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Basingstoke and Deane MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INQUIRY 10th October 2002----G.J. Hyland


Hon. Associate Fellow                  
Executive Member
Department of Physics
International Institute of Biophysics
University of Warwick, UK
Neuss-Holzheim, Germany

 ‘The public should never again be shielded from uncertainty – however painful.’ (‘New Scientist’ Editorial, 4th Nov. 2000)


a) wrt the number of masts required
b) wrt siting of masts
c) wrt size of masts
d) wrt health implications


 a) Para.30 (of Planning Policy) must be considered together with Para.29 – for Para. 30, in isolation, is not compliant with The Human Rights Act (HRA) of Oct 2000, because of the inclusion in PPG8(Revised) of the additional words – ‘and concerns about them’.

 These additional words contravene:

 (i) 2 Court of Appeal Decisions (Tandridge & Newport) that predate HRA – ‘Public concern and anxiety is ‘a material Planning Consideration’,

(ii) Section 6(1) of the HRA – It is unlawful for a Public Authority to act in a way that is incompatible with a Convention Right.

 The relevant Convention Rights here are:

 Article 6 – The right to a fair and impartial hearing in public.

 Article 8(1) – The right to respect for private & family life, home and possessions.

 ·        There are, however, exemptions to Art.8(1), as detailed in Art. 8(2) –

- in interests of national security, public safety  or the economic well-being of the Country.

 Arts.8(1) and 8(2) are reiterated/strengthened in the First Protocol to the Convention, where exemptions are extended to include ….…….those that are necessary in the public/general interest.

 Thus, in making planning decisions a LPA has to strike a fair balance between……the protection of individual rights and…the interests of the community at large.

 ·        It is necessary for compliance, however, that such a balance is based on the demonstrable necessity - in the interest of the general good or economic well-being – of approving any planning application.

 The illegality of a LPA interpreting Para.30 (in isolation from Para.29) as forbidding health concerns to be taken into account in considering applications for the installation of Base-stations -  i.e. that health is NOT a material planning consideration –  is demonstrated by 2 recent High Court cases:

  Stockport & Winchester

 ·        It should be noted that the Winchester decision - consistent with demonstrating the ‘necessity’ (stipulated in the First Protocol) - also requires a LPA to give the reasons for granting a particular planning application.

 Finally, in connection with the interpretation of Para.30, it should be noted that it is the nature of GUIDANCE - not a mandatory requirement:

  - ‘In the Government’s VIEW, if a proposed mobile phone Base-station …. it SHOULD  not be necessary….’

 Such GUIDANCE, however…does not fetter decision–makers.

 Court of Appeal 17th May 2002 (3 Education Guidance Circular Appeal Cases) held that…

 ·        Appeal Panels (LPAs) had to keep the guidance issued by the Secretary of State (which has to be Convention compliant) in mind, but it was not direction, and did NOT lay down rules to be strictly adhered to.

Thus, if a LPA maintains that health cannot be taken into account (in considering planning applications for Base-stations) it is actually acting illegally, and runs the risk of having its decision overturned and having costs awarded  against it.

 Furthermore, under Art.1 of the First Protocol to the Convention .…… ‘no one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest...…’

 it might be possible for local residents to make claims against a LPA for diminution in the value of their homes in the case of an  ‘insensitive siting’, provided it can be demonstrated that the siting was NOT actually essential to the ‘public interest’.  For example, because of:

 i) The existence of alternative sites,

 ii) The absence of an imperative technical need for a mast at this precise location.


 a) wrt the number of masts required

 ·        Share existing masts where possible – ...provided the heights of the antennae are well above nearby buildings & the main beams do not point at windows (bedrooms, especially)  


 i) It minimises the number of new ones,

              ii) The net EM field to which the public is exposed will be less biologically discernible...

 ….provided the pulsing of the fields from the different operators is not synchronised….

…..because then the net EM field will effectively be less coherent than that from the antenna of a single operator.

 b) wrt siting of masts

 ·        Minimise public exposure – particularly in sensitive locations: nurseries, schools, hospitals & churches (Stewart Report, para 6.68 already recommends that the beam of greatest RF intensity should not fall on any part of school buildings/grounds.)

 This should be extended to include:

i) Other sensitive locations.

ii) Exposure to ‘side-lobes’.

