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The precautionary principle is a moral and political principle
Mobile phone radiation and health: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia *text only Mobile phone radiation and health concerns have been raised, especially following the enormous increase in the use of wireless mobile telephony throughout the world (as of August 2005, there were more than 2 billion users world- wide). Mobile phones use electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range, and some believe this may be harmful to human health. These concerns have induced a large body of research (both epidemiological and experimental, in non-human animals as well as in humans). Concerns about effects on health have also been raised regarding other digital wireless systems, such as data communication networks. The World Health Organisation, based upon the consensus view of the scientific and medical communities, states that health effects (e.g. headaches) are very unlikely to be caused by cellular phones or their base stations, and expects to make recommendations about mobile phones in October 2009. However, some national radiation advisory authorities, including those of Austria, France, Germany, and Sweden recommended to their citizens measures to minimise exposure. Examples of the recommendations are: Use hands-free to decrease the radiation to the head. Keep the mobile phone away from the body. Do not telephone in a car without an external antenna. However, the use of "hands-free" was not recommended by the British Consumers' Association in a statement in November 2000 as they believed that exposure was increased. However, measurements for the (then) UK Department of Trade and Industry and others for the French l’Agence française de sécurité sanitaire environnementale showed substantial reductions. In 2005 Professor Lawrie Challis and others said clipping a ferrite bead onto hands-free kits stops the radio waves travelling up the wire and into the head. Contents 3 Occupational health hazards 1 Health hazards of handsets 4 Safety standards and licensing 1.1 Thermal effects 4.1 Evolution of Safety Standards 1.2 Non-thermal effects 4.2 Adequacy of Current Standards 1.2.1 Blood Brain Barrier effects 5 Lawsuits 1.2.2 Electromagnetic hypersensitivity 6 Precautionary principle 1.2.3 Genotoxic effects 7 See also 1.2.4 Mobile phones and cancer 8 References 1.2.5 Sleep and EEG effects 9 External links 2 Health hazards of base stations Health hazards of handsets Calculated specific absorbed radiation (SAR) distribution in an anatomical model of head next to a 125 mW dipole antenna. Peak SAR is 9.5 W/kg over 1 mg. (USAF/AFRL).Part of the radio waves emitted by a mobile telephone handset are absorbed by the human head. The radio waves emitted by a GSM handset, can have a peak power of 2 watts, and a US analogue phone had a maximum transmit power of 3.6 watts. Other digital mobile technologies, such as CDMA and TDMA, use lower output power, typically below 1 watt. The maximum power output from a mobile phone is regulated by the mobile phone standard it is following and by the regulatory agencies in each country. In most systems the cellphone and the base station check reception quality and signal strength and the power level is increased or decreased automatically, within a certain span, to accommodate for different situations such as inside or outside of buildings and vehicles. The rate at which radiation is absorbed by the human body is measured by the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), and its maximum levels for modern handsets have been set by governmental regulating agencies in many countries. In the USA, the FCC has set a SAR limit of 1.6 W/kg, averaged over a volume of 1 gram of tissue, for the head. In Europe, the limit is 2 W/kg, averaged over a volume of 10 grams of tissue. SAR values are heavily dependent on the size of the averaging volume. Without information about the averaging volume used comparisons between different measurements can not be made. Thus, the European 10-gram ratings should be compared among themselves, and the American 1-gram ratings should only be compared among themselves. SAR data for specific mobile phones, along with other useful information, can be found directly on manufacturers' websites, as well as on third party web sites. Thermal effects Microscope photographs of lenses incubated in organ culture conditions for 12 days. Right frame shows Control lens with no damage. Bottom frame demonstrates the effect of microwave radiation on bovine lens sutures for a total exposure of 192 cycles (1.1 GHz, 2.22 mW). Each cycle lasts 50 min followed by 10 min pause. In the absence of microwave radiation, the bubbles are generated by temperature increase to 39.5 °C during 4 h; see left frame. Credit: IsraCast Technology News One well-understood effect of microwave radiation is dielectric heating, in which any dielectric material (such as living tissue) is heated by rotations of polar molecules induced by the electromagnetic field. In the case of a person using a cell phone, most of the heating effect will occur at the surface of the head, causing its temperature to increase by a fraction of a degree. In this case, the level of temperature increase is an order of magnitude less than that obtained during the exposure of the head to direct sunlight. The brain's blood circulation is capable of disposing of excess heat by increasing local blood flow. However, the cornea of the eye does not have this temperature regulation mechanism and exposure of 2-3 hours' duration has been reported to produce cataracts in rabbits' eyes at SAR values from 100-140W/kg, which produced lenticular temperatures of 41°C.[verification needed] Premature cataracts have not been linked with cell phone use, possibly because of the lower power output of mobile phones. Non-thermal effects The communications protocols used by mobile phones often result in low-frequency pulsing of the carrier signal. Whether these modulations have biological significance has been subject to debate.  Some researchers have argued that so-called "non-thermal effects" could be reinterpreted as a normal cellular response to an increase in temperature. The German biophysicist Roland Glaser, for example, has argued that there are several thermoreceptor molecules in cells, and that they activate a cascade of second and third messenger systems, gene expression mechanisms and production of heat shock proteins in order to defend the cell against metabolic cell stress caused by heat. The increases in temperature that cause these changes are too small to be detected by studies such as REFLEX, which base their whole argument on the apparent stability of thermal equilibrium in their cell cultures. Martin Blank disagrees with the thermal hypothesis, citing evidence of different pathways for the synthesis of stress proteins in cells subject to EMF radiation versus heat shock. These pathways involve different DNA segments of the same gene. He argues that since the same non-thermal mechanism behind the stress response is found for both ELF and RF ranges (the former having much lower SAR levels), the total energy cannot be the key factor. Blank postulates instead a non-thermal mechanism whereby EMF rearranges the electron configuration on DNA molecules.[clarify] Blank argues that this charge accumulation could overcome the hydrogen bonds joining the DNA strands. Blood Brain Barrier effects Swedish researchers from Lund University (Salford, Brun, Perrson, Eberhardt, and Malmgren) have studied the effects of microwave radiation on the rat brain. They found a leakage of albumin into the brain via a permeated blood-brain barrier.. Other groups have not confirmed these findings in cell  or animal studies. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity Some users of mobile handsets have reported feeling several unspecific symptoms during and after its use; ranging from burning and tingling sensations in the skin of the head and extremities, fatigue, sleep disturbances, dizziness, loss of mental attention, reaction times and memory retentiveness, headaches, malaise, tachycardia (heart palpitations), to disturbances of the digestive system. Reports have noted that all of these symptoms can also be attributed to stress and that current research cannot separate the symptoms from nocebo effects. Genotoxic effects Research published in 2004 by a team at the University of Athens had a reduction in reproductive capacity in fruit flies exposed to 6 minutes of 900 MHz pulsed radiation for five days. Subsequent research, again conducted on fruit flies, was published in 2007, with the same exposure pattern but conducted at both 900 MHz and 1800 MHz, and had similar changes in reproductive capacity with no significant difference between the two frequencies. Following additional tests published in a third article, the authors stated they thought their research suggested the changes were “…due to degeneration of large numbers of egg chambers after DNA fragmentation of their constituent cells …”. In 1995, Lai and Singh reported damaged DNA after two hours of microwave radiation at levels deemed safe according to government standards in the journal Bioelectromagnetics.  Later, in December 2004, a pan- European study named REFLEX (Risk Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards from Low Energy Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposure Using Sensitive in vitro Methods), involving 12 collaborating laboratories in several countries showed some compelling evidence of DNA damage of cells in in-vitro cultures, when exposed between 0.3 to 2 watts/kg, whole-sample average. There were indications, but not rigorous evidence of other cell changes, including damage to chromosomes, alterations in the activity of certain genes and a boosted rate of cell division.. Reviews of in vitro genotoxicity studies have generally concluded that RF is not genotoxic and that studies reporting positive effects had experimental deficiencies. Mobile phones and cancer In 2006 a large Danish study about the connection between mobile phone use and cancer incidence was published. It followed over 420,000 Danish citizens for 20 years and showed no increased risk of cancer. The German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) consider this report as inconclusive. In order to investigate the risk of cancer for the mobile phone user, a co-operative project between 13 countries has been launched called INTERPHONE. The idea is that cancers need time to develop so only studies over 10 years are of interest. The following studies of long time exposure have been published: A Danish study (2004) that took place over 10 years and found no evidence to support a link. A Swedish study (2005) that draws the conclusion that "the data do not support the hypothesis that mobile phone use is related to an increased risk of glioma or meningioma." A British study (2005) that draws the conclusion that "The study suggests that there is no substantial risk of acoustic neuroma in the first decade after starting mobile phone use. However, an increase in risk after longer term use or after a longer lag period