HC Deb 26 May 2004 vol 421 cc1650-1W
Mr. Gregory Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what information he has collated in relation to health risks associated with the provision of transmitter masts in residential areas. [175527]

Angela Smith

The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) published a report on the subject of mobile phone technology in May 2000. It concluded that the balance of evidence indicated that there was no general risk to the health of people living near the base stations on the basis that exposures were expected to be small fractions of the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

This position has been confirmed through the ongoing random audit of base stations being undertaken by the Radiocommunications Agency (now part of the Office of Communications—Ofcom). In the course of this audit programme almost 20 surveys were conducted at sites here in Northern Ireland during 2001 and 2002, mainly at schools and two at hospitals. Measurement of emissions in every case showed these to be hundreds and sometimes thousands of times below the ICNIRP guidelines.

In January 2004 in a report made to the National Radiological Protection Board, the Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR), having reviewed the evidence for health effects especially in work published since the IEGMP Report, concluded that exposure levels from living near to mobile phone base stations are extremely low, and the overall evidence indicates that they are unlikely to pose a threat to health.