A COUNCIL inquiry into the impact of mobile phone masts heard there was no health risk to residents who live close to antenna.
Two witnesses from the mobile phone industry gave evidence to a Hillingdon Council environmental services committee, which has decided to investigate masts over the next six months.
Councillors also asked why it was necessary for large 'unsightly' cabinets to be installed at the foot of masts, and whether it was possible to modify their design to make them more appealing.
Christine Jude, media and communications manager at Mobile Operations Association, told the meeting on October 6: "We live in a rich radiowave environment.
"We have televisions, radios, and the biggest emitter of all is the sun. If you are exposed to a very high dose you will get skin burns. But that would only happen if you climbed to the top of an antenna.
"You wouldn't climb the Crystal Palace radio transmitter if you knew what's good for you. [Watchdog] Ofcom has measured radiowaves from various sites since 2000 and the biggest amount they found was 279 times below the exposure guidelines."
William Comery, community affairs manager at mobile provider 3, added: "They cannot even find enough zeros to show how far below the guidelines these masts are. We have been trying to explain this for a long time."
Committee member, Councillor David Yarrow (Con), said he was satisfied masts posed no health risk. "You'd have to climb to the top of these masts and stand right in front of them for it to be dangerous.
"We need to get away from the idea they are harmful."
But the committee was less satisfied with the response from Mr Comery regarding mast cabinets. He told them: "If each site is requiring a different size and shape of box, that pushes the cost up enormously.
"We are trying to keep the cost of using services down."
Mr Comery said they could be painted different colours, and Miss Jude said there were many examples of the masts themselves being disguised as trees or even within church buildings.
Committee chairman Michael Markham (Con) asked: "Why can't we have a catalogue of different designs and then we can pick one that is suitable for the site?"
Mr Comery admitted it could be done.