FOI request for 5G infrastructure

Councils have duties to protect public health under the 2012 Social Care Act, the NHS Act 2006, and the 2018 European Electronics Communications Code, which was transposed into UK law in December 2020  (Recitals 22, 105, 106, 110 and Article 45 2h)

They are facilitating the deployment of telecom infrastructure and are therefore liable for any harms arising. This liability was confirmed by PHE (UKHSA) solicitors in 2019. The guideline short term exposure level of 61 V/m (10W/m2) recommended by the ICNIRP is widely accepted by National and Local Government. Any public body relying on the guidance is liable for any harms arising – not ICNIRP nor PHE/UKHSA which issued the guidance, and they are uninsured.

Councils are recklessly accepting self certification from Telco applicants which declare that all radiation issuing from masts is ‘designed to be’ below the ICNIRP guideline safe levels (which are inadequate in any case). This is very different to ‘being’ below, at least in the longer term, and must be a definitive justifiable statement instead of a vague one.

These ‘ICNIRP certificates of conformity’ give no information about the assessments undertaken, the values and data used, the spec and power of the proposed antenna and built in upgrade possibilities etc.

Environmental and Health Impact Assessments should be provided as a matter of course with these certificates and Councils are not securing or assessing them.

There is of course abundant evidence of risk of harm from non-thermal effects at radiation levels well below the ICNIRP limits (which should be assessed as a Material Planning Consideration), but where new masts include 5G phased array antenna and hardware it is most likely that the legal limits will also be breached when operational. *

A freedom of information request as pinned below should invite truthful and accurate responses, which are desperately needed. Please serve this on your council.

There is a follow up Sample Letter available, depending what answers are received. (email us: Your response could for example either be that the information provided is still incomplete, and that EIAs (Environmental Impact Assess) and RAs (Risk Assess) were not secured and Planning Law not followed, or that the data for the proposed mast clearly shows a breach of legal limits when operational.

This FOI is a parallel course of action to the Public Interest Request explained here.

It may also be an idea to zoom into your Councils area using this map, take a screenshot and send it in your request to show the extent of coverage in question.

  • *the ICNIRP limits should be assessed as ‘favourable’ evidence in the weighing up of a Material Planning Consideration (MPC) such as incompatible and unacceptable use of land, against ‘unfavourable’ evidence of harm to health that is provided by local residents. This weighing up of an MPC is required under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The weighing up is congruent with the weighing up of ICNIRP as in the solicitors’ to PHE/UKHSA, DLA Piper’s advice for a public body to evaluate ICNIRP guidance and is also congruent with the local competent authority obligations of local planning authorities under the European Electronics Communications Code.