 N.B.  It is impossible to define a universal ‘SAFE DISTANCE’.

 c) wrt size of masts

 ·        Their power should be as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA principle), and such that  the power density to which the public is exposed is below that at which adverse effects have been reported to date –  i.e. below ~100nW/cm2 (= 1mW/m2, or 0.6V/m)

 Again, it is impossible to define a universal ‘safe distance’ at which this intensity will be realised – it depends on (i) the height of the antennae, (ii) power delivered by antennae, (iii) the degree of directionality (EIRP) & inclinations of their main beams and their side-lobes, and (iv) the local terrain.

N.B. In the case of proposed micro installations (e.g. lamppost ‘look-alike’ masts), applications should be scrutinised to ensure that their power conforms to the micro specifications. 

·        There are instances of operational micro-cells whose power actually exceeds that of a

typical macro-installation – in violation of the ALARA supposition of Para.100 of PPG8(Rev)!

In order to be able to make adequately informed decisions, it is essential that the relevant technical details be provided by the operator at the time when the planning application is initially submitted to LPA.

 ·        Thus, in addition to the usual plans showing the number of antennae, their orientations & height, the following should all be ….. automatically provided by the Operator:–

 (i) The effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) of each antenna.

 (ii) The number of CARRIERS transmitted per antenna.

 (iii) The inclination of the antennae to the vertical.

 (iv) The vertical and horizontal widths of the ‘bore signals’ of each main beam.

(Power density at the edge of the bore signal …= 1/2 of the central maximum,value.)

 d) wrt health implications

 ·        Realise

(i) that existing Safety Guidelines (ICNIRP) protect against what – in the case of Base-stations - is not a problem - namely, OVERHEATING

 (ii) that health problems and concerns about them can arise in 2 distinct ways:

 a) Directly (‘actual’), from possible non-thermal influences (allied to the frequency, rather than solely the intensity) of the emitted pulsed microwave radiation on exposed populations.

See accompanying Paper - ‘How Exposure to GSM/TETRA Base-station Radiation can Adversely Affect Humans’ (GJH).

 Some salient points

 a) The occurrence of non-thermal effects – and any associated health problems (allied to impairment of functionality) - is contingent on ‘ALIVENESS’

 ·        Thus not everyone is affected….. in the same way – if at all!

 b) The kinds of health problems reported anecdotally (such as headache, sleeping, concentration and memory problems) are consistent with known non-thermal biological effects of GSM/TETRA exposure on brain function (its electrical activity and delicately balanced electro-chemistry) and the body’s immune system (GJH, ‘The Lancet’, 2000).

c) There are an increasing number of reports of cancer clusters in vicinities of some masts.

 ·        These need urgently investigating, since the occurrence of cancer is again consistent with known non-thermal, biological influences of GSM radiation on the initiation and promotion of cancer.

d) There are reports of the health of cattle being adversely affected when they are exposed to GSM emissions – such effects cannot be psychosomatic!

 The second way in which health problems & concerns about them can arise is:

 b) Indirectly (‘perceived’), from prolonged stress/anxiety arising from insensitive sitings of masts (Stewart Report, Para.1.31).

 Recall that the Newport & Tandridge cases established that genuine public fear and concern is a Material Planning Consideration – even if it eventually be scientifically proved that the original fears were, in fact, groundless.

 ‘Public fear and concern is a material planning consideration, even if that fear is irrational, and not based upon evidence.’

 ·        An important contributory stress factor in some cases is the very real possibility of a reduction in property values, or …….being unable to sell one’s house at all.


In this connection, it should not be forgotten that affected residents could possibly bring an action against the LPA under Art.1 (Protection of Property) of the First Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.


 a) By holding ‘Inquiries’ such as this to ensure that….

‘the public is never again shielded from uncertainty – no matter how painful’.

(‘New Scientist’ Editorial, 4th Nov. 2000)

 There is uncertainty at present, particularly concerning long-term effects of exposure, and the implications for public health of some of the reported non-thermal effects, whose existence is not generally accepted by those involved in setting safety standards!

·        It is essential that the public be made aware of this, why this situation obtains, and the fact that the degree of assurance of safety given by ‘official’ pronouncements is ……quite unjustified, unrealistic & irresponsible

 - particularly given that the public is being involuntarily exposed (often long-term) to      potentially harmful radiation -

       - a circumstance that arguably contravenes the Nürnberg Code.

 b) By employing suitably qualified persons to advise LPA on the technical necessity,

suitability and sensitivity of applications.

 ·        In turn, the LPA then liases with the public.