could not be ruled out." A German study (2006) that states "In conclusion, no overall increased risk of glioma or meningioma was observed among these cellular phone users; however, for long-term cellular phone users, results need to be confirmed before firm conclusions can be drawn." A joint study conducted in northern Europe that draws the conclusion that "Although our results overall do not indicate an increased risk of glioma in relation to mobile phone use, the possible risk in the most heavily exposed part of the brain with long-term use needs to be explored further before firm conclusions can be drawn." Other studies on cancer and mobile phones are: Tumour risk associated with use of cellular telephones or cordless desktop telephones, that states: "We found for all studied phone types an increased risk for brain tumours, mainly acoustic neuroma and malignant brain tumours". A Swedish scientific team at the Karolinska Institute conducted an epidemiological study (2004) that suggested that regular use of a mobile phone over a decade or more was associated with an increased risk of acoustic neuroma, a type of benign brain tumour. The increase was not noted in those who had used phones for fewer than 10 years. The INTERPHONE study group from Japan published the results of a study of brain tumour risk and mobile phone use. They used a new approach: determining the SAR inside a tumour by calculating the radiofrequency field absorption in the exact tumour location. Cases examined included glioma, meninigioma, and pituitary adenoma. They reported that the overall odds ratio (OR) was not increased and that there was no significant trend towards an increasing OR in relation to SAR-derived exposure.  In a February 2008 update on the status of the INTERPHONE study IARC stated that the long term findings ‘…could either be causal or artifactual, related to differential recall between cases and controls.’ Wikinews has related news: Media reports exaggerate cell phone cancer risk. A self-published and non-peer reviewed meta-study by Dr. Vini Khurana, an Australian neurosurgeon, presented an "increasing body of evidence ... for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumours" and that it "is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking". This was criticised as ‘…an unbalanced analysis of the literature, which is also selective in support of the author’s claims.’ Sleep and EEG effects Some studies have claimed to show that mobile phone signals affect sleep patterns and possibly delay sleep onset during exposure.  In another clinical study, carried out by Sweden's Karolinska Institute and Wayne State University in the US, the authors concluded their research suggested an association between RF exposure and adverse effects on sleep quality within certain sleep stages, though participants were unable to determine better than chance if they had been exposed to actual radiation or sham exposure. The UK National Health Service criticised the research because of the small sample size used, and because of the 53% of participants who reported sensitivity to mobile use, a proportion unlikely to be representative of the general population. The NHS also criticised the press for inaccurate reporting of the study. Health hazards of base stations Another area of worry about effects on the population's health have been the radiation emitted by base stations (the antennas on the surface which communicate with the phones), because, in contrast to mobile handsets, it is emitted continuously and is more powerful at close quarters. On the other hand due to the attenuation of power with the square of distance, field intensities drop rapidly with distance away from the base of the antenna. Base station emissions must comply with ICNIRP guidelines of a maximum power density of 4.5 W/m² (450 microwatts/cm2) for 900 MHz and 9 W/m² (900 microwatts/cm2) for 1800 MHz. These guidelines are set for short term heating, which is the only understood mechanism of electromagnetic fields on biological tissue. The ICNIRP guidelines are distrusted by some. Several surveys have found increases of symptoms depending upon proximity to electromagnetic sources such as mobile phone base stations. A 2002 survey study by Santini et al. in France found a variety of self-reported symptoms for people who reported that they were living within 300 metres (984 ft) of GSM cell towers in rural areas, or within 100 m (328 ft) of base stations in urban areas. Fatigue, headache, sleep disruption and loss of memory were among the symptoms reported. Similar results have been obtained with GSM cell towers in Spain, Egypt, Poland and Austria. It is, however, important to note that these surveys do not show statistically significant clustering or causality and those complaining of adverse symptoms may be displaying the nocebo effect, unless this is controlled in the study. There are significant challenges in conducting studies of populations near base stations, especially in assessment of individual exposure. However, a study conducted at the University of Essex and another in Switzerland concluded that mobile phone masts were unlikely to be causing these short term effects in a group of volunteers who complained of such symptoms. The Essex study has been criticised as being skewed due to drop-outs of test subjects, although electrical sensitivity lobby groups have praised the study as a whole,  and these criticisms were answered by the authors. As technology progresses and data demands have increased on the mobile network, towns and cities have seen the number of towers increase sharply, including 3G towers which work with larger bandwidths. Many measurements and experiments have shown that transmitter power levels are relatively low - in modern 2G antennas, in the range of 20 to 100 W, with the 3G towers causing less radiation than the already present 2G network. An average radiation power output of 3 W is used. The use of 'micro-cell geometries' (large numbers of transmitters in an area but with each individual transmitter running very low power) inside cities has decreased the amount of radiated power even further. The radiation exposure from these antennas, while generally low level, is continuous. Experts consulted by France consider it is mandatory that main antenna axis not to be directly in front of a living place at a distance shorter than 100 meters.. This recommendation was modified in 2003 to say that antennas located within a 100-metre radius of primary schools or childcare facilities should be better integrated into the cityscape and was not included in a 2005 expert report. Occupational health hazards Telecommunication workers who spend time at a short distance from the active equipment, for the purposes of testing, maintenance, installation, etc. may be at risk of much greater exposure than the general population. Many times base stations are not turned off during maintenance, because that would affect the network, so people work near "live" antennas. A variety of studies over the past 50 years have been done on workers exposed to high RF radiation levels; studies including radar laboratory workers, military radar workers, electrical workers, and amateur radio operators. Most of these studies found no increase in cancer rates over the general population or a control group. Many positive results could have been attributed to other work environment conditions, and many negative results of reduced cancer rates also occurred. Safety standards and licensing In order to protect the population living around base stations and users of mobile handsets, governments and regulatory bodies adopt safety standards, which translate to limits on exposure levels below a certain value. There are many proposed national and international standards, but that of the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is the most respected one, and has been adopted so far by more than 80 countries. For radio stations, ICNIRP proposes two safety levels: one for occupational exposure, another one for the general population. Currently there are efforts underway to harmonise the different standards in existence. Radio base licensing procedures have been established in the majority of urban spaces regulated either at municipal/county, provincial/state or national level. Mobile telephone service providers are, in many regions, required to obtain construction licenses, provide certification of antenna emission levels and assure compliance to ICNIRP standards and/or to other environmental legislation. Many governmental bodies also require that competing telecommunication companies try to achieve sharing of towers so as to decrease environmental and cosmetic impact. This issue is an influential factor of rejection of installation of new antennas and towers in communities. The safety standards in the U.S. are set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has based its standards primarily on those standards established by the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineering (IEEE), specifically Subcommittee 4 of the "International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety". Evolution of Safety Standards The following is a brief summary of the wireless safety standards, which have become stricter over time. 1966: The ANSI C95.1 standard adopted the standard of 10 mW/cm2 (10,000 μW/cm2) based on thermal effects. 1982: The IEEE recommended further lowering this limit to 1 mW/cm2 (1,000 μW/cm2) for certain frequencies in 1982, which became a standard ten years later in 1992 (see below). 1986: The NCRP recommended the exposure limit of 580 μW/cm2. 1992: The ANSI/IEEE C95.1-1992 standard based on thermal effects used the 1 mW/cm2 (1,000 μW/cm2) safety limit. The EPA called this revised standard "seriously flawed", partly for failing to consider non-thermal effects, and called for the FCC to adopt the 1986 NCRP standard which was five times stricter. 1996: The FCC updated to the standard of 580 μW/cm2 over any 30-minute period for the 869 MHz, while still using 1mW/cm2 (1,000 μW/cm2) for PCS frequencies (1850-1990 MHz). 