guidelines regarding radio wave emmissions.