Base Stations and Masts by liwenting

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									Fact File
Base Stations and Masts




                Page 1 of 20
Contents

1. What is a mast? ................................................................................................................ 3
   How it all works ......................................................................................................... 3
   What is a cell? ............................................................................................................ 3
   Expanding the Mobile Network ................................................................................. 4
   Site Sharing ................................................................................................................ 4
   Future technological developments ........................................................................... 5
   Changes in mobile phone design ............................................................................... 5
   Bluetooth technology ................................................................................................. 5
   Mobile Phone Masts .................................................................................................. 6
2. Planning and Mobile phone masts ................................................................................. 10
   How mobile phone networks operate ...................................................................... 10
   Planning Framework ................................................................................................ 11
   Consultation Procedures .......................................................................................... 12
   Appeals .................................................................................................................... 13
   Health ....................................................................................................................... 13
   Frequently Asked Questions .................................................................................... 14
3. Department of Health .................................................................................................... 15
   Electromagnetic fields ............................................................................................. 15
      HPA comments on the SAGE First Interim Assessment ..................................... 16
      New advice in this country .................................................................................. 16
      Interdepartmental response to NRPB Advice in March 2004 ............................. 17
4. News headlines ........................................................................................................... 18
   Cancer clusters at phone masts ................................................................................ 18
   County council poised to ban mobile phone masts .................................................. 20




                                                        Page 2 of 20
1. What is a mast?
Radio base stations are commonly called masts. The terms are used interchangeably, but they are
in fact two different things.

A mast is a freestanding structure (the same as a telegraph pole) which supports antennas at a
height where they can transmit and receive radio waves. A mast is typically 15m high and plays no
part in the transmission of radio waves. To minimise the environmental impact, more slim line
versions with smaller head frames are now in place. These can be painted to blend in with their
surroundings, disguised as trees or used in conjunction with street lighting.

Radio base stations are sites that enable mobile phones to work. They can be big or small and
have transmitters and receivers in a cabin or cabinet connected to antennas. They can be
mounted on a large mast or tower, an existing building, rooftops or street furniture such as street
lamps. Without base stations, mobiles will not work. At the start of 2009 there were approximately
51,300 base station sites in the UK, and this figure could rise to approximately 52,500 by the end
of 2009.

How it all works

A mobile phone is a low-powered two-way radio - converting human voice and data messages into
radio waves. When making a call, these radio signals are transmitted from the mobile phone to the
nearest base station. Once a signal reaches a base station it is then transmitted to the main
telephone network where it is transferred to the network of the person receiving the call.

What is a cell?

In order to enable millions of people across the country to make calls, each of the five mobile
phone operators divides the UK into thousands of individual geographic areas known as 'cells'. At
the heart of each cell is a base station. The cells overlap at the edges to prevent holes in
coverage. If the radio base stations are too far apart, calls cannot be handed over from one area to
another and are interrupted or 'dropped' when mobile users are on the move.

There are three types of cells: macrocells, microcells and picocells.

A macrocell provides the main coverage in a mobile network. The antennas for macrocells are
mounted on ground-based masts, rooftops and other existing structures. They must be positioned
at a height that is not obstructed by surrounding buildings and terrain. Macrocell base stations
have a typical power output of tens of watts.

Microcells provide infill radio coverage and additional capacity where there are high numbers of
users within macrocells. The antennas for microcells are mounted at street level, typically on the
external walls of existing structures, lamp posts and other street furniture. The antennas are
smaller than macro cell antennas and, when mounted on existing structures, often blend in
with building features to minimise visual impact. Typically, microcells provide radio coverage
across smaller distances and are placed 300m-1000m apart. They have lower outputs than
macrocells, usually a few watts.

A picocell provides more localised coverage than a microcell. They are normally found inside
buildings where coverage is poor or where there are a high number of users, such as airport
terminals, train stations or shopping centres.