1998: The ICNIRP standard uses the limit of 450 μW/cm2. Adequacy of Current Standards The controversial question is whether the current safety standards are adequate enough to protect the public's long- term health. A few nations have set safety limits orders lower than the ICNIRP limit. In particular, the Salzburg Resolution for Austria recommends safety limits many times lower (0.6 V/m = 0.1 microWatts/cm2 for pulsed radiation. Lawsuits In the USA, a small number of personal injury lawsuits have been filed by individuals against cellphone manufacturers, such as Motorola, NEC, Siemens and Nokia, on the basis of allegations of causation of brain cancer and death. In US federal court, expert testimony relating to science must be first evaluated by a judge, in a Daubert hearing, to be relevant and valid before it is admissible as evidence. In one case against Motorola, the plaintiffs alleged that the use of wireless handheld telephones could cause brain cancer, and that the use of Motorola phones caused one plaintiff’s cancer. The judge ruled that no sufficiently reliable and relevant scientific evidence in support of either general or specific causation was proffered by the plaintiffs; accepted a motion to exclude the testimony of the plaintiffs’ experts; and denied a motion to exclude the testimony of the defendants' experts. Precautionary principle In 2000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that the precautionary principle could be voluntarily adopted in this case. It follows the recommendations of the European Community for environmental risks. According to the WHO, the "precautionary principle" is "a risk management policy applied in circumstances with a high degree of scientific uncertainty, reflecting the need to take action for a potentially serious risk without awaiting the results of scientific research." Other less stringent recommended approaches are prudent avoidance principle and ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable). Although all of these are problematic in application, due to the widespread use and economic importance of wireless telecommunication systems in modern civilisation, there is an increased popularity of such measures in the general public, though also evidence that such approaches may increase concern. They involve recommendations such as the minimisation of cellphone usage, the limitation of use by at-risk population (such as children), the adoption of cellphones and microcells with ALARA levels of radiation, the wider use of hands-free and earphone technologies such as Bluetooth headsets, the adoption of maximal standards of exposure, RF field intensity and distance of base stations antennas from human habitations, and so forth. The precautionary principle is a moral and political principle which states that if an action or policy might cause severe or irreversible harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action. But in some legal systems, as the European Union Law, the precautionary principle is also a general principle of law. This means that it is compulsory. The principle aims to provide guidance for protecting public health and the environment in the face of uncertain risks, stating that the absence of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason to postpone measures where there is a risk of serious or irreversible harm to public health or the environment. There are many definitions of the precautionary principle. Precaution is caution in advance, or ‘caution practised in the context of uncertainty’. All definitions have two key elements. 1. an expression of a need by decision-makers to anticipate harm before it occurs. Within this element lies an implicit reversal of the onus of proof: under the precautionary principle it is the responsibility of an activity proponent to establish that the proposed activity will not (or is very unlikely to) result in significant harm. 2. the establishment of an obligation, if the level of harm may be high, for action to prevent or minimise such harm even when the absence of scientific certainty makes it difficult to predict the likelihood of harm occurring, or the level of harm should it occur. The need for control measures increases with both the level of possible harm and the degree of uncertainty No introduction to the precautionary principle would be complete without brief reference to the difference between the precautionary principle and the precautionary approach. Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration 1992 states that: “in order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall be not used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” As Garcia (1995) pointed out, “the wording, largely similar to that of the principle, is subtly different in that: (1) it recognises that there may be differences in local capabilities to apply the approach, and (2) it calls for cost-effectiveness in applying the approach, e.g., taking economic and social costs into account.” The ‘approach’ is generally considered a softening of the ‘principle’. In physics, an inverse-square law is any physical law stating that some physical quantity or strength is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source of that physical quantity. Non-ionising radiation refers to any type of electromagnetic radiation that does not carry enough energy per quantum to ionize atoms or molecules — that is, to completely remove an electron from an atom or molecule. Instead of producing charged ions when passing through matter, the electromagnetic radiation has sufficient energy only for excitation, the movement of an electron to a higher energy state. Nevertheless, different biological effects are observed for different types of non-ionising radiation. Near ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, microwave, radio waves, low frequency RF and static fields are all examples of non-ionising radiation. Source: Wikipedia Mobile Telephony and Health Exposures from Base Stations Exposures from Base Stations Mobile phone base stations are radio transmitters with antennas mounted on either free-standing masts or on buildings. Radio signals are fed through cables to the antennas and then launched as radio waves into the area, or cell, around the base station. A typical larger base station installation would consist of a plant room containing the electronic equipment as well as the mast with the antennas. Several types of antennas are used for the transmissions; panel-shaped sector antennas or pole-shaped omni antennas are used to communicate with mobile phones. Dish antennas form terminals for point to point microwave links that communicate with other base stations and link the network together. Sometimes the base stations are connected together with buried cables instead of microwave links. Depending on the location of the base station and the level of mobile phone usage to be handled, base stations may be anything from only a few hundred metres apart in major cities, to several kilometres apart in the countryside. Types of Base Station There are many different types of base stations used by operators and it is not always easy to firmly categorise them as macrocell, microcell or pico cell. Categorisations tend to be based on the purpose of the site rather than in terms of technical constraints such as radiated powers or antenna heights. Macrocellular base stations provide the main infrastructure for a mobile phone network and their antennas tend to be mounted at sufficient height to give them a clear view over the surrounding geographical area. For this reason they tend to be obvious, particularly for the older sites with free-standing steel lattice towers. Some examples of macrocellular base stations are shown below. Microcell base stations provide additional radio capacity where there are a high number of users such as in cities and towns. Microcell antennas tend to be mounted at street level typically on the external walls of existing buildings. Microcell antennas are a lot smaller than macrocell antennas and can often be disguised as building features. Transmissions from Base Stations Base stations in areas of low mobile phone usage may only have one transmitter connected to their antennas; hence, they will transmit only on one frequency. Base stations in busier areas may have up to 10 or more transmitters connected to their antennas allowing them to transmit on several frequencies at the same time, and to handle communications with many mobile phones. The power of each base station transmitter is set to a level that allows a mobile phone to be used within the area for which the base station is designed to provide coverage, but not outside the coverage area. Higher powers are needed to cover larger cells and also to cover cells with difficult ground terrain. Typical maximum powers for individual macro-cellular base station transmitters are around 5-10 W, although the total radiated power from an antenna could be up to around 100 W with multiple transmitters present. For a low capacity base station with only one transmitter, the radiated power does not vary over time, or with the number of phone users. Up to 7 phone calls can be handled simultaneously by such a base station. With larger capacity base stations having multiple transmitters, the output power can vary over time and with the number of calls being handled. One of the transmitters will transmit continuously at full power, whereas the other transmitters will operate intermittently and with varying power levels up to the maximum. As an example, the power output of a macrocellular base station with ten 10 W transmitters could vary between a minimum of 10 W and a maximum of 100 W over time. Microcellular base stations tend to operate at lower power levels around 1-2 W and have fewer transmitters because of their smaller coverage areas. Beam Shapes and Directions The power from antennas used with macrocellular base stations is radiated in conical fan-shaped beams, which are essentially directed towards the horizon with a slight downward tilt. This is illustrated in the figure below and it causes the radio wave strengths below the antennas and at the base of masts to be very much lower than directly in front of the antennas at a similar distance. The beams from the antennas spread out with distance and tend to reach ground level at distances in the range 50- 300 m from the antennas. The radio wave levels at these distances are much less than those directly in front of the antennas and can easily be calculated (see Section 5.1 of NRPB Report R321). At distances closer to the mast than where the main beam reaches ground level, exposure occurs due to weaker beams known as sidelobes whose power density is not so easy to calculate unless one has detailed technical information about the beam pattern from the antennas. Exposure Guidelines At positions where people are exposed to the radio waves from base station antennas, the level of exposure is much more constant over the whole body than when they are exposed to a mobile phone. Under these circumstances, the relevant basic restriction in the ICNIRP guidelines is that placed on SAR averaged over the entire body mass. ICNIRP specifies that this should not exceed 0.4 W kg -1 for workers or 0.08 W kg -1 for the general public. Whole-body SAR is not very easy to measure practically, consequently ICNIRP gives a reference level in terms of the power density below which the SAR restriction would be complied with. These reference levels vary with frequency and range from 2 W m -2 to 10 W m -2 for the general public over the radiofrequency range 10 MHz to 300 GHz. The reference level is 4.5 W m -2 in the 900 MHz GSM frequency band and 9 W m -2 in the GSM1800 frequency band. This is not because a lower limit is set for operators using the GSM900 band since the underpinning basic restriction is the same for both frequency bands. The different reference levels arise because the body tends to interact more strongly with radio waves at 900 MHz than at 1800 MHz meaning that a lower reference level has to be set. The reference level in the 2000 MHz 3G base station band is 10 W m -2. When considering exposure in the context of the ICNIRP guidelines, it is important to recognise that the guidelines are intended to limit total exposure to radio waves from all sources