Electromagnetic Radiation

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1 Environmental Protection Technical Advice note 2 Electromagnetic Radiation EP(S) Guidance notes for developers and consultants July 2003 Produced by: Environmental Protection (Specialist) Team

2 ADVICE GUIDE FOR DEVELOPMENT NEAR TELECOMMUNICATION BASE STATIONS AND OTHER ELECTRONMAGNETIC RADIATION SOURCES Planning Context South Gloucestershire local plan (revised deposit draft) : Environmental protection Environmental pollution EP1 Development will not be permitted which would unacceptably harm the environment, or the health, safety and amenity of users of the site or surroundings land, as a result of pollution to water, air or soil, or through noise, vibration, light, heat or radiation. Additionally, development will not be permitted where users of it would be unacceptably affected by reason of proximity to existing land uses. The Council recognises public concern about the potential and perceived health risks from electromagnetic fields (EMFs) but acknowledges that research is as yet inconclusive. The Council will produce Supplementary Planning Guidance in this regard should scientific evidence emerge following adoption of the Plan which changes national guidance. In the meantime Policy EP1 will apply. In meeting its role in educating and raising public awareness, the Council attaches an advisory note to the decision notice of any planning permission granted in the vicinity of an overhead transmission line. This refers to the existence of the overhead line and states the current National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) position regarding EMFs and research into possible health risks (P&T Committee resolution 30 May 1996). The advisory note also includes the NRPB s address and telephone number for further information. Telecommunications S4 Development of telecommunications facilities or apparatus other than that covered by permitted development rights under the town and country planning (general permitted development) order 1995 (as amended) will be permitted provided that:- a. development would not unacceptably prejudice residential amenities; and b. in the case of radio masts there is no possibility of erecting antennae on an existing building or other structures where that would meet the technical needs of the operator and minimise impact on the environment; and c. proposals are sited, designed and landscaped so as to minimise any negative impact on the built or natural environment in such a way as to achieve an acceptable balance between the technical needs of the operator and conservation of the environment; and d. there is no possibility of sharing facilities which would meet the technical needs of the applicant and minimise impact on the environment. where proposals would have an adverse impact on the landscape or on sites having nature conservation or archaeological value or buildings or features of historic, architectural or

3 townscape interest, they will only be permitted where they make a significant contribution to the telecommunications network and there is no suitable alternative location outside these areas which meets the technical needs of the operator. Introduction New Base Stations can be controversial and the applicant is normally expected to provide detailed and technical information to support the application. Similarly, the Council often requires detailed technical information for a proposed development near an existing base-station. The simple Advice Guide is intended to assist all applicants at an early stage in order to overcome any local difficulties, streamline applications and reduce the likelihood of later planning appeal. Most of the technical detail will be known to Base Station Operators and power companies and can be used as a checklist; other applicants, such as housing developers, we hope will find the guide helpful at the pre-application stage. Electromagnetic Radiation Sources EMR include Telecommunication Mast Base Stations and micro cell type antennae at low level; overhead power lines and transformer substations. General Requirements 1. Undertake early consultation with South Gloucestershire Council, and investigate the Local Plan * for the area. 2. Avoid sensitive locations: otherwise state the distance from the new proposal to the nearest EMR source; state the distance from the new EMR source to the nearest housing, school, hospital or other sensitive site. 3. Consult with the Health and Safety Executive HSE. 4. Provide a report to reflect relevant Planning and Policy Guidance PPG8 and include a non-technical summary. Specific Requirements 5. State maximum signal strength in public places and inside nearest buildings. 6. Submit appropriate results where available and applicable such as the National Database Survey of registered schools. 7. Confirm consultation with the HSE and submit an Operator s Risk Assessment ORA, under the Health and Safety Management Regulations.

4 8. For particularly sensitive development provide a Community Risk Assessment CRA to show signal strength, directivity, and beam of intensity. 9. State and compare the resultant exposure level to the UK National Radiological Protection Board NRPB Investigation levels; and to the International Committee on Non-ionising Reduction (ICNIRP) guidelines. 10. Ensure a planned maintenance program is set-up for the Base Station / EMR source, with checks on future exposure levels. The following has no official status however, Power Generators, Transmission Companies and Developers could also have regard to the following precautionary guidelines for separation distances between source and any occupied buildings. + Source Distance 400 kv line 40 metres 275 kv line 20 metres 132 kv line 15 metres Underground high voltage cables 5 metres Substation / Transformers 5 metres For the Local Plan the Council attaches an advisory note to any decision notice of any planning permission granted in the vicinity of an overhead transmission line. This refers to the existence of the overhead line and states the current National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) position regarding Electromagnetic Fields EMFs and research into possible health risks. More information is also available on the NRPB website: * Local Plan references in the South Gloucestershire Local Plan (Revised Deposit Draft): June 2002 include: Chapter II: Service infrastructure S4 Telecommunications page A Stewart Group s Recommendation Policy EP1 Electricity page 324 Chapter 4: Environment Section 2 Environmental Protection - Policy EP1 Electromagnetic Fields EMFs page 76

5 + Included in Electromagnetic Radiation A Guide for Environmental Health Officers published by the Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset Environmental Monitoring Committee November 1996; ISBN Note This note is for information purposes only and has been produced to assist those considering the electromagnetic radiation issues relating to planning applications. For further detail on specific proposals, speak to a member of the Environmental Protection (Specialist) Team. As information and guidance develops, the content of the note may need to be revised and updated. Feedback Any comments on this guide would be gratefully received and will inform future drafts. Either write to the address below or on: Produced by: Environmental Protection (Specialist) Team Council Offices, Castle Street, Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, BS35 1HF Tel: Translations of this leaflet into languages read by local residents can be made available. Audiotape and large print versions can also be provided. For more information about translations contact: Website: Free internet access is available at all South Gloucestershire Libraries. Community Services

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