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22/03/2002 - Old EMF News

5th March 02 -  Mobile masts are 'safe near schools' - Various newspapers and other media.
The electromagnetic emissions from the 100 mobile phone masts in and around schools are well within international safety limits, Douglas Alexander, e-commerce minister, claimed yesterday. The Radiocommunications Agency (RA), an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, carried out the study between December 2000 and December 2001.

By its own admission, the RA was not measuring the 'hotspots' of radiation that are found much closer to base stations than the main beam. These hotspots can be clearly seen in the antenna companies' modelling of emissions. These will not be a problem unless a child or teacher has a seat, in which they spend a substantial period of time, directly in one of these spots. ICNIRP levels, as we say repeatedly, are very good at protecting us from the heating effect of the emissions from mobile phone masts. Everybody accepts that heating is not possible at the low power used.

Currents concerns centre around not the averaged microwave levels which is what the RA measures. It is about the informational content of the signals, the amplitude pulsing, which may cause adverse health effects in a proportion (which proportion is as yet unknown as no research has yet been funded to look at this aspect) of the population.

Mr Alexander, announcing the results, pledged to continue testing programmes at the same rate as those already carried out, and said they would be widened
to include other locations. Whilst the RA continues to identify whether base stations only meet ICNIRP, it is a waste of public money. They should be investigating whether the telecommunications operator concerned is operating at a level "as low as possible commensurate with the effective operation of the system" (PPG8 Appendix 100 predicate). This is often exceeded, and this, not ICNIRP, is the precautionary measure advocated in the Stewart Report, and was also confirmed by the Trade and Industry Committee Notice No. 12, 3 April 2001 HC 330.

Mr Alexander added: "Mobile phones are changing the way we live and work. I am committed to continuing this programme, as mobile communications remain important in the development of our society and economy." Whilst the government and the mobile phone using public are equally committed to the
rollout of the telecommunications infrastructure, there is no reason why schools should not do their own investigations as to the field levels pupils and staff are
exposed to. This worked very well in the '90s, when as a result of school experiments, the official Radon map of Britain was redrawn due to inadequacies in previous NRPB measurements.

For further information about mast emissions, health research and how to measure fields see our CD.

How many antenna sets are allowed on an existing structure without full planning permission being needed?
What changes DO need full planning permission?
This has been a question of concern with regard to upgrades of existing equipment and de minimis notifications. Luckily, due to the hard work and clear correspondence of a concerned member of the public, we have clarification from Stephen Byers of the DTLR, which we have summarised (and expanded on) below.

This is really important as many 'upgrades to 3G' are being given the nod by planners unaware that they are acting illegally.

GPDO and circular 4/99 paragraphs A.1(g)(iii) and A.1(h)(iii) set a limit on the number of antenna systems that may be placed on a particular building without the need to seek planning permission.
The explanatory section of the GPDO defines an antenna system as: "a set of antennas installed on a building or structure and operated by a single telecommunications code system operator in accordance with his licence."
Permitted development rights are not extended to development which would result in the presence of more than two antenna systems [not operators] on a building or structure, which would result in the presence of:-
    more than two antenna systems on a building or structure (other than a mast) less than 15 metres in height
    more than two antenna systems on a mast located on such a building or structure or on a building or structure (other than a mast) over 15 metres in height, except where a third antenna set is to be located below a height of 15 metres.

So, full planning permission is required for 4 sets of antennas on structures of 15m+ (or 3 sets if all 3 are to be above 15 metres high) and 3 antenna sets on a building or structure less than 15 metres high.

"As the major Operators hold their original GSM/PCN licence and now a 3G licence, does this entitle them to two sets at each site?"
Not without full planning permission!!! The above permitted development rights are not restricted or expanded by an operators licence. Even if the licence provides for the provision of 10 antenna systems by the code operator it would still be restricted by the above provisions and having more than one licence would not override these provisions.