The size of a cell depends on:




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        current and future customer call use because each base station can only support a limited
         number of calls simultaneously
        the physical terrain of an area as radio signals are blocked by man-made and natural
         obstacles such as buildings, trees and hills
        the frequency band in which the network operates can affect cell size - normally the higher
         the radio frequency (as in advanced 3G technology) the smaller the cell

The cells in a new third generation (3G) network will be smaller because 3G uses a higher radio
frequency. These cells also expand and contract in size depending on the number of simultaneous
calls being made. For this reason, 3G cells will have to overlap more than the current 2G cells.

Expanding the Mobile Network
More base stations will be in place shortly as part of a programme to enhance the infrastructure for
the existing mobile generation (2G) and create a new network for 3G.

New base stations are required as each cell can only support a finite number of mobile phone calls
at any one time. If there is a high customer demand in a cell, greater capacity is needed to enable
more calls to be made. This can be done by placing another mast in between the existing cells and
creating additional smaller cells.

3G networks will use smaller cells because they have to support the transmission of large amounts
of information and operate at a higher frequency. 3G cells also expand and contract in size
depending on the number of simultaneous calls being made. For this reason, 3G cells will need to
overlap more than the current 2G cells.

Site Sharing
Site sharing is when two or more mobile phone operators agree to put their base station antennas
on the same structure, such as water tower or roof-top. Mast sharing is when the antennas are put
on the same mast.

Operators try to share sites whenever possible. However, it is not always a viable option. Shared
masts are normally taller and have more impact on the environment because they have to
accommodate two or more sets of antennas. The more antennas that are clustered together, the
higher the overall radio frequency emissions are likely to be. Further, the radio frequencies that
different mobile network operators use are not always compatible and could interfere with existing
antennas.




                                           Page 4 of 20
Future technological developments
With the burgeoning of the information society, users of data and multimedia communications
services have come to expect and demand that these services be mobile. Third generation radio
services, which started to become available in 2003, will deliver voice, graphics, video and other
sophisticated information direct to the user, regardless of location or terminal, using base station
networks similar to those supporting existing mobile services.

However, these services will be accessible across multiple mobile and fixed line networks, as
technology converges. The key benefits of third generation include improvements in quality and
security, incorporating broadband (i.e. capable of transmitting high volumes of data) and
networked multimedia services, flexibility in service and service availability.

With growing demand for computer-based communications, so has there been growing demand
for information and entertainment services while mobile – as evidenced by the growth in the mobile
telecommunications market and, separately, the Internet. Third generation mobile's increased
capacity, data capability and greater range of services will thus provide a step-change in the way
in which individuals communicate and access information. The technology will also facilitate and
drive convergence in the computing, broadcasting and communications sectors.

Whilst voice communication over conventional handsets is still the dominant service used, the
explosion of growth in, for example, the use of the Internet has already led to the appearance on
the market of first generation Internet phones. Text messaging services in some locations
generate as much traffic as voice calls.

Other changes aniticipated over the next few years are:

Changes in mobile phone design
Because of the move towards multimedia type applications in third generation systems, the design
of handsets will change significantly and the use, ability and size of the screen becomes key.
There is already a move towards this type of product in phones being brought to the market with
Internet connectivity.

Bluetooth technology
Bluetooth is a technology specification designed to eliminate the cables and infrared links used to
connect disparate devices. Its aim is to provide small design, low-cost, short range wireless
interconnectivity between, for example, laptop computers, mobile phones, headsets, watches,
digital cameras and cars. It also enables close-range applications in public areas like e-cash
transactions.

Based on low power radio frequency technology using 2.4 GHz spectrum and a power level of
10mW, the data rate is almost 1Mbit per second and the range is approximately 10 metres. The
technology will enable users to connect a wide range of computing and telecommunications
devices easily and simply, without the need to buy, carry, or connect cables.

It also delivers opportunities for rapid ad hoc connections, and the possibility of automatic,
unconscious, connections between devices. It will virtually eliminate the need to purchase
additional or proprietary cabling to connect individual devices. Because Bluetooth can be used for
a variety of purposes, it will potentially replace multiple cable connections via a single radio link.




