Cellular Phone:
Alan Meyer's summary of IEGMP report..

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Posted:
1 June 2000

////The document below was prepared by Alan Meyer, Esquire, of the Halsey - Meyer - Higgins firm of solicitors in London.  He has selected the most important points of the IEGMP (Stewart Group) Report and isolated them for special attention by the U.K. Government in its follow-up action.......guru....../////


Halsey Meyer Higgins
Solicitors

56 BUCKINGHAM GATE      * WESTMINSTER LONDON SWIE 6AE
TELEPHONE: 0171 828 8772 DX2381 VICTORIA 1
FAX: 0171 828 8714

MOBILE PHONES - MOBILE NETWORKS - SAFETY

Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phone (IEGMP)

The Stewart Enquiry Report

On 11th May 2000 the Stewart Enquiry Report on Mobile Phones and health was published together with the government's response.

Conclusions:
 

"The Balance of Evidence to date does not suggest that emissions from Mobile Phones and Base Stations put the Health of the UK population at risk."

"There is now some preliminary scientific evidence that exposures to Radio frequency (RF) Radiation may cause subtle effects on biological functions, including those of the brain. This does not necessarily mean that health is affected but it is not possible to say that exposure to RF Radiation, even at levels below national guidelines, is totally without potential adverse effects."

"For Base Stations emissions exposures of the general population will be to the whole body but normally at levels of intensity many times less than those from handsets."

"Some people's well being may be adversely affected by the environmental impact of mobile phone base stations sited next to houses, schools or other buildings ,as well as by the fear of perceived direct effects."

"For all Base Stations, including those with masts under 15 meters, permitted development rights should be revoked, and the siting of all new base stations should be subject to the normal planning process."


The Government's response from Yvette Cooper - Minister for Public Health:

"The Group has recommended that the widespread use of Mobile Phones by children for non-essential calls should be discouraged. Sir William also recommends that an information leaflet be made widely available to the Public, setting out the Report's advice."

"We accept that Recommendation. I think parents will agree that it must be sensible to be more cautious when it comes to children's health."

"The Government has accepted many of the Recommendations of the IEGMP Report immediately and will be giving urgent consideration to those issues which require more detailed examination."

Recommendations:

"1.26 We recommend that as a precautionary approach, the ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure be adopted for use in the UK rather than the NRPB guidelines."

Government Response:

"The Government agrees, in line with the Recommended precautionary approach, that emissions from Mobile Phones and base stations should meet the ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure as expressed in the EU Council Recommendation of 12th July 1999."

Recommendations (continued):

"1.31  We are concerned at the indirect adverse impact which current planning procedures are having on those who have been, or are subjected to, the often insensitive siting of Base Stations.  Adverse impacts on the local environment may adversely impact on the Public's well being as much as any direct health effects."

"1.33  We conclude 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."

"1.36  We recommend that for all Base Stations, including those with Masts under 15 metres permitted Rights for  their erections be revoked and the siting of all new Base Stations should be subject to the normal planning process."  (Report paragraphs 6.43-6.46 and 6.55-6.62)

Government Response:

"The Government is minded to introduce a requirement for full planning permission for all new telecommunications 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 the new arrangements.  We shall issue a Consultation Paper on this and related guidance which will include consideration of health concerns."

Recommendations (continued)

"1.41  We recommend that particular attentions should be paid initially to the auditing of base stations near to schools and other sensitive sites."  (Report paragraphs 6.54 and 6.63-6.68).

"1.42  We recommend in relation to Macrocell Base Stations sited within school grounds that the beam of greatest intensity (Report paragraphs 4.32-4.35 and 6.63-6.68) 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."

Government Response:

"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'."

Recommendations (continued)

"1.57  On the basis of the current state of knowledge we recommend that priority be given to a number of areas of research related particularly to signals from handsets." (Report paragraph 5.270).

"1.58 We recommend that a substantial research programme should operate under the aegis of a demonstrably independent panel."
 

Government Response:

"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 million pounds, which will result in further research findings emerging over the next few years. It is planned to launch this programme by September 2000.

Recommendations (continued):

"1.61 We recommend 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."
Government Response:

"The Government agrees that more information about Mobile Phone technology should be available. 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."

National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB)

"1.67 We recommend that the NRPB gives greater priority to the execution of a more open approach to issues of public concern such as Mobile Phone technology and that it is proactive rather than reactive in its approach."

