Plans for two cellphone towers in Oamaru have been confirmed by 2degrees.
The first is location of equipment on an existing Vodafone site, south of the town on Bushy Beach Rd. The second will be on a light pole replacement site at the corner of Thames St and Dee St.
A 2degrees Mobile Ltd spokesperson told the Oamaru Mail the sites were chosen because they provided good quality coverage to the central and wider Oamaru area.
Currently, the closest 2degrees-owned site is in Timaru. A site in Oamaru is provided by another mobile provider on 2degrees' behalf.
The Waitaki District Council had assessed a proposal by 2degrees, which determined the effects to be "less than minor", the spokesperson said.
The resource consent for the site was process assessed and deemed as non-notified by the council, which meant no consultation was required.
However, letters were sent to people in the direct vicinity of the sites to inform them of the plans.
"One of the sites is a replacement of an existing light pole and the second is sharing existing infrastructure, which helps reduce visual impact," the spokesperson said.
Two towers in Oamaru were deemed necessary in order to provide 2degrees customers with better coverage.
The spokesperson said there was no evidence the towers would pose any significant health and safety risks.
"Our equipment is safe and fully complies with the stringent standards set by the New Zealand Ministry of Health. The ministry specifies the safe radio frequency emissions and exposure standards within which telecommunications companies must operate. These standards are in line with the recommendations made by international authorities including the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection and the World Health Organisation.
"The RF levels around our mobile phone sites are usually between 1-3 per cent of the New Zealand Standard. That is many times lower than common household items like cordless phones.
"Scientists have been studying the effects of radio waves on people for many years. Thousands of independent studies have been conducted into the effect of radio waves from mobile phones and towers. The consensus of international scientific opinion is that mobile phone sites are safe, if operated within approved safety standards."
2degrees said National Radiation Laboratory evidence showed no health risk associated with mobile phone sites operated within the guidelines recommended by the international commission.
A concern about base station and local wireless network antennas relates to the possible long-term health effects whole-body exposure to the RF signals may have.
However, the World Health Organisation has stated: "From all evidence accumulated so far, no adverse short or long-term health effects have been shown to occur from the RF signals produced by base stations."
To date, the only health effect from RF fields identified in scientific reviews has been related to an increase in body temperature from exposure at very high field intensity found only in certain industrial facilities, such as RF heaters.
The levels of RF exposure from base stations and wireless networks are believed to be so low that the temperature increases are insignificant and do not affect human health.
For more information go to www.nrl.moh.govt.nz.