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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Press Releases
2 March
Hudghton seeks EU ruling to halt tetra masts

SNP Member of the European Parliament, Ian Hudghton, is asking the EU to rule that further installation of TETRA masts be halted until a full evaluation of risks to public health is carried out.  Mr Hudghton, who was contacted by Perthshire campaigners over the erection of a mast at Comrie, has tabled an urgent question to the Commission, pointing out that current regulations have failed to keep pace with recent developments like TETRA.  He further reminds the Commission of its own recommendations on Extremely Low Frequency modulations, such as those used by TETRA, that further research needs to be carried out in this field.

Speaking from Parliament in Brussels today, the MEP said:

“The European Union has a duty to protect public health through legislation to harmonise regulations on exposure to electromagnetic fields.  The current guidelines are hopelessly out of date and yet the UK Government is forging ahead with its TETRA programme quoting regulations which predate this system.  We just can’t allow this programme to run on unchecked when we can’t put our hands on our hearts and say “It’s safe”.

“The Commission’s rules lay down that it’s the Member States who bear responsibility for ensuring that adequate health protection measures are taken.  This has not happened and it’s not good enough.  This is why I’ve asked the Commission to exercise its duty of care in stopping the UK Government in its tracks until proper testing is done.”

Perth and Kinross SNP Councillor John Hulbert, who recently sought to have the health implications posed by TETRA masts taken into account in planning decisions, welcomed Mr Hudghton’s actions and said:

“The public have every right to a full investigation being carried out on any new technology which might be foisted on their communities.  If TETRA proves itself to be safe then fine, but I’m not prepared just to cross my fingers and hope for the best.  Ian’s plea to the Commission adds further fuel to the fight for a moratorium on these masts and I would hope that the Commission listens to the growing public clamour for a full evaluation of risks to health to be undertaken.”

NOTES:  The text of Mr Hudghton’s question reads:

The Commission, in its Implementation report on Council Recommendation 1995/519/CE, limiting public exposure to electromagnetic fields (0Hz to 300 GHz), Section 8.3 states that “recent findings in the extremely low frequency area …. have to be evaluated.”  It further states that the Commission will review its recommendations “taking into account the latest scientific data and advice.”

TETRA is being introduced in the UK to serve the Police and emergency services.  It operates at ultra high frequency (395 Mhz) pulses of around 17.6Hz, a frequency which has been shown as causing damage to the nervous and immune systems in human beings.  The UK Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones in their Government commissioned study of 2000, the Stewart Report, said that modulation around the frequency of 16Hz “should be avoided” because of possible health impacts. 

In spite of this, 3000 masts are being erected across the UK, 700 in my constituency (Scotland) amidst growing public concern that the system has never been properly evaluated on health grounds.  Meanwhile amongst Police personnel who are already using the system, symptoms associated with exposure to mobile-communications-type radiation levels such as sleep disruption, migraine headaches and so on are already being reported.

The regulations governing public exposure to electromagnetic fields were fixed prior to the introduction of  TETRA.  In light of its own report on the Implementation of Council Recommendation 1995/519/CE, would the Commission agree that, in the interests of public health, a moratorium be placed on further development of this system until a proper evaluation of health risks has been carried out.

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