PICKERSLEIGH Road protesters want to know where are all the trees that are supposed to camouflage a proposed 40ft high mast.

Residents living near the site say claims by mobile phone company Hutchison 3G that the mast will be disguised by mature trees nearby is nonsense.

"Where are the trees they are talking about? There's a broad green sward but no trees here. The mast won't be disguised at all," said Hilda Forsyth, who is determined, along with neighbours, to fight the phone company's proposal.

"We are not having the mast here and that's final. It's too tall, too near our houses. Why should we have to look at it and live right next to it?" said Mrs Forsyth.

She said she and other residents had concerns about the safety of the mast.

"A friend living near a phone mast in Scotland died from cancer. No one really knows what the risks are. I know I don't want to sleep with a mast less than 50 yards from my bedroom window," said Mrs Forsyth.

Signatures for a petition against the mast are already being collected and angry residents have put up banners protesting against the mast in their gardens.

A planning application for the mast, described as a slimline monopole structure painted green, has been made to Malvern Hills District Council.

Originally the company wanted the mast on land near Bicknells garage but this fell through.

Alternative sites considered by Hutchison 3G include the council's former depot site, where the new health centre is being built.

Hutchison 3G spokesman Mike Dobson said the company recognised peoples' right to protest and it was important the planning process was followed comprehensively, in order that their objections could be considered appropriately.

"I'd like to reassure people the equipment is low-powered and well within international guidelines as recognised by the World Health Organisation," he said.