U.K. Gov't MISREPRESENTS Stewart Recommendations..
9 August 2000
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: U.K. Gov't MISREPRESENTS Stewart recommendations (Philips)..
Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2000 20:05:35 -0500
From: Roy Beavers
Organization: EMF-L Bulletin Board
Alasdair has reported about this before..... The U.K. Government does not appear to understand the IEGMP (Stewart Group) Report...... Or ... are they deliberately misrepresenting it???? (Not good politics ... these days, Mr. Blair......guru....)
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: When You Don't like News - You Shoot The Messenger(Reidlinger)..
Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2000 22:39:57
From: Alasdair Philips
Robert R (in his email to Randy), referred to the UK Expert Group Report (Sir William Stewart's Committee). It is available online at www.iegmp.org.uk
The UK Department of Environment, Transport and Regions has just issued a new flawed Consultation document about this.
My response is below and details of the DETR document are below that. See especially my para 3 about Stewart 1.43, where he states that RF exposure to the public from masts should be "as low as possible commensurate with an effective telecomms system".
This is currently about 500 times less power than the max receommended by ICNIRP, and this level will fall even further with the next generation of mobile phones (G3). We need to INSIST that cellular companies minimise RF field exposure to the public by only using LOW POWER transmitter masts near to residential and public work areas....... At present they somtimes do this and at other times and places use levels far higher than necessary to minimise costs and to speed up 'roll-out' of their systems.
I will publish a response on the www.powerwatch.org.uk website soon.
In the meantime here is my immediate response:
1st August 2000
The UK DETR Minister, Nick Raynsford MP, recently sent a VERY MISLEADING letter to all English Councils and MPs.
In it he writes that if masts comply with ‘ICNIRP’ guidance, “as recommended by Stewart on a precautionary basis”, then local planning authorities need not concern themselves further with possible adverse health effects.
This has just (31.07.2000) been followed up with a similar statements in the Consultation Document on planning for mobile telecomms and in the proposed revision to PPG8. As all masts already comply with the ICNIRP guidance, this effectively implies that local councils have no usable power to influence mast siting on a precautionary basis. That is just plain wrong.
The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, in The Stewart Report ‘Advice to Government’ includes: "[1.43] We 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 lowest practical levels that will be commensurate with the tele-communications system operating effectively.” [Italics supplied.]
This is typically 500 fold less in power terms than ICNIRP! Even the cellular industry agree that they can work to a maximum 3 V/m or less public exposure signal levels ~ at 1800 MHz this is about a 350 times lower maximum power than permitted by the ICNIRP guidance.
The Government response to Stewart 1.43 is: “The Government would expect an efficient mobile network operator to ensure that this recommendation is met already. As our draft planning guidance makes clear, in submitting a planning application an operator should provide the Local Planning Authority with a statement that the proposed development will meet ICNIRP guidelines. Providing this assurance is given, it should not be necessary for a planning authority, in processing an application, to consider the level of the radiofrequency field to which the public will be exposed.” In fact, operators plan their networks on both cost and ease of implementation and NOT on a “subjecting the public to the the lowest levels of RF field commensurate with an effective tele-communications system” basis. These are NOT the same!
The DETR had already enabled councils to achieve suitable mast siting in previous advice. In particular, in paragraph 10 of the DETR Circular No.4 (18 June 1999) 'Planning for Telecommunications', they pointed out that: "local planning authorities should have previously formed a view, particularly in the course of development plan preparation, on sites in their area that might be suitable for telecommunications development".
Once such sites have been identified, then "If an operator makes an application relating to a location which is not on the register of sites, the local authority may reasonably expect the applicant to show that no site on the register would present a practicable alternative to the location proposed." This is re-stated in the new Consultation Document.
In this way, local planning authorities can influence considerable power over the location of future masts. I suggest that this is particularly appropriate for addressing public concern.
The Consultation Document implies that many more sites are likely to be needed to implement the next generation (“3G”) mobile phone system.
Council planning departments should work with local communities in identifying suitable sites for masts, usually away from sensitive sites such as schools and residential housing. Where masts need to be sited in residential areas, then the antennas should be mounted as high as possible, and in every case above the roof levels of nearby properties, in order to achieve exposure levels "as low as practicable".
Low height street furniture (lamp post) masts near to houses will virtually never comply with the Stewart 1.43 advice. In many cases cellular operators are now installing many of these because of the difficulties they have had in the past in gaining approval for full size (15m or higher) masts. In almost all cases an appropriately sited full size mast or ones on the roof of a high building, will offer lower levels of RF and microwave exposure to nearby residents.
The Cellular Operators do have the right to have an adequate number of suitably located masts. It is vital that local planning authorities, in conjunction with local communities, identify suitable sites formasts to avoid these difficulties,
Alasdair Philips, BSc(Eng), DAgE, MIAgE
Director, UK Powerwatch, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
EMC Engineer and EMF-bioeffects researcher
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