What might constitute 'de minimis' developments, not needing full planning permission?
Set out in the 1999 revision of the GPDO and reproduced at appendix B (TELECOMMUNICATIONS CODE SYSTEM OPERATORS) to Circular 04/99, the calculations for determining de minimis (small antenna) are - 'An antenna, for use in connection with a telephone system operating on a point to fixed multi-point basis, which does not exceed 50cm in any linear measurement and which does not, in two dimensional profile, have an area exceeding 1,591 sq cm (these measurements excludes brackets etc)'.

5.(a) Where the limits and conditions on the permitted development rights apply to antennas, they apply to all antennas, and not just those operating in the microwave range; planning limitations are based on size and land use conditions and not on electrical properties.
5 d) an antenna (not including a maximum of two small antennas) may be installed on a building (other than a dwellinghouse) or structure of 15m or more in height, or on a mast located on such a building or structure (except in the case of listed buildings, scheduled …, provided that: -dish antenna..not exceed 1.3m ..accumulative size..not to exceed 3.5m ...etc
-in other cases, the development would result in the presence on the building or structure of not more than 3 antenna systems.
At a maintenance or any other visit to an existing site, the operator might exchange existing 2G antennas, erected under permitted development rights, with interactive 2G / 3G antennas. Permitted development rights apply to the number of antenna sets, so replacing one set with another may not cause them to be in breach of their licence. However, replacing existing antennas with ones which are substantially longer, is hardly a 'de minimis' development.
PPG8 revised 22nd August 2001, paragraph 20, says that the accumulative effect on an existing structure should also be taken into account
If people are not given the opportunity to object to new developments, it could violate their rights to a fair hearing, according to article 6 of the Human Rights Act.

Breaches of output conditions
Planning permission is solely granted on the condition that the guidelines are not exceeded. If a greater output is achieved (per channel) than the guidelines then in effect this is a breach of the planning conditions, and a breach of condition notice could be issued by the LPA, and the operator prosecuted in the Magistrates for the offence, and fined for that offence and every continuing day of the offence. It would not though get the mast removed, but would enforce the strict enforcement of the maximum lawful emissions.
It is another question as to whether you could encourage the LPA to take that course of action, you may need independent evidence as to the precise outputs on more than one occasion, as most local authorities take the view that they are not competent to make judgements as to the effects of emissions from masts. The HSA are in law the policing authority, and the RA would be the agency to establish the output.
5 Mar 2002
Mobile operators challenge proposed legislation changes in Ireland
Taken from a report by Francess McDonnell

At the end of this month, the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont will decide whether to change current legislation to make it compulsory for mobile phone operators to obtain full planning permission before constructing new transmitter sites. This proposed change is in response to increased numbers of objections from local communities, many on the basis of health scares.

The Department of the Environment believes this would give district councils and their communities more say in the location of new mobile transmitter sites. But Ms Nicole Hughes, public affairs manager of the Federation of the Electronics Industry, said it has asked the Assembly to reconsider the proposed legislation and instead work with the industry to find a better solution. She says it would delay improvements to the existing network and the roll-out of 3G infrastructure in the North ."What we would like to see is a system where permitted development is granted within a 56-day time frame. This would give interested parties an opportunity to review the proposed development and operators a degree of certainty for their business plans," Ms Hughes said.

The proposed changes to the existing legislation in the North would mean that Northern Ireland would have the strictest planning regulations governing the mobile phone industry in the UK.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the future creation of 3,000 jobs per annum could be jeopardised if Northern Ireland was unable to secure new investment because of its telecommunication infrastructure.

Definitions of Macrocells, Microcells and Picocells
Partly taken from 'Antennas and Propagation for Wireless Communication Systems' - Simon Saunders. 1999 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. ISBN 0 471 98609 7. Page 8, and also the industry definitions from the Federation of Electronic Industries MTAG group.

    Designed to provide the main mobile services infrastructure (including both voice and paging), particularly outdoors, to rural, suburban and urban environments with medium traffic densities. Base station antenna heights are greater than the surrounding buildings, providing a clear view of the surrounding terrain. Cell radius from at least 500 metres up to a maximum of about 35 km. Typical transmitter powers in tens of watts, resulting in Equivalent Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) in the range 16 to 30 dBW (40 to 1000 watts) per channel. Macro base stations typically have between 4 and 8 channels.