                                             Page 5 of 20
Mobile Phone Masts

Friday, 06, Feb 2009 01:03

What are mobile phone masts?

Mobile telephony uses a radio wave network. Mobile phones are small radio
transmitters and receivers, typically with a range of a few miles. To send or receive
calls, a handset must be within range of a transmitter mast. When a call is made
within range of a mast, the mast relays the call to a switching centre, either by
underground cable or by microwave, which routes it to the correct destination. If the
destination is a mobile phone, it too must be in range of a mast.

To provide seamless coverage across an area, mobile phone network operators must
erect enough masts to be in range of most mobile phones most of the time. Each mast
can only handle a fixed number of calls, and so multiple masts will need to be
clustered in built-up areas. The need for large numbers of low-powered masts also
stems from the need for neighbouring masts to transmit at different frequencies from
one another, to avoid 'jamming'.

Concerns about mobile phone masts relate both to their environmental impact and any
possible health impact of the radiofrequency (RF) emissions from the masts.

Background

The development of mobile phone technology is still relatively recent, and
consequently, so are its associated planning and health concerns.

A mobile phone mast counts as a 'development' for planning purposes, and is
therefore subject to planning permission. However, the Town and Country Planning
(General Permitted Development) Order 1995 introduced a substantial exception to
this rule, granting a general planning permission for masts of less than 15 metres in
height erected by a network operator licensed by the Department of Trade and
Industry.

From 1999, under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)
(Amendment) Order 1999, operators seeking to exercise this power were required to
apply to the local planning authority for a decision on whether the siting and
appearance of the development requires the authority's prior approval. Within 42
days, during which time a public notice must be displayed at the site, local authorities
can reject a proposal if it will have a serious impact on amenity, and operators can
appeal against this decision to the Secretary of State.

Public concern about the health impact of mobile phones and masts led to the
appointment of an expert committee, chaired by Sir William Stewart, in 2000. The
Stewart Report found no evidence for handsets or masts having negative health
effects, but made a number of recommendations: the report suggested that the impact
of masts near houses, schools and other buildings could have a negative
environmental and psychological effect on people, and recommended that all masts,
regardless of height, should be subject to full planning permission.


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In June 2000, the Government responded by advising local authorities to prevent the
'beam of greatest intensity' from a base station's antenna from falling on school
premises, but insisted that the report had not called for the removal of masts from
schools.

Following further consultations, in March 2001 the Government issued revised
planning guidelines, 'Planning Policy Guidance 8: Telecommunications', which
reinforced public consultation arrangements for small masts, increased the prior
approval period to 56 days, and insisted that school governors must be consulted on
any proposals for masts on or near schools or colleges. The new PPG came into force
in August 2001.

A Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development was introduced in
2002 and a review into the operation and effectiveness of the Code was published in
March 2006 by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. This report concluded that
the Code had "significantly improved" the process of planning for mobile network
development and that where operators and their agents complied with the Code, it was
considered to be working well. But the review also recommended that the Code be
revised to reflect the on-going evolution of network coverage requirements and that
the identification of an independent adjudication body be considered to deal with
complaints from any party.

Controversies

There remains concern among the public that radiofrequency emissions from mobile
phone masts have a negative impact on human health, despite the Stewart Report
finding no evidence to support this. Stewart insisted that emissions from most masts
were well below existing guidelines, but suggested that the fears about the health
impact of masts may themselves be producing negative health effects.

The ambiguity of the Stewart Report did little to assuage public fears. Although
unable to find evidence of health damage, the report warned that there was evidence
to suggest that radiofrequency emissions from handsets have "subtle effects" on the
brain, and called for children's access to phones to be restricted. Overall, Stewart
recommended a precautionary approach to the technology.

