Update on proposed mobile phone mast

The following message comes from Father Mark at Nunraw, explaining the Community’s decision regarding the proposed positioning of a mobile phone mast near the Abbey.


Following our meeting on the 28th July with the group involved in setting up the proposed Mobile Phone Mast next to the abbey, I suggested sending you this explanation of the recent decision by the Nunraw Community turning down the proposed site.

Initially, as you know, I was very keen to co-operate in agreeing to have the Mast on the abbey grounds as that would have provided the required reception for mobile phones in Garvald. As time went on, however, and after the number of tests done on the proposed site, it became clear that the necessity by the Mast Operator to increase the height of the proposed Mast up to 25 meters was going to dwarf the abbey.

In the last discussion we had in our Community Chapter meetings, it was obvious that the growing consensus was that the size of the Mast was going to affect seriously the image and the spirit of our community. Visually it would be giving a counter sign to what we stood for. Most of our visitors and guests come to have peace and silence but they would find this huge Mast towering over the abbey

Reference was made to our Constitutions and Statutes where it states that ‘The monastery should be conspicuous for its simple and pleasant appearance.’ (ST 27.A) and ‘It should be borne in mind that a wholesome and balanced life is nurtured by an environment of harmony and beauty. (‘Ratio Instit. 49)

Some time before the meeting on the 28th July, the team working on the proposed Mast were informed that we now found the site unacceptable because of the Mast’s increased height and visual impact. We have suggested various other locations outwith the abbey enclosure but within the land that belongs to the abbey if that was possible.

Our community realise that an alternative site would probably mean the coverage area provided by a Mast sited elsewhere on our land would not be as extensive as the one next to the abbey, but that the village itself would still benefit from having reception.

We were told during the meeting of the group on the 28th that there wasn’t now enough time to research other possible sites given the tight timescale set by the UK Government of March 2016 to have the site constructed and operational. I am sorry to find that there does not seem any likelihood of mobile reception for the village in the foreseeable future unless the UK government extends the deadline they have set for the completion of this work which would allow the Operator more time to investigate other locations.

If it was at all possible to help resolve that problem for the village by siting another Mast elsewhere on the abbey property, the Nunraw community would be happy to consider this.

Yours sincerely
on behalf of the Nunraw Community,

Fr Mark Caira