and not just that part of exposure arising from a particular base station. Measuring Radio Waves There are various instruments available for making measurements of radio wave strengths and these vary in the degree of expert knowledge required to operate them and in their technical capabilities. Hand-held survey probes for measuring power density are the simplest equipment and they may be suitable for use by non-experts. Professional equipment of this type costs several thousand pounds, but it may be available for hire. The sensitivity of hand-held probes is limited. Probes containing sensors based on diodes tend to be able to measure power densities down to around 1 mW m -2, but also tend to over-estimate the average power density of base station signals. Probes containing sensors based on thermocouples give a true average power density reading but tend not to be able to measure below 100 mW m -2. Hand-held survey equipment tends to respond to a broad range of frequencies at the same time and it is not capable of tuning in to radio signals. For this reason it provides little insight into exposure situations where the source of the signal dominating the reading is not obvious. HPA Radiation Protection Division (RPD) carries out surveys of exposure levels in the environment around base stations using spectral monitoring equipment that can measure all of the radio signals present at a location separately. The equipment consists of a set of measuring antennas mounted on tripods that are connected in turn to a spectrum analyser which measures the signal strengths and passes the data to a computer for subsequent analysis. This equipment is shown below. The total exposure due to all of the radio signals acting together is calculated from the data acquired with the spectral monitoring equipment and presented as an exposure quotient. The exposure quotient describes the exposure in relation to the ICNIRP guidelines; for example, the exposure at a typical location might be 1/5,500 of the ICNIRP guidelines. Normally measurements are made over the frequency range 30 MHz to 3000 MHz and the exposure quotient can include signals from broadcast radio and television as well as from base stations. It is possible to break down the exposure quotient into proportions arising from different transmitters and present the results in the form of a pie chart, as shown below. This can show how much exposure is arising from a transmitter of concern. RPD normally expects funding to be provided for it to carry out survey work involving mobile phone base stations. An example report is available for a complex survey carried out around a multi-transmitter site in Leeds. Exclusion Zones Close to some base station antennas, the power density can exceed guideline levels. Operators calculate compliance distances in various directions from their antennas in order to define a boundary outside which the guidelines can never be exceeded. Preventative measures such as administrative procedures or physical barriers are implemented to ensure that people do not accidentally enter regions defined as exclusion zones. The design of sites would normally be such that the general public would not be able to stray into regions designed as exclusion zones. For large macrocellular base stations radiating up to 100 watts or more, exclusion zones in the range 10-15 m may be required in front of the antennas to ensure exposures remain within the ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure. In other directions such as below and behind the antennas, the exclusion zones would extend for lesser distances. Low power microcellular base stations radiating around 1-2 W would require much smaller exclusion zones than macrocells and it may be possible to fully encompass all regions where exposure could exceed guidelines within the plastic cover of the antenna. Public Exposure Levels The general public cannot normally approach regions designated as exclusion zones around base station antennas because the antennas tend to be mounted at the top of masts or on rooftops with controlled access. Typical locations where the public is exposed are at ground level, in buildings beneath antennas and in buildings facing antennas mounted on masts or other buildings. RPD has made many measurements of exposure levels at publicly accessible locations around macrocell base stations and in June 2000 NRPB Report R321 was published containing measurements taken at 118 locations from 17 different base station sites. Average exposures were found to be 0.002% of the ICNIRP public exposure guidelines and at no location was exposure found to exceed 0.2% of the guidelines. RPD made measurements over a broad frequency range of the radio spectrum in order examine the strength of the radio signals from transmitters other than mobile phone base stations, for example, those used for broadcast radio and television. The measurements also showed that signals from these less obvious, and more distant, transmitters can often exceed exposures produced by a visually more prominent transmitter such as a mobile phone base station. In addition to the macrocell base station assessments, RPD has carried out measurements on a sample of low power, low antenna height, microcell and picocell base stations. The results show that power density levels are generally between 0.002% and 2% of the ICNIRP guideline reference values for the public at accessible locations within a few tens of metres of the antennas. NRPB-W62 Exposure of the General Public to Radio Waves near Microcell and Picocell Base Stations for Mobile Telecommunications Ofcom has put together a database of mobile phone base stations giving their location, operator and selected technical characteristics. The Sitefinder database is in the form of a clickable map. Subsequent to the publication of NRPB Report R321, and as part of the Government's response to the IEGMP Report, Ofcom began an Audit of the emissions from mobile phone base stations. Initially, 100 schools were visited during the year 2001 and a further 83 were visited during 2002. 27 hospitals were also visited during 2002. Information about the Audit progress and results can be obtained from by visiting the Ofcom Website. The measurements made by Ofcom and RPD show that exposure at publicly accessible locations near to base stations is very much below the ICNIRP guidelines. Source : HPA (Health Protection Agency) Government Response to the report from the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (Stewart Group) 1. Stewart report - the Government's response 1.1 The Government welcomes the Stewart Group Report and its comprehensive and thorough review of the issues. 1.2 The report makes helpful recommendations on measures to reduce public concern about the health impacts of mobile telecommunications technologies. Importantly, it provides information for the consumer to help them to make informed choices about their own and their families' use of these technologies. 1.3 We are acting immediately on the findings of the report. Some of its conclusions and recommendations can be actioned straight away. Other issues will require more time for consideration and consultation and we will be issuing further information in due course. 2. The Context 2.1 With over 27 million subscribers in the UK, it is clear that mobile phones are a popular and important means of modern communication. The technology has, and will continue, to revolutionise the way people live their lives and companies do business. The UK is the world leader in mobile telecommunications, with successful mobile network operators offering innovative and competitive services. 2.2 The Government believes that people should be able to make the most of new technology without concerns that it may impact on their health. For this reason, the Minister for Public Health called for an independent expert group to be set up to undertake the world's most comprehensive review of the possible health effects of mobile telecommunications technologies. 2.3 The Independent Expert Group was set up under the chairmanship of Sir William Stewart and has published its report today. 2.4 In his foreword to the Report, Sir William Stewart states that "the balance of evidence does not suggest that mobile phone technologies put the health of the general population of the UK at risk. There is some preliminary evidence that outputs from mobile phone technologies may cause, in some cases, subtle biological effects although, importantly, these do not necessarily mean that health is affected." Stewart proposes that a precautionary approach be adopted until more robust scientific information becomes available. 3. Assessment of Health Risks Mobile Phone Technology 3.1 The Stewart Group has concluded that the balance of evidence suggests that for mobile phone users: Exposure to radiofrequency radiation below guideline levels does not cause adverse health effects to the general population. 3.2 However, the Stewart Group has also concluded that there is now scientific evidence that there may be biological effects occurring at exposures below these guidelines. This does not necessarily mean that these effects lead to disease or injury but this is important information. 3.3 The Stewart Group concluded that: It is not possible at present say that exposure to RF radiation, even at levels below national guidelines, is totally without potential adverse health effects, and that the gaps in knowledge are sufficient to justify a precautionary approach. Specific Issues Drivers 3.4 The Stewart Group further concluded in relation to the risks of mobile phones that their use in cars can increase the chance of accidents and that drivers should be dissuaded from using phones on the move. Children 3.5 The Stewart Group stated that it believes that the widespread use of mobile phones by children for non-essential calls should be discouraged because: If there are currently unrecognised adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones, children may be more vulnerable because of their developing nervous system, the greater absorption of energy in the tissues of the head and a longer lifetime of exposure. Base Stations 3.7 The Stewart Group has made a separate assessment of the potential health risks of base stations and concluded that the balance of evidence indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near to base stations on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of guidelines. However, there can be indirect adverse effects on their well-being in some cases. The Government accepts the conclusions of the risk assessment of mobile phone technology set out in the Stewart Group's report. 4. Public Health Action 4.1 The Stewart Group has identified on the basis of its risk assessment the need to take a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phone technologies until we have more detailed and scientifically robust information on any health effects. The Government accepts the recommended precautionary approach advised by the Stewart Group and will, of course, wish to hold further discussion and consultation on specific elements. The Government will be, therefore, taking forward the actions that follow in response to the report's specific recommendations. Standards for mobile phones and base stations. 