Council responsibilities

Councils and town planners have a duty to ensure the safety of the public but experience shows that they will try to shirk this responsibility and ignore safety considerations when permitting the installation of 5g (or other) transmission equipment.

This page shows why they are wrong. [PDF]

Cheltenham Borough Council has on its website :

Most crucially of all, councils have been told by ministers that they should not refuse planning applications for masts or base stations on health grounds where these meet the ICNIRP guidelines.” .. and..
This is covered in section 10 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).”

The relevant paragraph of the NPPF is here:

NPPF paragraph 118:
118. Local planning authorities must determine applications on planning grounds only. They should not seek to prevent competition between different operators, question the need for an electronic communications system, or set health safeguards different from the International Commission guidelines for public exposure”

However, the same document contains the following:

NPPF paragraph 185:
“180. Planning policies and decisions should also ensure that new development is
appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects (including cumulative effects) of pollution on health, living conditions and the natural environment, as well as the potential sensitivity of the site or the wider area to impacts that could arise from the development”

So the document is in conflict with itself.

The Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999:
defines ‘pollution’ as including ‘noise, heat, vibrations or any other kind of release of energy

Cheltenham Council is reluctant to admit that 5G constitutes ‘vibration’ but it is certainly a ‘release of energy’.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 para 1(d) applies to any ‘dust, steam, smell or any other effluvia arising on industrial, trade, or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance’.
‘Premises’ here could refer to a 5G mast and ‘effluvia’ the radiation emitting from it.

The European Electronics Communications Code

The EECC became part of UK law in Dec 2020 and subjects member states to restrictions on deployment that include considerations for public health.

Electromagnetic fields are explicitly mentioned.

The EECC designates ‘Competent Authorities’ as being responsible for the monitoring and safety of telecommunications equipment. In the UK there is some doubt as to which of the Local Planning Authorities or OFCOM are the Competent Authorities here.

EECC Recital 106; ‘.. Competent authorities should seek to reconcile the environmental and public health considerations in question, taking due account of the precautionary approach set out in Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC’

EECC Recital 110: ‘.. the need to ensure that citizens are not exposed to electromagnetic fields at a level harmful to public health is imperative’.

1999/519/EC: (19)Member States should take note of progress made in scientific knowledge and technology with respect to non-ionising radiation protection, taking into account the aspect of precaution, and should provide for regular scrutiny and review with an assessment being made at regular intervals in the light of guidance issued by competent international organisations, such as the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)’ [link]

So are the LPAs considered Competent Authorities under the EECC?

“To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 17 November 2020 to Question 114987, whether local planning authorities that were made competent authorities under EU Directive 2014/61/EC retain that status under EU Directive 2018/1972/EC.” – Wera Hobhouse

“Local planning authorities were not made competent authorities through EU Directive 2014/61/EC, as the government was already content that the functions in question relating to planned civil works were already in place. The transposition of the EECC would have no effect on the status of local planning authorities where they are considered competent authorities under EU Directive 2014/61/EC.” – Matt Warman

“Ofcom is retained as the designated telecoms national regulatory authority in the UK and local planning authorities are not considered to be competent authorities.” – FOI to the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport

See also: Safety Levels Legal cases


This page is a summary of the information in this PDF from RF•INFO

National Planning Policy Framework – 20 July 2021

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