However, prior evidence did exist about the health effects caused by base stations (the
microwave transmitter dishes seen on many masts). Exposure to the immediate
vicinity of base stations is understood to potentially cause foetal abnormalities
through heating, but the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology concluded
in 1998 that their position atop masts minimises any risk.

A study carried out by researchers at the University of Essex and published in the
journal Environmental Health Perspectives in 2007 concluded that short-term
exposure to a typical GSM base station-like signal did not affect well-being or
physiological functions. The three year study of 44 electro-sensitive volunteers and
114 control volunteers found that the sensitive individuals experienced symptoms
when they thought the signal was switched on, when in fact it was off, suggesting a
psychological basis for the symptoms.



                                     Page 7 of 20
But the group Mast Sanity, which campaigns for the safe siting of mobile phone
masts, remains unconvinced, claiming that "cancer clusters, clusters of ill-health,
depression and even suicide" have been found in proximity to the masts and other
wireless sources of microwave radiation. In June 2008 the group wrote to the Prime
Minister urging him to "instruct the Chief Medical Officer and the Health Protection
Agency to issue warnings to the British public and ensure that public exposure limits
are reduced immediately".

There is also public opposition to the siting of mobile phone masts on environmental
grounds, and some people say that masts are an "eyesore".

Public hostility to mobile phone masts was considerably exacerbated by the use of the
general planning permission under the 1995 Order with little or no consultation. Some
communities found that masts had been erected almost overnight without their having
any say in the matter.

The Government's reforms of 1999 and 2001 tried to defuse the issue, urging network
operators to share masts, remove unnecessary infrastructure and consult more
thoroughly. Improving technology has also made it possible for the industry to use
more and more sub-15 metre masts.

In September 2007 Ofcom announced proposals for consultation to open up the radio
spectrum bands used by mobile phone operators Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and Orange
for their 2G networks. Ofcom proposed to remove the restriction to 2G, freeing up the
spectrum to a much wider range of uses including high-speed mobile broadband
services using 3G and noted that in particular, "future 3G services rolled out using
900MHz would require far fewer mobile phone masts than if higher frequencies were
used".

Statistics

There are now over 50,000 Mobile Phones Masts in the UK.

Source: Mast Sanity – September 2008

Mobile telephony (including an estimate for messaging) accounted for 40% of the
total time spent using telecoms services, compared to 25% in 2002.

Satisfaction with fixed-line telephony declined from 92% to 88%, while mobile
telephony satisfaction rose slightly to 94%

Source: Ofcom – Key Market Trends report – June 2008

Quotes

"The measurements carried out each year by Ofcom have shown that base station
exposures are well below the international guidelines, in many cases tens of thousands
or more times below. We continually seek the means to improve ways to
communicate with people who are concerned about the perceived health risks
associated with masts."


                                     Page 8 of 20
Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo – Daily Hansard, October 2007

"Those responsible in Government, the HPA, ICNIRP as well as the Industry will be
held to account for their continuing lack of action on this issue, continuing to fail to
protect citizens from the health hazards of Electro-Magnetic Fields."

Mast Sanity - 2008




                                      Page 9 of 20
2. Planning and Mobile phone masts
From: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/england/genpub/en/1115315371796.html

Introduction

There are about 70 million mobile phones in use in the UK - that's more than one
phone for every person. Many people have a work and a personal mobile, or a mobile
and a laptop datacard, and mobile phones are used in at least 85 per cent of all
households.

This large number of mobile phones cannot work without the network infrastructure
needed to route connections. And installations must be placed close to where people
use their phones.

Government policy is to help the growth of new and existing telecommunications
systems while minimising the environmental impact.

How mobile phone networks operate

A mobile phone must have a wireless connection to a base station in order to make a
call. A base station is no more than a wireless telephone exchange, designed to
provide local connections, with wider links to other national and international
networks.