    Designed to provide radio infill coverage and additional call capacity for high traffic densities in urban and suburban areas to users both outdoors and within buildings. Base station antennas are lower than nearby building rooftops, so coverage area is primarily defined by the street layout. Cell coverage up to around 500 m. Typical transmitter powers of a few watts, resulting in Equivalent Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) in the range 2 to 15 dBW (1.6 to 30 watts) per channel. Micro base stations typically have between 2 and 6 channels.

    Very high traffic density or high data rate applications, indoor environments. Users may be both mobile and fixed; fixed users are exemplified by wireless local area networks (wLANs) between computers. Coverage is defined by the shape and characteristics of rooms, and service quality is dictated by the presence of furniture and people. Very low power (up to about 1 watt EIRP).

Output powers from GSM900 and GSM1800 base station transmitters, as defined in the GSM Phase 2+ technical standard,
specified by ESTI, the European Standards Institute for Telecommunications.
Taken from 'Exposure to Radio Waves near Mobile Phone Base Stations' - Simon Mann et al. 2000 NRPB-R321 ISBN 0 85951 455 2. Page 9

The figures are transmitter power out from the antenna per channel.
    There are 8 classes of GSM900 macrocells from 2.5 to 640 watts.
    There are 4 classes of GSM1800 macrocells from 2.5 to 40 watts.
    There are 3 classes of GSM900 microcells from 0.05 to 1.6 watts.
    There are 3 classes of GSM1800 macrocells from 0.008 to 2.5 watts.
    The GSM900 picocells are from 0.02 and 0.1 watts.
    The GSM1800 picocells are from 0.04 and 0.2 watts.

We know that Orange, at least, is not sticking to these ETSI Standard levels but are
putting high powered macrocell level transmitters on low height Microcell sites.


Cellphone shields are not all useless, but they may beg the question of how we keep safe.
(Our CD has a lot of information about reducing exposure from cell phones).

This is a debate that has been exercising the minds, pens and keyboards of a lot of people recently, since the US Federal Trade Commission on CBC News 20.02.02 said they were useless.

Whilst many members of the cellphone-using public are uncertain about the immediate or long-term risks there may be in using a phone, should they shield themselves or not?

Microshield in the UK produces a phone shield which has been proven to reduce emissions and has given users relief from mobile use-related symptoms. The UK DTI and the UK NRPB acknowledge that the Microshield case works!

Roy Beavers' (http://www.feb.se/EMFguru/index.html) email communication makes the point that until it is known what may be causing the damage, devices 'protecting' the public may be protecting against the wrong thing, leading to a feeling of false security, and potentially more exposure than would be the case without a 'safety device' in place. The Government advocating low SARs as the only consideration in phone choice is unhelpful.

Joanne Suder, the Baltimore attorney, acting on behalf of a Nokia employee who has a brain tumour which he blames on mobile phone use, reminds us that Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson and other handset manufacturers have filed patents to create radiation-shielding technology. The Nokia patent contains a description for the creation of a device that would protect the cells in a user's head from radiation. "It has been suggested that radio frequency irradiation may stimulate extra growth among supportive cells in the nerve system, which in the worst case it has been suggested could lead to a development of a malignant tumour."

Perhaps the most important thing the public can do to protect themselves is to reduce their usage (indeed, to emergency or minimum) conversation time, and ensure they are always in a strong signal area.

More calls mean more masts near to the homes and workplaces of the people making or receiving the calls. Most new masts are to cope with increased call capacity, not to add extra coverage, unless the base station is for 3G ONLY. All base-station applications should be looked at to see if they include GSM capability. If they do, then too many calls are already being sent or received in that area by members of the general public. Or, people are complaining that mobiles don't work well enough inside their homes (yes, this is a COMMON complaint to Network Operators!) so that a new mast is needed that HAS TO BE NEAR to those houses!

Mast action groups could also campaign for people with ordinary land-lines not to call mobile numbers. Those calls earn the mobile networks even more than the mobile-mobile calls. Most of these land-line to mobile calls are made by people at work, so they aren't even directly paying for them - but they still require more masts.

