Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) also referred to as the Stewart Report
In May 2000 the Government commissioned expert group reported their findings and recommendations on ‘Mobile Phones and Health'.
Mast Action UK welcomes much of what was recommended within this report, but recognises that there are several shortcomings. However, it is often extremely useful to refer to this report when objecting to planning applications.
The extracts below are quoted directly from the report and their paragraphs are given to use when referencing a letter.
It is worthwhile bearing in mind that the overriding recommendation was to enact the precautionary principle.
Main conclusions on the possible health effects of mobile phone technology on human health.
(1.17) The balance of evidence to date suggests that exposures to RF radiation below NRPB guidelines do not cause adverse health effects to the general population.
(1.18) There is now scientific evidence, however, which suggests that there may be biological effects occurring at exposures below these guidelines.
(1.19) We conclude therefore that it is not possible at present to say that exposure to RF radiation, even at levels below national guidelines, is totally without potential adverse health effects, and that the gaps in the knowledge are sufficient to justify a precautionary approach.
(1.20) we recommend that a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phone technologies be adopted until much more detailed and scientifically robust information on any health effects becomes available.
Advice to Government on planning issues
(1.34) The Dept of Environment Transport and the Regions (DETR) produced a Code of Best Practice..as applied to mast/tower development. We understand that consideration is being given to extending this to include health concerns. We support this development. (this has not happened)
With regard to the fact that as long as a base station operates within NRPB guidelineshealth effects are not considered further under permitted developments- (6.44) Webelieve this approach is not optimal since it does not allow adequately for theuncertainties in the scientific knowledge. Although it seems highly unlikely that thelow levels of RF radiation from base stations would have significant, direct adverseeffects on health, the possibility of harm from exposures insufficient to cause important heating of the tissue cannot yet be ruled out with confidence.Furthermore, the anxieties that some people feel when this uncertainty is ignored can in themselves affect their well-being.
Base stations near schools
Re, absorbing energy from microwave radiation:
(6.63) A one year old could absorb around double and a five year old around 60% more than an adult. Additionally, since, children are being exposed to RF radiation from base stations (and from mobile phones) from a younger age than adults, they will have a longer time in which to accumulate exposure over the course of their lives, and a longer time for any delayed effects of exposure to develop.
Which lead to the following recommendation:
(6.68) We recommend, in relation to macrocell base stations sited within school grounds, that the beam of greatest RF 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.
One additional point that may be useful;
(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, to be taken into account...
Since publication of this report and the recent evidence of cancer clusters around several masts, the groups chairman Sir William Stewart has made several statements of his views.He believes, as do MAUK, that human studies are vital as some people may be more susceptible to the effects of mast emissions than others.
Since the Stewart Report the Government have updated the Planning Policy Guidance note PPG8 which relates to telecoms installations and the Industry have introduced their 10 Commitments.
J.Matthew Mast Action UK 2002