"1.68 We recommend that the public concerns about risk be addressed by NRPB in a more sensitive and informative manner."

"1.70 We recommend that in a rapidly emerging field such as Mobile Phone technology where there is little peer-reviewed evidence on which to base advice, the totality of the information available, including non-peer-reviewed data and anecdotal evidence, be taken into account when advise is proffered."
(Report: paragraphs 3.44, 3.45 and 3.46)

Summary of main Stewart Enquiry Recommendations:

Mobile Phones

1. All purchasers should be provided with sufficient information at the point of sale in the future to make "an informed choice" - as opposed to merely a choice.

2. Parents should be encouraged to limit the use of Mobiles by their children so that they do not make prolonged Mobile Phone calls regularly each day.

Mast and Base Stations:
1. Full planning permission should be required for all Masts and Base Stations regardless of height.

2. With regard to schools "it is recommended in relation to Macrocell Base Stations sited within school grounds or near to school grounds, that the beam of greasiest intensity should not fall on any part of the school grounds or buildings without the agreement of the school and the parents."

Generally:
1. A substantial research programme should operate under the aegis of a demonstrably Independent Panel.

2. That in all regards the "Precautionary Approach" advocated by the European Union should be adopted and particularly with regard to Planning Consents for Masts.

3. That the issue of possible health effects of Mobile Phones technology should be the subject of a further review in three years' time, or earlier if circumstances demand it. (Report, paragraph 5.273)

CAUTIONARY CONCERNS IMMEDIATELY ARISING FROM THE REPORT:

The main immediate concerns arising from the Report and from the Government's response fall into two main categories.

Planning: - Pending further Government consultation and Planning guidance.

Schools: - Pending proper action by the Government relating to the group's recommendation concerning "the Beam of greatest intensity" where currently the Beam falls on "any part of the school grounds or buildings."

Planning:
1. That until there is legislation, the existing Planning requirements and GPDO will remain valid and in force.

2. That many Local Planning Authorities still appear not to understand that the Court of Appeal in 1998 in Newport BC -v- Secretary of State for Wales (1998) JPL377 as subsequently confirmed in the Court of Appeal in R -v- Tandridge District Council ex parte Mohamed Al Fayed - Times Law Reports 1st February 2000, have confirmed that "genuine public fear and concern is a material planning consideration even if that fear is irrational and not based upon evidence."

The above Court of Appeal Decisions permit - pending any changes in legislation arising out of the Stewart Report and the Government's proposed further Consultation - taking properly into account local public concerns. In addition, under the changed GPDO Prior Approval Notification arrangements, a Local Planning Authority can nowadays require the Applicant to go through a full Planning Application process.

3. That notwithstanding the above, many Local Planning Authorities are not up to speed with the current legal situation on Planning because of the continuance of the existence of the Planing Policy Guidance Circular PPG8 - the main parts of which precede the court of Appeal Decisions and do not take into account in any way the need to obtain proper advice and guidance, firstly from the HSE under paragraph 37 of PPG8 and indirectly as a result, from NRPB.

However, in the light of the Stewart Enquiry's Recommendations set out above with regard to the NRPB - see Report paragraphs 3.45 and 3.46 - presumably guidance will now be much more neutral and helpful and provide the full guidance as recommended to Planning Committees to enable them to come to reasonable conclusions taking fully into account the views of the local communities Planning Authorities are there to represent.

Schools:

"The Beam of the greatest intensity" should not fall on any part of the school grounds or buildings without the permission of the school and the parents (Report, paragraph 6.68).

1. At the Press Conference (before the Government's response was available) Sir William Stewart, answering a question as to what should now happen where the Beam of the greatest intensity from an existing Mast on a school building or its grounds, falls "on any part of the school building or grounds" replied:
"Until the Beam ceases to fall on any part of the school or its grounds such a Mast should be decommissioned".
Sir William's reply does not now fully accord with the Governmental response which suggests that such an issue is a matter for further work with the Stewart Group to take forward the recommendation on "the Beam of greatest intensity".

2 Since the Report was published it has become clear that the IEGMP was denied access to the readily available 1996 published Report of Professors A.A. Kolodynski and V.V. Kolodynski into the Latvian Radio Location Statement and the apparent learning deficit effects on a wide body of children living in an area extending many kilometres in front of the Station at Skrunda in Latvia - as opposed to the similar size control group of children living behind the installation who were not affected by its pulsed modulated RF signal (see Report, paragraph 5.246).


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