An 'alternative' school in Norwich has been criticised after opposing plans for a 5G mast using conspiracy theories about supposed negative impacts on health.

The Norwich Steiner School, in Lakenham, made a series of unsubstantiated claims as part of its objection letter to a now-withdrawn application for a 65ft pole off nearby Hall Road, near St Mark's Church.

The private school encourages learning through play, imagination and creativity, with smaller classes than mainstream education settings, less structure and even its own labyrinth.

Norwich Evening News: The Norwich Steiner School in Hospital LaneThe Norwich Steiner School in Hospital Lane (Image: Newsquest)

The comments, sent to Norwich City Council, claimed the school faced a potential exodus of both pupils and staff as a result of fears over radiation exposure. 

This is despite there being a common consensus among scientists and groups such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) that there are no known health risks associated with 5G mobile internet signals, which is the approach used in UK government guidance.

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"There is a considerable body of evidence that radiation may cause serious harm to health, particularly in children," the objection stated. 

Norwich Evening News: A 5G mastA 5G mast (Image: Newsquest)

"Valued staff have already informed me they will not feel safe to continue working for the school and will need to resign.

"For the same reason, families have already contacted the school to say they will also, regrettably, withdraw their children if the mast goes ahead.

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"We consider that from the evidence available, 5G may present a serious risk to health."

The school also raised concerns about a supposed heightened risk of exposure due to the amount of time students and staff spend outdoors.

Norwich Evening News: The proposed site for the controversial mastThe proposed site for the controversial mast (Image: Google Maps)

The frequency range of the 5G signals being emitted by these masts is well below those considered harmful by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). 

And the WHO says electromagnetic frequency exposures below the limits recommended in the ICNIRP guidelines do not appear to have any known consequences on health.

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"The school shouldn't be saying it's a danger to children," said Keith Driver, city councillor for the Lakenham ward.

"Of course, I can understand why there might be concerns - just in case.

Norwich Evening News: Cllr Keith DriverCllr Keith Driver (Image: Denise Bradley)

"But nothing has been proven and the science says it's safe.

"That's what I believe.

"I'm supportive of improving Norwich's 5G capabilities as this will be vital for children in the future."

Norwich Steiner School was approached for comment multiple times.

What is a Steiner School?

Also known as a Steiner Walford school, Steiner schools follow an independent curriculum which emphasises preserving childhood.

The first was founded in 1919 by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner and, as of 2023, there are currently just 35 in the UK.

The aim is to provide an "unhurried and creative learning environment" by putting a greater emphasis on activities such as drawing, painting, music, drama and poetry.

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The Norwich Steiner School is an all-through school that was founded in 1998 by a group of parents and was initially a toddler group in the front room of one of its founders.

In January 2003 it became a kindergarten based in St Augustine's Church before it expanded to cater for children aged seven and up.

It moved into its current premises in September 2008.