                                      Page 10 of 20
Each base station provides coverage over a limited area, or cell, in the area around the
site. That's why in some countries mobile phones are called cell phones. To offer
comprehensive network coverage, the cells must overlap each other like a patchwork
quilt, so that users can move from one cell to another without breaking connection. As
each cell can only handle a limited number of calls, the density of base stations has to
be high in areas of heavy use.

A description with illustrations of how mobile networks operate is found in Annex B
of the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development on the
Communities and Local Government website.

Planning Framework

Mobile operators must comply with the planning system just like anyone else. In
simple terms, new operational development, including development that materially
affects the external appearance of an existing building or structure, requires planning
permission. As this excludes internal works, most picocells do not need planning
permission.

As with any other developer, minor works are unlikely to need planning permission.
So, just as a householder can normally install a television aerial or burglar alarm box
without needing planning permission, so a mobile operator may be able to make small
adjustments to an existing site or install a very small microcell onto a building.

In planning terms small changes such as these are regarded as matters where the law
need not be involved.

Where new and more significant development is proposed, the same framework also
applies - it is either permitted development under the Town and Country (General
Permitted Development) Order 1995, as amended (the GPDO) or it requires planning
permission for which an application must be made to the local planning authority.

While most permitted development for other categories, such as householder
development, can be carried out without involving the local planning authority, there
are some restrictions on rights applying to mobile operators.

Those rights substantially do not apply in certain designated areas, such as the
National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Conservation Areas. Nor do
they apply on listed buildings or scheduled monuments.

The permitted development rights are further split into two categories:

      The first category allows minor forms of development, such as the installation
       within limitations of antennas onto buildings and the installation of equipment
       cabinets with a volume of less than 2.5 cubic metres. This can therefore
       include some macro and microcell base stations where no radio tower is
       proposed.
      The second category relates to larger forms of development, such as new radio
       towers up to 15 metres in height and ground-based radio equipment housing
       up to 90 cubic metres. Development within this category must follow a prior


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       approval procedure, under which the local planning authority is given the
       opportunity to say whether it wishes to approve details of the siting and
       appearance of the installation.

Prior approval

The local authority has 56 days, starting from the day it receives the prior approval
application, firstly to make a decision on whether it wishes to approve the siting and
appearance of the development and secondly, where prior approval is required, to
notify the applicant of its decision to grant or refuse approval. Both stages of this
process must take place within 56 days. If the planning authority fails to notify the
operator of its decision(s) within 56 days, permission is deemed to have been granted
and the installation can proceed.

For a more detailed explanation see Annex 1 of Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 -
Telecommunications.

Further details:

      National Planning Policy in England

Consultation Procedures

The development of new base stations should follow the consultation process
summarised in the Planning and Consultation Flow Chart below:



                   Operators' provision of Network rollout plans



        Annual Rollout discussions between operators and local authority



        Local Area search identified location of proposed new base station



Operator undertakes site search (includes consideration of mast register, existing
           buildings and structures, planning/siting/design issues)



Site options identified and initial consultation rating and strategy for each site is
                                   applied/devised




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                Planning Authority consulted on alternative options



                              Preferred option selected



         Detailed assessment undertaken of construction and design issues



    Pre-application discussion with           Public consultation by operator with
         planning authorities                           local community



 Proposal is finalised and planning or prior approval application is submitted to
                                planning authority



(More detailed information on the stages of the consultation process can be found in
Annex D of the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development on the
Communities website).

Further details:

        Rollout plans
        Pre-application consultations
        Local planning authority consultation procedures

Appeals

Like any other applicant, mobile operators can appeal against planning authority
refusals.

Only the person who made the application can appeal. Third parties cannot appeal the
decision on another's application.

Find out more about the appeals process on the Planning Portal.

Health

While health and related concerns, such as the perception of risk, can be material
considerations as a matter of law, the Government has advised that the planning
regime is not the appropriate place for determining health safeguards.

It is the responsibility of central Government to decide what measures are necessary
to protect public health. Hence, as a matter of policy, if a proposed base station meets


                                     Page 13 of 20
the recognised guidelines for public exposure to non-ionising radiation it should not
be necessary for a planning authority, in processing an application, to consider further
the health aspects and concerns about them.

