What Wales Must Do
Let's be wiser about using wireless technology.
Wireless Radiation and the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
The ground-breaking Well-Being of Future Generations Act (2015) gives the Welsh Government the opportunity—as well as the obligation—to implement policies to limit and mitigate the impacts of RF radiation on health, well-being and the environment. Leading scientsts in the field are underlining:
“the critical need to face difficult questions, make mid-course corrections, and try to repair the damage already done in this generation, and to think about protecting future generations.”
In a 2013 report, which included a chapter on mobile phone use and brain tumours, the European Environment Agency stated:
“Worryingly, warnings of impending hazards are, in many areas, still not being heeded and the resulting damage is far more widespread, geographically, across species and extending to future generations, who will particularly suffer many of the harmful effects of our current energy systems, chemicals and technologies.”
The Sustainable Development Principle
Wireless technologies as they stand are incompatible with the sustainable development principle adopted in the Well-Being of Future Generations Act. The Act stipulates that short-term needs must be balanced against long-term needs, especially where things done to meet short-term needs may have detrimental long-term effects. A substantial body of scientific research indicates that the long-term effects on health and the environment of chronic exposure to RF radiation at current permitted levels are detrimental.
A Healthier Wales
The Well-Being of Future Generations Act defines a healthier Wales as “a society in which people’s physical and mental well-being is maximised and in which choices and behaviours that benefit future health are understood.” Reducing exposure to RF radiation will be beneficial to future health.
Individual and collective choices and behaviours are informed by access to impartial scientific evidence and medical advice which are not distorted by political and commercial pressures. The people of Wales must be properly informed about the potential damage to their health from exposure to RF radiation and advised to use wireless technology more wisely. Most parents, for example, are unaware that the UK Chief Medical Officers caution that children under 16 should only use mobile phones for essential purposes and keep all calls short as this advice is very poorly promoted.
A Resilient Wales
The Well-Being of Future Generations Act also defines a resilient Wales as “a nation which maintains and enhances a biodiverse natural environment with healthy functioning ecosystems that support social, economic and ecological resilience and the capacity to adapt to change (for example climate change).” To be resilient Wales must not allow itself to become ‘locked into’ unsustainable technological infrastructures such as wireless networks in their current form. Remedial action in the future is likely to prove far more costly than sensible decisions made now in light of the substantial amount of scientific evidence of harm that is already available. Reducing exposure to environmental pollution in the form of RF radiation will make Wales a more resilient nation and enable both its people and its natural environment to flourish in the years to come.
With resilience in mind, the Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru project which provides ultra-fast broadband via fibre-optic cables—rather than via wireless technology—to every community in Wales is to be applauded. We urge the Welsh Government to future-proof Wales's broadband infrastructure by continuing to prioritise the provision of ultra-fast fibre internet connectivity for every household and business in Wales instead of wireless.
A Wiser Wales
The Well-Being of Future Generations Act requires the implementation in Wales of Resolution 1815 of the Council of Europe.
(Note: The Council of Europe is not an EU body. It has 47 member states, of which the United Kingdom is one, and its main concerns are human rights, democracy and justice.)
Titled “The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment”, Resolution 1815 was adopted unanimously by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in May 2011.
In particular we want to see the Welsh Government implement the following measures, as per the recommendations set out in Resolution 1815:
- reduce the exposure of the people of Wales to RF radiation.
- inform the people of Wales, especially children, teenagers and young people of reproductive age, of the risks of early, ill-considered and prolonged use of mobiles and other devices emitting RF radiation.
- develop within different ministries in Wales (education, environment and health) targeted information campaigns aimed at teachers, parents and children to alert them to the specific risks of early, ill-considered and prolonged use of mobiles and other devices emitting RF radiation.
- direct schools in Wales to give preference to wired internet connections instead of wireless connections and strictly regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren on school premises.
- raise awareness in Wales of potential health risks of DECT wireless telephones, baby monitors and other domestic appliances which emit continuous pulse waves, if all electrical equipment is left permanently on standby, and recommend the use of wired, fixed telephones at home or, failing that, models which do not permanently emit pulse waves.
- set preventive thresholds for levels of long-term exposure to microwaves in all indoor areas in Wales, in accordance with the precautionary principle, not exceeding 0.6 volts per metre, and in the medium term to reduce it to 0.2 volts per metre.
- determine the sites of any new GSM, UMTS, WiFi or WIMAX antennae in Wales not solely according to the operators’ interests but in consultation with local government authorities, local residents and associations of concerned citizens.
- encourage research in Wales to develop telecommunications based on other technologies which are just as efficient but whose effects are less negative on the environment and on health (this could make Wales a world leader).
- pay particular attention to ‘electrosensitive’ people who suffer from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation in Wales of areas not covered by wireless networks.
Our further aims include encouraging the Welsh Government to:
- introduce a moratorium in Wales on the roll-out of 5G which, we believe, will prove to be a costly mistake in both health and economic terms if it goes ahead.
- introduce a moratorium in Wales on the installation of smart meters or, failing that, make it clear to the people of Wales that they are under no obligation to allow a smart meter to be installed on their property. Once a smart meter has been installed there is no provision for reverting to an analogue meter.
- provide funding for schools in Wales which currently rely on wireless networks for internet connectivity to be upgraded to a hardwired system. This will create not just a healthier school environment but more reliable and faster internet access.
- remove wireless networks from hospitals in Wales.
- regularly measure and publish the levels of RF radiation in public places in Wales to ensure that they are being reduced rather than increasing (the cumulative impact of RF radiation is of great concern).
- ensure that local authorities in Wales make available to the public specialised equipment for measuring the levels of RF radiation in their home environment.
- ensure that people in Wales who have developed electrohypersensitivity are supported, protected and provided with safe places to live.
- require that all medical courses provided in Wales include a module on electrohypersensitivity so medical practitioners and GPs in particular are made aware of this medical condition.
Note: While the Welsh Government intends to eliminate so-called mobile ‘not-spots’ across Wales we think ‘not-spots’ could prove to be essential to the development of a new type of tourist economy in Wales as the number of people seeking to digitally disconnect increases.
Let's be wiser about wireless
As is the case with climate change, the human, environmental and economic costs of inaction now to reduce exposure to RF radiation could prove to be very high in the future. Failure to take action on the part of the Welsh Government will also contravene the Well-Being of Future Generations Act. The health and well-being of the people—and particularly of the children—of Wales must always take priority over convenience and over the profits of the wireless industry.
Implementing policies to reduce the exposure of the people of Wales to RF radiation will help improve the health and well-being of the people of Wales. It will also help increase our productiveness and enhance our cultural and creative vitality.
Please give us your support if you would like to help bring into being a healthier, safer, more sustainable and more productive Wales.