4.2 The Stewart Group recommended that, as a precautionary approach, the ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure be adopted for use in the UK rather than the NRPB guidelines.(paragraph 1.27 of the report) We are not convinced of the need to incorporate the ICNIRP guidelines in statutes. (1.28) The Government agrees, in line with the recommended precautionary approach, that the emissions from mobile phones and base stations should meet the ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure as expressed in the EU Council Recommendation of 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300GHz). The Government further agrees that the guidelines do not need to be incorporated into statutes. Mobile phones: Standards and Public Information 4.3 The Stewart Group recommended that an international standard for the assessment of SAR values from mobile phones should be adopted for use in the UK once it has been demonstrated to be scientifically sound. (1.51) The Group recommended that information on the SAR values for mobile phones must be readily accessible to consumers At the point of sale with information on the box, On leaflets available in stores giving comparative information on different phones and with explanatory information, As a menu option on the screen of the phone and as a label on the phone, On a national web site, which lists the SAR values of different phone types. (1.52) Government is aware that all mobile phone handsets on sale in the UK already meet the ICNIRP guidelines. We are supporting CENELEC in developing a European standard for measuring the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR )values of mobile phones. The standard will be adopted in the UK once it has been finally approved. The Government agrees that the consumer should have access to the SAR values when considering purchasing a mobile phone. The Government will expect SAR measurements to be displayed at all points of sale and with each mobile phone and on the world wide web. The Government considers that the SAR value should be viewed in context, for example, by comparing the SAR value against the recommended exposure limits. We will work with industry to implement the recommendations. The use of mobile phones whilst driving. 4.4 Drivers should be dissuaded from using either hand-held or hands-free phones whilst on the move. (1.22) Government agrees with the Stewart Group's view that the use of mobile phones whilst driving can substantially increase the risk of an accident and that drivers should be dissuaded from using either hand-held or hands-free phones whilst on the move. Government launched a publicity campaign in 1998 to warn of the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving and reinforced that campaign at the beginning of this year. There will be further campaigns. The police are content to rely on existing legislation for the powers of prosecution, and they use it. However, if drivers continue to use mobile phones while on the move, the Government will review whether specific legislation is required. Mobile phone use by children. 4.5 The widespread use of mobile phones by children for non-essential calls should be discouraged. The Stewart Group also recommended that the mobile phone industry should refrain from promoting the use of mobile phones by children. (1.53) Government accepts the Stewart Group's recommendation. The Chief Medical Officer will be discussing with the Stewart Group how best to ensure that parents are aware of these recommendations and the information contained in the report so that they are able to make informed choices about the use of mobile phones. Mobile phone use near essential hospital equipment. 4.6 The Stewart Group understood that health authorities/health boards issue guidance on the use of mobile phones. They should ensure that all hospitals comply. This guidance should include the placing of visible warning signs at entrances to buildings to indicate that mobile phones should be switched off. (1.47) Government is aware that the use of mobile phones in hospitals and other sites where the RF radiation could possibly interfere with sensitive equipment and the Medical Devices Agency has already issued relevant guidance. This includes policy advice to hospitals covering restricted areas where mobile phones should not used and the placing of visible warning signs at the entrances to these areas to indicate that mobile phones should be switched off. Shielding Devices and hands-free kits 4.8 The Stewart Group recommended that Government sets in place a national system which enables independent testing of shielding devices and hands-free kits to be carried out, and which enables clear information to be given about the effectiveness of such devices. A kite mark or equivalent should be introduced to demonstrate conformity with the testing standard. (1.65) The Government agrees that shielding devices and hands-free kits should be independently tested and that there should be clear information about the effectiveness of such devices. The DTI have already commissioned independent SAR measurement of hands free kits; the results will be published shortly. Base Stations Exclusion Zones 4.9 The Stewart Group recommended the establishment of clearly defined physical exclusion zones around base station antennas, which delineate areas within which exposure guidelines may be exceeded. The incorporation of exclusion zones should be part of the template of planning protocols that we advocate (1.44). The Stewart Group recommended that the design of the logo should be taken forward by the British Standards Institute and implemented within 12 months.(1.45) The Stewart Group recommended that warning signs should be incorporated into microcell and picocell transmitters to indicate they should not be opened when in use.(1.46) Clear exclusion zones should already be in place around all base station antennas to prevent the public from exposure radiofrequency radiation above ICNIRP guidelines. Different operators currently use different signs which may cause confusion. The Government supports the recommendation for clearer signs around base stations. Government agrees that microcell and picocell transmitters should have warning signs to minimise the risk of undue exposure to RF radiation from being opened during use. Planning Issues Siting - a more consultative process. 4.10 The Stewart Group recommended that for all base stations, including those with masts under 15 m, permitted development rights for their erection be revoked and that the siting of all new base stations should be subject to the normal planning process. (1.36) The Stewart Group recommended that, at national Government level, a template of protocols be developed, in concert with industry and consumers, which can be used to inform the planning process and which must be assiduously and openly followed before permission is given for the siting of a new base station. (1.37) The Stewart Group recommended that a robust planning template be set in place within 12 months of the publication of this report. It should incorporate a requirement for public involvement, an input by health authorities/health boards and a clear and open system of documentation which can be readily inspected by the general public. (1.38) The Stewart Group recommended that an Ombudsman be appointed to provide a focus for decisions on the siting of base stations when agreement cannot be reached locally, and on other relevant issues. (1.62) The Government is minded to introduce a requirement for full planning permission for all new telecommunication masts, as public consultation is an integral part of the planning process. We will need to consult widely before doing so including the principle and precise scope of any new arrangements. We shall issue a consultation paper on this and related guidance which will include consideration of health concerns. The Group suggested that the appointment of an Ombudsman would help with planning decisions on siting of base stations, for example, where agreement could not be reached locally. The Government is sympathetic to the objectives of the proposal and feels there are better ways of achieving them, bearing in mind that there is no comparable arrangement in relation to other kinds of development. The role of an Ombudsman would not sit comfortably with the existing appeal process within the planning system. As regards siting, the Government's view is that the objectives are met by the planning process. When considering applications for new development local planning authorities consult local people and take their views into account in making decisions. Where an authority refuses an application the developer can appeal to the Secretary of State. Pre- applications discussions with authorities and with local people also have an important part to play, providing opportunities to explore alternative approaches to the siting and appearance of masts. Emissions from base stations - measurements and audit. 4.11 The Stewart Group recommended that a national database be set up by Government giving details of all base stations and their emissions. This should include the characteristics of the base stations as described in paragraphs 6.47 and 6.48 and should be an essential part of the licence for the site. (1.39) The Stewart Group recommended that an independent random, ongoing, audit of all base stations be carried out to ensure that exposure guidelines are not exceeded outside the marked exclusion zone and that the base stations comply with their agreed specifications. If base station emissions are found to exceed guideline levels, or if there is significant departure from the stated characteristics, then the base station should be decommissioned until compliance is demonstrated. (1.40) The Stewart Group recommended that particular attention should be paid initially to the auditing of base stations near to schools and other sensitive sites. (1.41) The industry already maintains a national database of all base stations and emission levels. Government will explore further with industry the development of the database. The Government also agrees that there is a need to establish an independent audit of emissions to give the public confidence that base stations do not exceed approved guidelines. We will seek to implement a national measurement programme and will be discussing this further with the Radiocommunications Agency. Auditing of base stations near to schools and other sensitive sites will receive priority and this will include measurements of the beam intensity. We will consider how best to make this information publicly available and relevant to siting of base stations. Base stations - keep exposure low 4.12 The Stewart Group recommend that in making decisions about the siting of base stations, planning authorities should have the power to ensure that the RF fields to which the public will be exposed will be kept to the lowest practical levels that will be commensurate with the telecommunications system operating effectively. (1.43) The Stewart Group recommended that operators actively pursue a policy of mast sharing and roaming where practical. (1.54) The Government would expect an efficient mobile network operator to ensure that this recommendation is met already. However, it will be exploring with the industry ways to ensure this recommendation is met. The Stewart Group also examined the value of mast sharing and roaming agreements which can offer advantages in terms of providing a better service in rural areas and limiting environmental intrusion. We already require a network operator to examine the possibility of using an existing mast or structure before seeking to put up any new mast. We expect that any operator should be able to verify that this has been considered. We shall also pursue with the industry the report's recommendation that operators pursue a policy of roaming where practical to obviate the need for excessive build-out of networks in rural areas. Base stations near or in school grounds. 