All radio base stations in the UK are built to comply with the International
Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines for exposure
to radio waves.

The mobile operators have committed to present an ICNIRP certificate with each
planning application.

The Government and the industry have jointly funded independent research into the
health effects of mobile phones and base stations. A summary of the research findings
can be found on the website of the Mobile Telephones and Health Research (MTHR)
website.

For more advice and information on exposure guidelines and monitoring see:

      Department of Health web page on electromagnetic fields
      Department of Health leaflet 'Mobile Phone Base Stations and Health' and
       companion leaflet 'Mobile Phones and Health'
      Health Protection Agency information on Mobile Telephony and Health
      Mobile Operators Association information on Public Exposure Guidelines for
       Mobile Phone Base Stations

Audit of base stations

Following publication of the report by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile
Phones and Health (IEGMP) (the Stewart Report) in May 2000, the
Radiocommunications Agency (now a part of Ofcom) was asked by central
Government to measure the exposure from cellular installations near schools and
hospitals. Ofcom has completed over 500 measurements. In every case the signal
strengths measured were well below the maximum exposure levels recommend by the
International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

View details of the audit programme including a registration form for requesting
audits to be undertaken..

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many base station sites are there?

A: At present, there are about 52,000 in the UK. Two-thirds of these are on existing
structures and buildings.

Q: Why do we need more base stations?

A: Each base station can only carry a limited number of calls or data at any one time.
In order to satisfy increasing customer demand for mobile services, increased data, or
to improve call quality, additional base stations are required in busy areas.


                                     Page 14 of 20
Q: What forms of sharing can take place?

A: There are three main ways in which a mobile phone operator can share a site:

   1. Mast sharing is when two or more mobile phone operators put their base
      station antenna on the same ground based mast or tower.
   2. Site sharing is when two or more operators locate their own ground based
      masts on the same land, or in the same vicinity.
   3. Co-location is when two or more operators place their antenna on the same
      building or structure, which is not a ground based mast.



At present around two thirds of radio base stations in the UK are either shared or
placed on existing buildings or structures.



Q: Will 3G mean more masts?

A: Yes. The cell sizes for 3G networks are smaller than for 2G. Therefore, more base
stations are required to cover the same area. In line with planning guidance, wherever
possible, operators seek to upgrade their existing base stations or share sites used by
other operators.




3. Department of Health
Electromagnetic fields

      Last modified date:

       6 June 2008

      Gateway reference:

       3857

Radiation is a broad term encompassing x-rays and gamma rays
(ionising), ultraviolet and other (non-ionising) electromagnetic
fields (EMF). Public exposure to non-ionising electromagnetic
fields such as those associated with radar, broadcast
transmitters, mobile phones, power lines and domestic
equipment comes under guidelines incorporated into a
European Recommendation (EC/519/1999). This
Recommendation sets a framework that deals with limiting


                                    Page 15 of 20
public exposure, providing public information and undertaking
research. In this country the Health Protection Agency (HPA)
advises on risks from radiations including electromagnetic fields.
HPA comments on the SAGE First Interim Assessment
Following the publication of the SAGE report, the Minister for
Public Health wrote to the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to
ask for its 'considered view on the SAGE report and the
implications of its recommendations for public health and
provide advice to Government'.
     The HPA response (opens new window)
     Download the Minister's reply (PDF, 40K)

