THE Yorkshire Dales National Park is calling for more talks with mobile phone companies over a controversial application to build a hi-tech phone mast in the centre of Hawes.
The application, by Orange, has been criticised by Hawes residents worried about unconfirmed reports alleging that radiation from such masts can pose a serious threat.
In the past, park planners have given permission for masts on open fellsides if they could persuade several operators to use the same installation, thus reducing visual clutter.
But the Hawes application involves a new type of equipment known as a "microcell," designed to handle a large number of calls. Now, planners are hoping to arrange meetings with a range of operators to discover just what advantages or disadvantages such mircrocells offer.
Says Peter Watson, head of planning "The use of microcells in the national park is a new phenomena. They are quiet different to the fell-side masts we have seen to date, where we have pursued a policy of mast sharing by the phone operators.
"By getting the phone companies together, we will aim to get a better understanding of their plans for these microcells. And, if it is possible, see if we can get them to pursue mast-sharing options for this type of mast and limit any further sporadic development of microcells in the Hawes town area."