4.13 The Stewart Group recommended that particular attention should be paid initially to the auditing of base stations near to schools and other sensitive sites. (1.41) The Stewart Group recommended, in relation to macrocell base stations sited within school grounds, that the beam of greatest intensity should not fall on any part of the school grounds or buildings without agreement from the school and parents. Similar considerations should apply to macrocell base stations sited near to school grounds. (1.42) Government agrees that schools and parents should be reassured that the base stations near schools and other places where children spend considerable time operate within guidelines. We will be working with the Stewart Group on the further issues regarding measurements of emissions from base stations on or near schools and how to take forward the recommendation on the 'beam of greatest intensity'. We will also be writing to local education authorities in the next few days regarding the Stewart report and will be issuing further guidance to schools and local education authorities in light of the action we have set out in paragraphs 4.5, 4.10 and 4.11. Health Related Research - filling in the gaps in knowledge. 4.14 The Stewart Group recommended that priority be given to a number of areas of research related particularly to signals from handsets (1.57) The Stewart Group recommended that a substantial research programme should operate under the aegis of a demonstrably independent panel (1.58) The Stewart Group further recommended that this programme be financed by the mobile phone companies and the public sector (industry departments, health departments and the research councils), possibly on a 50:50 basis. (1.59) The Stewart Group recommended that a register of occupationally exposed workers be established and that cancer risks and mortality be examined to determine whether there are any harmful effects. If any adverse effects of exposure to RF radiation are identified then the Health and Safety Executive should establish a system of health surveillance. (1.29) The Government agrees with the Stewart Group that there is an urgent need for further research into the potential health effects of mobile communications equipment. The Government is commissioning a comprehensive programme of research costing several millions of pounds, which will result in further research findings emerging over the next few years. This work should also encompass emerging radio-based technologies. Discussions have taken place with the industry about funding a UK based research programme and they have given their agreement in principle to support such a programme. It has been agreed that any research undertaken must be independent and scientifically rigorous. It should meet the research requirements suggested by the World Health Organisation and follow their criteria for good laboratory practice. It should also fit with similar work done in other countries and with the EU Framework projects in this area. An appropriate mechanisms for channelling industry support for research, so that it does not prejudice the independence of the work, will need to be determined. It is planned to launch this programme by September 2000. The Stewart group proposed that a register of occupationally exposed workers should be established. A three year study is currently being undertaken to assess the feasibility of conducting an industry-wide epidemiological study to investigate any relationship between RF and the risk of damage to human health. One aim is to develop a protocol to estimate total RF exposure during employment. The Government will consult with the Health and Safety Commission and others on how the Stewart's Group recommendation might best be taken forward in the light of the outcome of this study. Further Review 4.15 The Stewart Group recommended that the issue of possible health effects of mobile phone technology should be the subject of a further review in three years time, or earlier if circumstances demand it.(1.60) The Government is keen to maintain the momentum of reviewing the health effects of mobile phone technologies and recognises that the IEGMP recommends a further review in three years' time. We will be asking the NRPB to keep further research in this area under continual review and to report to us on progress with both national and international research activities in three years time or when significant information becomes available. Public Information. 4.16 The Stewart Group recommended that national and local government, industry and the consumer should all become actively involved in addressing concerns about possible health effects of mobile phones (1.24) The Stewart Group recommended that Government circulates a leaflet to every household in the UK providing clearly understandable information on mobile phone technology and on related health aspects, including the use of mobile phones while driving. This leaflet should additionally be available at the point of sale. The leaflet should be developed in concert with industry, which has already produced some good leaflets. (1.61) The Government agrees that more information about mobile phone technology should be available. We will be working with the Stewart group on circulating its recommendations and information to the public and we have already started discussions on the production and availability of information on health aspects of mobile phone technology. We will ensure that a leaflet will be issued shortly and be distributed widely as well as available where mobile phones are sold and elsewhere. Mobile phones and base stations The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP), also referred to as the Stewart Group (it was chaired by Sir William Stewart), was set up in 1999 at the request of Minister for Public Health to examine the possible effects from the use of mobile phones, base stations and transmitters on health. The Group completed its investigation with the publication of its report, Mobile Phones and Health, in May 2000. The Government response to the report is also available. The IEGMP report concluded that: * the balance of evidence examined suggested that exposures to radio-frequency (RF) radiation below the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) and the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines does not cause adverse health effects to the general population * there was evidence to suggest that there may be biological effects occurring at exposures below these guidelines and also that, at the frequencies used in mobile technology, children will absorb more energy than adults * it was not possible to say that exposure to RF radiation, even at levels below national guidelines, was totally without potential adverse health effects, and that gaps in knowledge were sufficient to justify a precautionary approach. The report therefore recommended that a specific precautionary approach, as proposed in the report, should be adopted until much more detailed and scientifically robust information on any health effects becomes available. The report also made a recommendation that further research be undertaken, and the Government is taking this forward under a Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme. Implications for LEAs and Schools Base Stations on or near Schools The Group looked at the issue of siting base stations on and near schools. It did not recommend that they be prohibited from or near schools but instead made a recommendation concerning the 'beam of greatest intensity'. Amongst the Group's other recommendations, which will be of interest to LEAs and schools, were an independent random audit of base stations (to begin with schools and other sensitive sites) and changes to the planning arrangements for base stations. 'Beam of Greatest Intensity' The Group recommended that 'the beam of greatest RF intensity' from a macrocell base station sited within or near the grounds of a school should not be permitted to fall on any part of the school's grounds or buildings without agreement from the school and parents. The Group's report indicates that this part of the beam is generally likely to fall to the ground between 50 to 200 metres from the base of a mast. See also the IEGMP website for the Group's response to queries about the recommendation concerning the beam. Government agrees that schools and parents should be reassured that the base stations near school and other places where children spend considerable time operate within guidelines. The network operators have agreed to provide schools, on request, with information on the level of intensity of radio frequency radiation from a base station on or near their premises. The Government has also issued a public health leaflet, Mobile Phone Base Stations and Health, which contains information about radio waves from base stations on or near schools. Audit of Base Stations The Radiocommunications Agency (RA), has been asked to conduct an audit of base stations to ensure their emissions do not exceed approved guidelines. The RA, an Executive Agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), are experts in the field of measuring radio frequency emissions. The audit began with schools and results of the audit can be found on the RA website . The measurements taken in 2001 of 100 base stations sited on school premises showed that all were operating well within the guidelines. The results of the 2002 audit of 100 base stations sited near schools and hospitals are placed on the RA website as they become available. More information on the audit, including results of measurements taken so far at schools, is on the RA website. Enquiries about the audit can also be e-mailed to the RA or telephone the RA Enquiry Point on 020 7211 0211. The RA have also set up the Sitefinder website, which is a database of mobile phone masts, their locations and operational characteristics. Planning Arrangements and Guidance In August 2001 the planning arrangements for telecommunications masts in England were changed. The changes will: * strengthen public consultation requirements on mast proposals of 15 metres and below so that they are exactly the same as applications for planning permission * increase the time for authorities to deal