The continuing debate over possible health risks linked to mobile phone use looks set to reach a climax. The government yesterday announced funding for a £7m research programme into the possible health risks of mobile phones.

A government report, published in May, found no irrefutable evidence linking mobile phones with health problems. But its author, scientist Sir William Stewart, commented that he "would not let his grandchild use one" and this urged the government to fund a further study.

"The abundance of contradictory evidence is confusing for phone users and it is now time to come up with some decisive evidence over the risks," said a Department of Health spokesman. Around 25 million people in the UK currently use a mobile phone.

In addition to the new research programme, leaflets warning users of possible health risks and advising them to keep mobile phone calls short will be delivered to homes and included in the packaging of new handsets.

Although the evidence is not conclusive, some scientists believe children are most at risk from the potential danger of mobile phone-related illnesses.

"It is essential that we provide people with the evidence on this issue to allow them to make an informed choice," the government's chief medical officer Liam Donaldson said in a press statement.