HC Deb 21 February 2000 vol 344 cc717-8W
Mr. Norman

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to amend licence conditions to limit(a) damage to the environment and (b) threats to health and safety. [110815]

Ms Hewitt

The Government believe that the conditions in Telecommunication Act licences, together with the relevant planning legislation and health and safety guidelines, appropriately balance concerns about these issues with the need to provide modern, efficient and cost effective telecommunications services. There are therefore no plans to amend licences in relation to these points. However we will consider very carefully the findings of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, under the Chairmanship of Sir William Stewart, which is due to report in April on alleged adverse health effects of mobile handsets and base stations.

Mr. Sayeed

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what reasons underlay the Government decision to sell additional mobile phone licences before the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones has published its report; and if he will delay this sale. [110769]

Ms Hewitt

The Government continue to work to the timetable for the auction of Wireless Telegraphy Act licences for third generation mobile communications set out by the then Under-Secretary of State for Small Firms Trade and Industry, my hon. Friend the Member for North Swindon (Mr. Wills), on 9 February 1999,Official Report, column 208, and accordingly notified bidders on 18 February that the auction would start on 6 March 2000. Delay to the auction would reduce and delay the benefits of third generation mobile to UK consumers and the economy, and the Government see no case for such delay. Bidders' attention has been drawn to the work of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, and to the fact that summaries of the evidence given to the group are being made publicly available as its work proceeds.

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