Attempts to put a mobile phone mast within close proximity to three schools in Abbots Langley have again been blocked.

Mobile phone operators O2 and Vodafone appealed to the Secretary of State for the Environment to overturn Three Rivers District Council ’s planning refusal for a 12.5m pole with six antennas on Gallows Hill Lane.

The refusal was made on the grounds that the mast would harm the character and appearance of the area with Martin Whitehead, the planning inspector, concluding arguements about the proximity to schools were invalid.

Councillor Sara Bedford , who spoke out against the mast, welcomed the decision.

She said: "It is very good news. I was a little surprised they didn’t give more credence to it being near schools but it was quite important they are looking at visual elements too."

Three Rivers must pay some of the mobile phone companies’ costs after Mr Whitehead threw out their objections relating to schools.