New advice in this country
In March 2004, the NRPB (now HPA) published advice on
limiting public exposure to electromagnetic fields following an
extensive review of the science and a public consultation on its
web site. This advice recommends the adoption of the levels in
the EMF guidelines published by the International Commission
on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection. The NRPB noted that
there have been some population studies that point to the
possibility of effects below the guidelines, in particular for power
frequency magnetic fields. It has therefore recommended that
Government “consider the possible need for further
precautionary measures.”
In response to the NRPB’s published advice, the then
Parliamentary Under Secretary for Public Health (Melanie
Johnson) wrote to the Chairman of the NRPB welcoming the
new advice. The letter included a 10 point annex (reproduced
under "Interdepartmental response to NRPB Advice in March
2004" below ) briefly describing the way Government intends to
implement the NRPB advice. It points to the need for inter-
departmental working and introduces the initial plans for a wider
stakeholder process in order to consider the possible need for
further precautionary measures in respect of extremely low
frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields (EMF)
The Stakeholder Advisory Group on ELF EMFs (SAGE) has
been set up by the Department of Health to explore the
implications and to make practical recommendations for a



                                Page 16 of 20
precautionary approach to power frequency electric and
magnetic fields.
The first SAGE report can be found below:
     Download SAGE first interim assessment: Power Lines and Property, Wiring
      in Homes, and Electrical Equipment in Homes (Gateway ref: 3857) (PDF,
      2297K)
     Download Supporting papers to the SAGE first interim assessment: Power
      Lines and Property, Wiring in Homes, and Electrical Equipment in Homes
      (Gateway ref: 3857) (PDF, 1427K)
     Stakeholder Advisory Group on extremely low frequency (ELF)
      electromagnetic fields (EMF) (SAGE) (opens new window)
     Health Protection Agency pages on electromagnetic fields (opens new
      window)
     International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection -
      www.icnirp.de (opens new window)

Interdepartmental response to NRPB Advice in March 2004

  1. Government welcomes the publication of new EMF guidelines from the
     National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB). Previous NRPB guidelines
     were issued in 1993 and we note NRPB's acknowledgement of the continuing
     development of the scientific understanding of EMF effects. The Guidelines
     apply to the EMF (electromagnetic fields) associated with power lines, mobile
     phones and a vast array of electrical and electronic equipment used in
     everyday life.
  2. The NRPB draft guidelines were placed on its web site last year. This
     provided an opportunity for interested individuals and groups to submit
     comments. These responses included Government Departments, public
     concern groups and industrial interests. The NRPB has given consideration to
     these responses and we welcome this approach.
  3. The new NRPB guidelines are more restrictive for public exposure than for
     occupational exposure because of the wider range of susceptibilities of the
     general public and their less controlled environment. This two-tier approach is
     similar to that of the International Commission on Non-ionising Radiation
     Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines published in 1998. NRPB recommend using
     the ICNIRP levels in the interests of international harmonisation. The NRPB
     recognise that further reviews (eg WHO) and research programme results are
     expected over the next few years.
  4. The NRPB guidelines incorporate a significant cautionary element but
     specifically do not take into account social or economic factors or the risks or
     disbenefits that may occur from action to limit exposure.
  5. In 1999, Government agreed an EU Recommendation on public exposure
     (EC/519/1999) which advocated the use of ICNIRP levels but accepts the need
     for consideration of risks and benefits when implementing the guidelines.
  6. Following publication of the Stewart Report on Mobile Phones and Health
     (2000), the mobile phone industry voluntarily adopted ICNIRP guidelines for
     public exposure to radio frequency fields. All cellular radio base stations
     comply with ICNIRP public exposure guidelines.


                                  Page 17 of 20
    7.  For all other sources, the Government expects the NRPB guidelines to be
       implemented in line with the terms of the EU Recommendation, that is, taking
       account of the risks and benefits of action. Preliminary discussions have
       already taken place to identify what reasonable actions might be taken.
    8. The occupational exposure guidelines have recently been incorporated in an
       EU Directive that will have to be transposed into UK law in 2008. The
       Government recommends that industry prepare for these new Regulations by
       adopting procedures to comply with the guidelines over the intervening
       period. The Health and Safety Commission expects to undertake a
       consultative exercise on new Regulations in 2005/06.
    9. At the start of the review process Government had asked the NRPB to
       consider where the scientific uncertainty might invoke the need for
       precautionary options appropriate for EMF protection. A precautionary
       approach has already been adopted for mobile phones technology
       (radiofrequency) following the Stewart Report. Government has recently
       engaged in preliminary stakeholder discussions to consider power lines and
       NRPB advice suggests that this process should be continued, focussing on the
       possible health effects of continuous low level exposure to power frequency
       electromagnetic fields.
    10. The Government will be exploring further the practical applications of
       precautionary measures within a stakeholder engagement process. This will be
       the subject of wide consultation and will explore any risks and benefits arising
       in the same manner as a Regulatory Impact Assessment




