Dawn Butler MP and Ann-Marie Cousins
Ann-Marie Cousins (right) with Labour MP Dawn Butler (photo: twitter.com/AMCo1)

Greenwich Council has disowned a Labour councillor’s call to halt the rollout of 5G telecom networks based on discredited theories that they are harmful.

Ann-Marie Cousins, who represents Abbey Wood, tweeted a link to a 38 Degrees petition last Thursday calling for the UK government and local councils to “to cease and desist from any rollout of 5G until independent peer reviewed research proves that 5G is safe for humans, plants and animals without any adverse effects”.

Screenshot of tweet: "Please sign and RT this petition, it means a lot to me"
The tweet was sent from Cousins’ account last Thursday

The international body which monitors limits on exposure radiation declared 5G was safe last month, updating its guidelines for the first time in 20 years to put concerns at ease.

But the eight-month old petition has gained traction after a wave of false theories surrounding 5G and the coronavirus outbreak. At least 20 phone masts have been set alight or otherwise vandalised in the UK since last Thursday, the day Cousins sent the tweet that said the petition “means a lot to me”. The fires led to an appeal from the UK’s mobile phone networks for people to challenge misinformation about 5G networks.

A Greenwich Council spokesperson told 853 that everybody at the town hall was “working flat out to support residents and colleagues in the face of this unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has gripped the world”. She added: “Conspiracy theories are unhelpful and damaging at this difficult time and we do not endorse any school of thought linking 5G and Covid-19 coronavirus.”

The council has actually promoted 5G use in the past, with its Digital Greenwich spin-off company working with a team from the University of Surrey on a research project to see how the technology can make cities more efficient. Two years ago, O2 tested the technology inside the former Millennium Dome.

Cousins, who also sits as a magistrate, has not responded to a request from 853 for comment. Last August this website revealed that Cousins has sat on cases involving Greenwich Council without disclosing her conflict of interest.

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