Cc Ruth Kelly MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
David Gauke, MP
David Cameron, MP
Sir Menzies Campbell, MP
Tony Blair, MP
Gordon Brown, MP
1. Independent on Sunday – 27 May 2007 – “Phone mast locations kept from public ” – Geoffrey Lean – Environment Editor
2. Daily Express – 28 May 2007 – “Phone Masts “hidden from public” " – Sara Dixon
Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 2553,
The Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Restrictions) Regulations 2003
Regulation 11 and 12 sets out
"Records of apparatus
11. - (1) A code operator shall keep accurate records of where all his electronic communications apparatus that is installed in or under a maintainable highway or street or, in Scotland, a public road or a road, is located.
(2) The duty to keep records in paragraph (1) shall apply only in respect of apparatus located in Scotland and Wales and shall not apply in respect of any apparatus installed prior to the date on which these Regulations come into force.
(3) The records shall be in the form of route plans based on Ordnance Survey map backgrounds on an appropriate scale for the density development in the area concerned.
(4) Where a person who has reasonable grounds to inspect any records kept pursuant to paragraph (1) makes a request to inspect them, a code operator shall make them available for that purpose as soon as practicable and, in any case, within one month of the request being made.
Duty to retain and allow inspection of existing records
12. - (1) A code operator shall retain all his records created prior to the date on which these Regulations come into force of where his electronic communications apparatus installed in or under a maintainable highway or street or, in Scotland, a public road or a road is located.
(2) Where a person who has reasonable grounds to inspect any records kept pursuant to paragraph (1) makes a request to inspect them, a code operator shall make them available for that purpose as soon as practicable and, in any case, within one month of the request being made."
5 June 2007
Yasmin Skelt Our Ref: 014342/07
Mast Sanity Your Ref:
Dear Ms Skelt,
Thank you for your letter of 17 May to Ruth Kelly regarding a report in the Independent on Sunday. I have been asked to reply.
The article in the Independent on Sunday may have been inspired by an answer to a parliamentary question that was given by Meg Munn, the Minister with responsibility for telecommunications and planning policy. The Minister was asked whether we would change paragraphs 29-31 of Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 on telecommunications so that the health effects of any proposed development could be taken into account. The Minister’s reply stated that we were considering the need to revise the guidance but had yet to make a decision on whether we would do so.
You may also be interested to know that more recently, when questioned by Dr Vincent Cable about what changes to guidance were planned, the Minister replied that the Government intended to review the permitted development rights in Part 24 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 and that following the completion of this review, the Government would consider what, if any, changes were necessary to planning policy in relation to telecommunications.
You also raised concerns about the health effects of WiFi technologies. As you will be aware, the Health Protection Agency advises Government about the health effects of telecommunications technologies and has published the following information published on its website.
- There is no consistent evidence to
date that exposure to RF signals from WiFi and WLANs adversely affect the
health of the general population
- The signals from WiF1 are very low
power, typically 0.1 watt (100 milliwatts) in both the computer and the mast
(or router) and resulting exposures should be well within internationally
- The frequencies
used are broadly the same as those from other RF applications such as FM
radio. TV and mobile phones
- Based on current knowledge. RF exposures from WiFi are likely to be lower than those from mobile phones
- On the basis of current scientific information, exposures from WiFi equipment satisfy international guidelines. There is no consistent evidence of health effects from RF exposures below guideline levels and no reason why schools and others should not use WiFi equipment
However, the Health Protection Agency has also stated that with any new technology it is a sensible precautionary approach, as happened with mobile phones. to keep the situation under ongoing review so that parents and others can have as much reassurance as possible. That is why the Health Protection Agency’s Chairman. Sir William Stewart, has stated it would be timely to carry out further studies as this new technology is rolled out. The Health Protection Agency is discussing this with relevant parties
Department for Communities and Local Government Tel 0207 944 6530
Planning System Improvement Division
3/J3 Eland House