Britain's biggest mobile phone operators have hit back at Birmingham City Council's attempt to block the siting of telecommunications masts close to schools and hospitals.
The Mobile Phone Operators Association accused the council of behaving " disingenuously" by suggesting that the companies were not opposed to a ban on masts at sensitive sites.
The council's stance, which was approved by the cabinet yesterday, conflicts with a Government ruling that there are no health risks attached to mobile phone masts and that there should be no no-go areas for antennae.
Norman Gillan, a spokesman for the MOA, said his organisation was not properly consulted by the council, which could as a result be in breach of its statutory duties.
Mr Gillan, representing Hutchison 3G UK, O2, Orange, T-mobile and Vodafone, said the council's stance on phone masts contradicted advice laid down by the Secretary of State and was opposed by the MOA.
"There is clear guidance on issues surrounding health and the council have decided to disregard this advice," Mr Gillan said.
The MOA is particularly concerned at remarks by Mick Wilkes, chairman of the council's main scrutiny committee, who said it was significant that the mobile phone companies had not lodged an official objection to the sensitive sites policy.
Coun Wilkes (Lib Dem Hall Green) said the operators had expressed support for sensitive sites policy when it was discussed at a scrutiny hearing. They appeared to have changed their minds since then.
"I wonder if they have been given a nudge by someone?," he added.
Coun Wilkes said: "What we are trying to achieve is a settlement in the best interests of all concerned including the phone companies and the citizens of Birmingham."
The council faces a wait now to hear whether the Government will intervene, forcing it to scrap the policy and allow phone masts to be sited near to schools and hospitals.