Petition Demand for a full investigation into the safety of a 5G network in Jersey.
Plans are in place to roll out a 5G wireless network across Jersey. There have been numerous reports of health issues relating to such a high frequency network.
I would like the citizens of Jersey to have a say as to whether this project should go ahead.
This response was given on 17 July 2019
Health and environmental protection is a priority for Government. There are no substantiated health impacts from mobile phone services including 5G. 5G services are being implemented around the world.
Introduction to 5G
Fifth Generation (5G) mobile technology is expected to deliver faster and better broadband and enable future revolutionary uses. It is already being deployed by mobile telecoms operators in the UK, Europe, US and Asia.
At first 5G will improve speed, capacity and coverage for mobile broadband services. In the longer term, it will allow new and revolutionary services to industrial and commercial sectors such as manufacturing, transport, healthcare and agriculture using the potential for the connection of millions of devices and instant response. 5G is also expected to support the evolution of urban spaces and the creation of smart cities, islands and smart factories.
5G and radio waves
Mobile phone services including 5G, like digital terrestrial television services, WiFi and other communication systems use radio waves to transmit voice and data. The cross-border nature of radio waves and the need to ensure that mobile services work in different jurisdictions means that mobile phone systems and the radio waves used are being standardised internationally.
5G compared to previous generations of mobile technology
5G technology represents a continuation in the development of telecoms networks. The first commercial 5G networks are now live in many jurisdictions including South Korea, major cities in the UK and USA and in cities across Europe.
Testing and roll out of 5G in Jersey
To date the three existing Channel Island mobile telecoms operators have focussed on understanding 5G’s technical challenges, planning for implementation and network testing with the view to launching commercial 5G services in 2020/21 at the earliest.
There is no commercial operation yet and before this can happen, the Council of Ministers will have to agree the process and criteria for the allocation of radio waves and 5G licences.
5G and Safety concerns
Concerns about 3G & 4G and now 5G’s health and environmental impacts can often be traced to stories on the internet and social media. In some cases, a misunderstanding about the inability of science to prove that radio waves used by mobile phones are safe is seen as proof that they are dangerous. In other cases, research is misrepresented as proof or likelihood of harm. In July 2018, an article by a physicist and cancer research specialist, Dr David Robert Grimes, in the Guardian newspaper, considered how research has been misrepresented or misunderstood by those seeking to link the use of mobile phones to cancer.
Other publications, including Wired, have considered misinformation associated with 5G networks. Wired pointed out that one of the most commonly cited examples of harm arising from testing of 5G, the death of 300 birds in the Netherlands had been shown to be false – the 5G testing having taken place months before the bird deaths occurred.
UK and International Standards for health protection
While the technology that enables 5G services is in some respects revolutionary, the fundamental principles are not. All mobile phone services including 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G services use radio waves.
There has been extensive research about exposure to the radio waves used by mobile phone networks and handsets. To date no harm has been substantiated, at the levels and thresholds set in international standards.
An independent organisation, the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (the ‘International Commission’) provides advice and guidance on the health and environmental effects of non-ionising radiation. It develops and publishes Guidelines, Statements, and Reviews used by regional, national, and international radiation protection bodies, such as the World Health Organisation.
In July 2018, the International Commission published its revised draft guidelines for limiting exposure to the non-ionising radiation used by mobile phone services including 5G. The International Commission set out the research that it had reviewed and found that for a wide range of possible harms including cancer there was no substantiated evidence of harm. The International Commission observed that in some areas more research is needed about possible impacts of non-ionising radiation on particular areas of the body.
Public Health England advises the UK Government on Standards for protection from radio waves. Public Health England has advised the UK Government to adopt the International Commission’s guidelines and that there is no convincing evidence that exposures below the International Commission’s guideline levels cause adverse health effects. Jersey’s Environmental Health Officers have regard to Public Health England’s guidelines as well as the advice of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
Other UK studies have included an independent Advisory Group and at a European level the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks published in 2015.
The Government of Jersey will continue to be guided by relevant bodies including Jersey’s Environmental Health Officers, the International Commission and World Health Organisation as well as Public Health England. All of these bodies consider that there is no substantiated evidence of harm arising from mobile phone services.
Monitoring and ensuring compliance
It is for equipment manufacturers to ensure that their handsets and network equipment comply with international standards and for Jersey’s telecoms operators to assure themselves that network equipment they use conforms to international standards. The Government of Jersey expects that mobile handsets sold in Jersey comply with international standards.
The Channel Islands telecoms regulator monitors emissions from existing 2G, 3G and 4G mobile network masts and publishes the results. This monitoring exercise will be extended to 5G services.
The need for any operator of 5G services to comply with international standards for the emission of radio waves will be included in any 5G licence granted by the Channel Islands telecoms regulator.
Senator Lyndon Farnham.
Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture
At 5,000 signatures...
At 5,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in the States Assembly