HC Deb 15 January 2003 vol 397 cc681-2W
Norman Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the public health implications arising from the placing by mobile phone companies of masts in(a) chimney stacks, (b) drainpipes, (c) alarm boxes and (d) other adjuncts to domestic properties; if he will take steps to ensure the location of such masts is maintained on a register open to the public; and if he will make a statement. [90343]

Ms Blears

[holding answer 13 January 2003]: The public health implications of mobile phone base stations were assessed by the independent expert group on mobile phones (IEGMP). Their report, the Stewart Report, concluded that the balance of evidence indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near to base stations on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of guidelines.

Measurements undertaken by the National Radiological Protection Board and the Radiocommunications Agency (RA) have confirmed that public exposures are very much lower than the international guidelines. These results are available to the public from these organisations' websites, at www.nrpb.org and www.radio.gov.uk. Network operators have undertaken to ensure that all base stations will be designed and sited so that members of the public will not be exposed in excess of the recommended basic restriction.

The IEGMP noted that if people are unduly concerned about potential exposures then that in itself may affect their well-being. A number of recommendations of the group were, therefore, designed to provide more information to people about local base stations. One of these measures was to develop the 'Sitefindeemobile phone base station database, which is a national database of mobile phone base stations and their emissions. The database is managed by the RA, an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, on behalf of the Government. The database provides information on all operational, externally sited, cellular radio transmitters in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is updated every three months.