Shropshire Council

5G and health

18 February 2020 Last updated at 11:57

We are aware that some residents have raised health concerns linked to 5G. We have taken expert advice from Public Health England on 5G in rural locations. It is agreed that there may be a slight increase in exposure to radio waves through the installation of 5G. Public Health England also concluded that the population generally have been exposed to radio waves for several decades and extensive research undertaken during that time found that exposures that are within international limits are safe. We have provided more detailed information below.

The advice drawn on by Shropshire Council regarding the health and safety of mobile technologies including 5G is provided by Public Health England. the latest advice from Public Health England was published in October 2019.

PHE monitors the health-related evidence applicable to radio waves, including in relation to base stations, and is committed to updating its advice as required. This latest report concludes that when 5G is added to a network there is a slight increase to overall exposure of radio waves. However, it is advised that the overall exposure is expected to remain low and therefore should have no consequence for public health.

Public Health England advises the Government on appropriate public health standards for protection from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs), or radio waves. Public Health England’s main advice is that the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) should be adopted and there is no convincing evidence that exposures below the ICNIRP guideline levels cause adverse health effects. ICNIRP is formally recognised as an official collaborating non-governmental organisation by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization. ICNIRP is also consulted by the European Commission. Advice from Public Health England includes comprehensive scientific review reports and statements on topics.

In terms of future deployments of mobile infrastructure and in particular 5G mobile it is our understanding that there are effectively two forms of 5G. The first will utilise sub 10GHz spectrum (operating in very similar frequencies to current 3G and 4G services). All current UK 5G plans from mobile network operators are solely related to sub 10GHz spectrum technologies, as this is the only spectrum that Ofcom has licensed. This spectrum has very similar characteristics to current mobile communications technologies that have been in use for 30 years and has also been previously granted use for radio and TV broadcasts.
The second will utilise 24GHz -300GHz spectrum, the so-called millimetre wave frequencies associated with more revolutionary 5G aspects (such as 1-10Gbps+ speeds and low latency connections). When it comes to the higher frequency (millimetre wave) spectrum, not only has Ofcom yet to set a date for running an auction for this spectrum, the practical reality of using such spectrum’s remains to be proven.

Shropshire Council is committed to improving connectivity in the county and to protecting the health of residents.

Connecting Shropshire is a programme bringing faster broadband to areas where it isn’t economically viable for commercial companies to provide. The programme is responsible for looking into all opportunities to improve connectivity for residents and businesses in the Council area. This includes mobile solutions that may include 5G solutions.