4. News headlines
From The Sunday Times
April 22, 2007

Cancer clusters at phone masts
Daniel Foggo
SEVEN clusters of cancer and other serious illnesses have been discovered around mobile
phone masts, raising concerns over the technology’s potential impact on health.

Studies of the sites show high incidences of cancer, brain haemorrhages and high blood
pressure within a radius of 400 yards of mobile phone masts.

One of the studies, in Warwickshire, showed a cluster of 31 cancers around a single street. A
quarter of the 30 staff at a special school within sight of the 90ft high mast have developed
tumours since 2000, while another quarter have suffered significant health problems.

The mast is being pulled down by the mobile phone after the presentation of the
evidenceoperator O2 by local protesters. While rejecting any links to ill-health, O2 admitted
the decision was “clearly rare and unusual”.




                                        Page 18 of 20
Phone masts have provoked protests throughout Britain with thousands of people objecting
each week to planning applications. There are about 47,000 masts in the UK.

Dr John Walker, a scientist who compiled the cluster studies with the help of local
campaigners in Devon, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands, said he was
convinced they showed a potential link between the angle of the beam of radiation emitted
from the masts’ antennae and illnesses discovered in local populations.

“Masts should be moved away from conurbations and schools and the power turned down,”
he said.

Some scientists already believe such a link exists and studies in other European countries
suggest a rise in cancers close to masts. In 2005 Sir William Stewart, chairman of the Health
Protection Agency, said he found four such studies to be of concern but that the health risk
remained unproven.




                                       Page 19 of 20
County council poised to ban mobile phone masts


Last Updated: 3:56PM BST 19 Jun 2001

A LOCAL authority is poised to become the first to refuse to allow the building of
mobile phone masts on its land.

Kent County Council says the ban, expected on Monday, will "protect residents from
the possible effects of mobile phone masts". The authority is believed to be the first in
Britain to take such a tough line while it waits for the Government to pass national
legislation. Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, the council leader, said yesterday: "There are very
real fears in Kent about the safety of mobile phone masts.

"There are about 22,000 masts already erected and it is estimated that 60,000 to
100,000 new phone masts will be required in the next three to five years in the UK.
New legislation can take a very long time and many new masts may be created in
Kent before any legislation comes into force. We must take action now."

Mr Bruce-Lockhart cited the Government-commissioned Stewart Report, published
last May, as a reason for the policy. The report recommended a precautionary
approach. While the evidence was inconclusive overall, it stated: "Some people's
well-being may be adversely affected by the environmental impact of the mobile
phone base stations sited next to houses, schools or other buildings."

It also set out evidence for some biological effects from the transmissions, particularly
on the human brain, although these are yet to be proved harmful. Mr Bruce-Lockhart
said: "It is a question of the county council simply standing up for the public and
saying we do not understand all the issues here, but there are serious health concerns
raised in the Stewart Report.

"The Government should hurry up. We expected swift action after publication of the
report but nothing has happened. Ministers have been unfeasibly slow." The council
will also advise school governors to follow its lead, and advise them to restrict
students' use of mobile phones. The action follows the introduction in 1999 of stricter
controls imposed by the council on the erection of masts beside roads.

As a result, the council is legally challenging the phone giant One2One over the
erection of a mast in Thanet, east Kent. It also plans to carry out regular checks on the
emissions of masts already on its property and support district councils in opposing
phone companies.




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