with prior approval applications to 56 days * underline that school governors must be consulted on all proposals for new masts on or near a school or college * increase fees to enable authorities to carry out full public consultation * maintain in full an authority's ability to reject applications on amenity grounds. The network operators are also committed to consult local people, including schools and colleges, to seek to develop solutions in partnership with them before submitting an application to erect a mast. Revised Planning Guidance: Consultation with Schools and FE Colleges Planning guidance has also been revised in light of the planning changes: Policy Planning Guidance Note 8: Telecommunications (PPG8)  and also the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phones Network Development  . This guidance will be of interest to schools and FE colleagues as it includes advice about consultation arrangements — specifically on consultation with schools and FE colleges when new masts are proposed on or near their premises. PPG8 also includes advice on the health considerations that may be taken into account by local planning authorities when making decisions on telecommunications developments. The Code of Best Practice sets out procedures for network operators to follow when consulting with schools and FE colleges before they submit an application for a development to the local planning authority. Schools and FE colleges should now be consulted with directly when a new mast is proposed on or near their premises. This includes consultation by (i) the network operators before submitting an application to erect a mast, and by (ii) local planning authorities when the planning application is received. (See 'Schools' paragraphs of the Planning Guidance ) (i) Consultation by Network Operators Before submitting an application to erect a mast, the network operators should consult with the relevant governing bodies of schools and FE colleges, in order to seek to develop solutions in partnership with them. For example, the issue of the 'beam of greatest intensity' should be discussed at this point. The consultation will not directly include parents but it will be up to governing bodies to consider how best to involve parents either by providing information or by consulting with them. The DfES considers it is good practice for schools to consult parents when considering the siting of a base station on their premises. The operators should provide evidence to the local planning authority that they have consulted with the relevant governing body of the school or FE college, when making an application. (ii) Consultation by Local Planning Authorities Once a planning application has been received local planning authorities will be required to consult locally, including with schools and FE colleges where a development is proposed on or near their premises. They should consult with the relevant governing body and take account of any relevant views expressed. Consultation should be in writing to the relevant governing body, inviting comments by a specified time. Timing will be an important factor. For prior approval applications, which apply to masts of 15 metres and below, local planning authorities will have 56 days, beginning with the date on which it receives the application, in which to make and notify its determination on whether prior approval is required to siting and appearance and to notify the applicants of its decision to give or refuse such approval. There is no power to extend the 56 day period. When a school/FE college school should be consulted The Code of Best Practice sets out a range of factors to be taken into account by network operators and local planning authorities when determining whether a school/FE college should be consulted. These are: * the proposed site is on school/college grounds * the proposed development would be seen from the school/college or its grounds * the site is on a main access point used by pupils/student to the school/college * there is a history of concern about base stations in the local community * the local planning authority has requested consultation with the school/college * the school/college has requested that it be included in any consultation. The Department for Education and Skills advises any school or FE college that wishes to be consulted about base stations in their locality that they should notify the local planning authority setting out the circumstances in which they wish to be consulted. Health Considerations by Local Planning Authorities The guidance also sets out the issues local planning authorities may consider when considering applications, such as health. Health considerations and public concern can in principle be material considerations in determining applications for planning permission and prior approval. However, the guidance advises that if a proposed mobile phone base station meets the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines for public exposure, it should not be necessary for local planning authorities to consider further the health aspects and concerns about them. The ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure, which the IEGMP recommended should be adopted, are five times more stringent that the guidelines observed previously. It should be noted that the 'beam of greatest intensity' is not, in itself, a health consideration, and will not be considered by local planning authorities as part of the planning process. This is because the 'beam of greatest intensity' does not form part of the ICNIRP guidelines, although base station emissions, which will include all parts of a beam, must not exceed the guideline levels. Local planning authorities will take account of health considerations with reference to compliance with ICNIRP guidelines. Where the 'beam of greatest intensity' is an issue for schools and parents, schools may seek to resolve this matter directly with the operators (see above). This applies both to existing masts or proposed developments (e.g. when consulted by operators before submitting an application, see above). Children's Use of Mobile Phones It is recognised that there may be circumstances where the use of a mobile phone by a child can promote safety, for example in enabling them to call for help. However, the Group recommended that the widespread use of mobile phones by children for non-essential calls should be discouraged, because of their greater absorption of energy in the tissues of the head, their developing nervous system, and the longer lifetime of exposure. See also the Group's response to queries on this recommendation. This Government has issued a public health leaflet, Mobile Phones and Health. This contains advice from the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) that where children and young people do use mobile phones, they should be encouraged to: * use mobile phones for essential purposes only * keep all calls short — talking for long periods prolongs exposure and should be discouraged. The UK CMOs recommend that if parents want to avoid their children being subject to any possible risk that might be identified in the future, the way to do so is to exercise their choice not to let their children use mobile phones. Schools may wish to take the UK CMOs' advice into account when considering any policies on the use of mobile phones by pupils. Source: TeacherNet Dog Fouling Dog fouling is consistently one of the highest sources of complaints by the public to MPs, local councillors and local authorities. Estimates put the UK dog population between 6.5 and 7.4 million, producing 1,000 tonnes of faeces every day. What are the health risks associated with dog fouling? Dog faeces carry harmful infections, the most widely known being Toxocariasis. Human toxocariasis is potentially a serious infection and is a direct consequence of soil or sand contamination with faeces carrying eggs of the parasite. The parasite can only infect humans if swallowed. Once swallowed the infection can last between six and 24 months. Frequently the infection is through the hands, but can also be with the dogs themselves or through inanimate objects such as wheels of toys, soles of shoes, etc. Many infected soil samples are found in children’s play areas and in the streets and as a result of this, Toxocariasis is mainly found in children between 18 months and five years. Eye disorders are the most commonly reported complaint associated with Toxocariasis, although other symptoms are vague aches, dizziness, nausea, asthma and epileptic fits. How can these health risks be avoided? Toxocara eggs are not infectious until they mature, which usually takes at least 2–3 weeks after they have been deposited by a dog. Dog faeces will only contaminate the soil when it has been left on the ground for this period of time, so if owners immediately clean up after their dog the threat of toxocariasis would be virtually eradicated. What are the dog fouling laws? Dog Control Orders introduced by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 replaced Dog Byelaws in April 2006. Existing byelaws remain in effect until such time as a dog control order for the same issue is made on the same land. The Dogs Fouling of Land Act 1996 has been repealed but existing designations remain in force until any dog control order is made on the same land. Dog Control Orders can be made to control: Dog fouling Restriction of dogs from certain land Areas where dogs have to be kept on a lead Areas where dogs have to kept on a lead when instructed Restrictions on multiple dog walking Local authorities may designate any public land as poop scoop areas where dog owners must clean up after their pets. The land must be publicly accessible, although the following are not included: Carriageways with a speed limit of more than 40 mph; Land used for agriculture or woodlands; Land which is predominantly marshland, moor or heath. Rural common land exceptions to the offence are: The person in charge of the dog had a reasonable excuse for not clearing up (being unaware of the fouling or not having the means to clean up is not an excuse); The owner or occupier of the land has consented to the faeces being left; The person puts the faeces in a bin on the land; The person in charge of the dog has a registered visual impairment. Unlike Dog Byelaws, Control Orders can be made at a local level by a local authority or a parish council. Breach of a control order can attract a maximum fine of level 3 on that standard scale (currently £1000). Alternatively, the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty may be offered in place of prosecution. Prior to a control order being made a period of local consultation and notices in local press is required. Whose responsibility is it to clean up dog fouling? The Litter (Animal Droppings) Order 1991 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty on local authorities to keep the following areas clear of dog faeces: Any public walk or pleasure ground; Any land laid out as a garden or used for the purpose of recreation; Any part of the seashore which is frequently used by large numbers of people, and managed by the person having direct control of it as a tourist resort or recreational facility; Any esplanade or promenade which is above the place where the tide flows; Any land not forming part of a highway, which is open to the air, which the public are permitted to use on foot only, and which provides access to retail premises; A trunk road picnic area; A picnic site. There is no legal requirement to provide signs or dog waste bins. What action can local authorities take? Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 failure to clean up dog fouling is an offence subject to a maximum fine of £1,000. Local authorities can also give offenders the option of paying a fixed penalty fine of £50-80 rather than going to court. Authorities can authorise contractors such as dog wardens to enforce the scheme and can also give the powers to other designated persons such as parish councillors. Research from a dog fouling campaign in June 2002 found that most local authorities are committed to educating their residents about responsible dog ownership. For example, 94% of councils were found to employ a dog warden, whose job entailed responding to various issues surrounding dogs, not just fouling. However, problems arose from the fact that dog wardens were spending more time dealing with stray dogs than dealing with issues such as dog fouling. Flaws were also found in the way that local councils reacted to the problem of dog fouling, as many authorities were reluctant to prosecute dog owners for their dog’s ‘littering’ despite local authorities being inundated by public complaints about fouling. For example, nearly 28% of local authorities, with fixed penalty schemes in place to deter dog fouling, had not actually issued any fines during the period April 2001- 2002. What can individuals do? If individuals wish to take action against a dog owner who has not cleaned up after their dog, they should note the details of the offence as soon as possible. Details should include the name and address of the person in charge of the dog, a description of the dog, plus details of the date, time and place. They should then contact their local authority and ask for details of their dog control procedures. It is important to describe clearly the place being fouled to find out what regulations cover that area. What is the best way to clean up after a dog? The best way is to use a doggy bag, or a carrier bag, to pick up the faeces. Ideally this should then be placed in a designated dog bin. If this is not possible, the bag should be taken home and placed in an outside bin, or as a last resort, the faeces should be double wrapped and put in a normal litter bin. Pooper scoops can also be used and are available from most pet stores. Laws Directly Affecting Dog Owners Your legal responsibility as a dog owner As a responsible dog owner, it is important for you to meet with the requirements of the law. There are a number of Acts and Orders which all dog owners should be aware of. Identification • Control of Dogs Order 1992 This requires that every dog, while in a public place, wears a collar with the name and address of his owner inscribed on it or on a disc attached to it. If a collar is not worn when out in a public place, the dog may be seized by the police and treated as a stray. Also the owner, and any person in charge of the dog permitting him to be in a public place without a collar, will each be guilty of an offence and may be prosecuted and fined. If your dog does stray, you should immediately contact your local dog warden (through the Environmental Health Department at your local council) and the local police station. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows for your dog to be seized and sold or destroyed if unclaimed after a seven day period. • Microchipping Sadly, dogs are often destroyed because their owners cannot be found and the dog cannot be found a home. If a dog is microchipped with his own unique identification number registered on a national database, owners can be traced very quickly and the dog can be returned safe and sound. Control • Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (outside London) and Metropolitan Police Act 1839 (London) These Acts make it an offence to allow an unmuzzled, ferocious dog to be left at large, or for a person to set on or to urge any dog attack, worry or put in fear any person or animal in the street. • Dogs Act 1871 Under this Act, a court may, upon complaint that a dog is dangerous and not kept under proper control, order the owner to keep him under proper control or to be destroyed. • Animals Act 1971 Under this Act a dog may be shot, without warning, by a farmer for worrying his livestock and the owner could face criminal prosecution for the same offence under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953. • Road Traffic Act 1988 This makes it an offence to have a dog on a designated road without the dog being held on a lead. • Guard Dogs Act 1975 It is an offence to use or permit the use of a guard dog on any premises unless the handler, who is capable of controlling him, is present on the premises and the dog is under control. The dog must be secured so that he is not at liberty to go about the premises. A warning that a guard dog is present must be clearly exhibited at each entrance to the premises. • Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) 1991 There are two main sections to this Act. Section 1 applies to four specific breeds of dog including ‘the type of dog known as the pit bull terrier’. Owners of these breeds had to comply with certain legal requirements, including having their dog registered, neutered, microchipped and tattooed. One of the main problems with this law is that the pit bull terrier is not a recognised breed in the UK. As a result, many owners of cross breeds which resemble a pit bull terrier ‘type’ have been charged under the Act. Section 3 applies to all dogs, making it a criminal offence to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place. This includes instances where there is fear that an injury might occur. Owners found guilty under either section of the Act could have their dog destroyed, face the possibility of six months in prison and/or a fine not exceeding level 5 (at present up to £5,000). Dangerous dogs The Government has laws in place to stop the breeding and trading of dangerous dogs. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is the most important and prohibits certain types of dogs. Types of banned dogs The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans the ownership, breeding, sale and exchange, and advertising for sale of the following ‘types’ of fighting dogs: pit bull terriers the Japanese Tosa the Dogo Argentino the Fila Brasileiro The Act deliberately uses the word ‘type’ as the law does not only apply to ‘pure’ breeds. Types are defined by the physical and behavioural characteristics of the prohibited dog. Descriptions of the main characteristics of the four prohibited dogs are given by Defra in its leaflet ‘Types of dog prohibited in Great Britain’. An assessment of the physical characteristics of a dog is made by a court on a case-by-case basis. The leaflet also explains exemptions to the Act. The maximum penalty for illegal possession of a prohibited dog is a fine of £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment. Responsible Ownership • Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 Since 6th April 2006 local authorities in England and Wales have had the power to introduce new Dog Control Orders under this Act These Orders may restrict where you can walk your dog (on or off lead), how many dogs you can walk at one time, and makes it an offence if a person in charge of a dog fails to clean up its faeces. Designated land may include roads, parks and other public areas within the local authority’s boundaries; in fact any land which is open to the air and to which the public are permitted to have access. If you don’t abide by these Orders, you could be fined up to £1000. It is no defence to claim ignorance of the dog's actions. Scottish Dog Law Laws applying to dogs and their owners, only in Scotland. Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 came into force in October 2006. This Act introduces the new legal concept of a ‘duty of care’, which means that people are now legally obliged to ensure the welfare of the animals in their care. A person who owns a dog, or is looking after a dog (or other animals covered by the Act) must make sure the dog has a suitable environment; has a suitable diet; is able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns; is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. The carer must also address the dog’s need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals. The Act also covers the sale of animals to people under 16 years, dog fighting, tail docking and more. Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003 The Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003 replaced Section 48 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, which made it illegal for a dog to foul specified public places, regardless of whether the excrement was immediately removed or not. The new Act is much more reasonable in that it now makes it an offence to fail to clear up after your dog, rather than of simply allowing a dog to foul. It also allows local authorities and police constables to issue fixed penalty notices to persons suspected of committing the offence. Here are some relevant points from the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003: • It is an offence to not clear up your dog’s excrement and dispose of it appropriately. • This applies to all public places. • Only one witness needs to be present – which means that you only need to be seen by one police officer or local authority representative. • A fixed penalty notice may be issued to anyone suspected of committing an offence and there is a period of 28 days in which you may appeal against this. • Failure to pay the fixed penalty notice or to request an appeal hearing within the 28 period will result in the fixed penalty being increased by 50% and being enforceable as if it were a court decree. Exceptions to the above are when: • The person has a reasonable excuse for failing to remove the faeces. This could be if the dog had diarrhoea and some was left after trying to clear up as much as possible. It could also be if removing the faeces would risk injury to the person clearing up, or to others. • If every person who owns, occupies or controls the relevant land gives permission for people to let dogs defecate on their land, without clearing up. If more than one person owns, occupies or controls the land, then all must give their permission for this to apply. • This law does also not apply to blind people with guidedogs and stockpersons in charge of working dogs. Disabled persons with assistance dogs are also exempted but only if their disability is such that they cannot physically pick the excrement up. For more information on Scottish legislation and for the full text of the Act please visit www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/s-acts.htm Sources – ENCAMs, BBC and The Dogs Trust.
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