Roy Beavers makes the point that it is not only mobile phones and their masts that we need to be aware of, but the whole BLUE WORLD (named after the expansion of technologies including Blue Tooth) we need to be wary of. He cites wLAN systems, where twenty or thirty computers (or other teaching devices) are all being interconnected by wireless (see our CD).
March 1st 2002
Following a series on Vermont Public Radio on Teens and Cell phones, this was the final comment.

Do we as non-teens really try to understand their viewpoint? I found myself being able to sympathise with a long-lost feeling of nostalgia that really surprised me... And I didn't have a wild social life, most of the time I lived in hope...

Alia Stavrand Woolf of CHARLOTTE, VERMONT   
"I love cell phones. I have a soft spot for the tiny faceplates that come in fluorescent pink, silver, leopard-print, (and now red white and blue).
Just one glimpse of its liquid crystal display is enough to make me go weak in the knees.
And I love the feel of a cell phone in my hand, that small weight that falls so naturally into the curve of my palm never fails to summon a shiver of pleasure.
I'm not alone in my adoration. Cell phones are the accessory of my generation. Alas, unlike almost every single one of my peers, I do not own a cell phone.
There is a hole where I should be full, there is a sense of emptiness where there should be a warm hum, and there is silence where there should be a familiar pop tune ring. I am however, saving up. The day I own a cell phone will be the day I can say I've truly arrived."

"Cell phones and teenagers couldn't be a more perfect match. Not only can we choose from the most current faceplates, but we can also choose which song we want it to play when it rings. Big Pimpin, Beethoven, 1812 Overture, Britney Spears, Aretha Franklin. It's techno without being intimidating. My own favourite song can greet me when a friend calls. And if I'm feeling fickle, it can accommodate. Every day, I can be greeted by my new favourite song. How could that be intimidating? It's so cute, and it has my friends on the other line. It's amazing to think that something so tiny and sleek can be so fast and powerful.
This is the innovation that we grew up with; sure, we're awfully comfortable with computers, but Generation X grew up with those too. No one else has had cell phones. Nope, we're the first ones to have the privilege of a youthful acquaintance. Now, quite honestly, I would avoid giving my cell number to my parents. I want to avoid their calling at all hours to check up on me. I wouldn't need to worry about them calling from their own cell phones though. Cell phones are my father's nemesis; they are the enemy of what he considers his 'privacy.' I don't get it. Being unreachable is more my nightmare than my fantasy. Most vital social happenings are spur of the moment, and if you can't be reached, well, you're not invited. Teenagers have built an almost 24-hour social cycle, that includes cell calls, I-Ming and emailing over the Internet and to be detached from that while everyone else is still locked in, well, it means being out of the loop, which is the ultimate social misstep."

"Before I commit to a provider, I really have to pass the first hurdle - picking a colour. I've already decided that he's going to sleep right next to my bed,
and I've named him. He's going to be my little C.P."

18th February 2002 (Sweden) - Planet Ark http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.
Three Volvo models pose electromagnetic risk - new study results.
Story in Swedish magazine Vi bilagare by Anna Peltola - STOCKHOLM

Three models (V70, S60 and S80) made by Volvo Car Corp, known for its safety-conscious luxury sedans, have electromagnetic fields up to 80 times higher than levels considered safe, a study published last week said. A Volvo Car spokesman did not dispute the microtesla measurements of the study conducted by the magazine which tested a total of 14 cars including models from Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Saab, Renault and Toyota .

The three Volvo models subjected the driver to magnetic fields of up to 12-18 microtesla.
They were highest on the drivers' left foot area.

However, they will have extended quite widely across the front seats of the vehicle and probably into the rear seats as well.
People who suffer from electrical hypersensitivity (ES) can often have problems in driving or being driven in cars because of high EMFs.
"Because there is no evidence about risks of electromagnetic fields in cars, Volvo is not currently taking technical or other measures," the automobile group,
owned by U.S. automaker Ford Motor Corp, said in a statement. Recent research findings from Dr De-Kun Li of Kaiser Permanente in Oakland,
California report in Epidemiology (January 2002) found that exposure to high peaks of   magnetic field exposure can result in early miscarriage.