Select Committee on Public Accounts Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex A


  In May 2000, an Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones published a report that gave an assessment of the current state of research into possible health risks from mobile phones.

  The Home Office asked the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) to provide comprehensive advice on possible health implications for users of Airwave. The NRPB commissioned a review from their independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR). This was published on 31 July 2001.

  The report concludes that:

      "Although areas of uncertainty remain about the biological effects of low-level RF radiation in general, including modulated signals, current evidence suggests that it is unlikely that the special features of TETRA mobile terminals and repeaters poses a hazard to health".

  The Home Office has accepted the report and is taking forward all its recommendations for further research.

  In November 2001, Mr Barry Trower wrote a report for the Police Federation on TETRA health and safety issues. The Home Office responded to the questions raised in the Trower report and is now awaiting the response of the Police Federation.


  A large part of the programme is about the possible biological effects of low intensity TETRA signal. The NRPB recommendations are very thorough and cover all aspects of the problem, from basic cell biology to possible effects on high level brain activity. The rest of the programme includes detailed assessment of the energy transmitted by TETRA base stations and terminals.

  Most of the research is long term and requires a rigorous scientific programme. If at any stage the research indicates a possible hazard to health, the Home Office will immediately make the results available and take appropriate action.

  Results already obtained by the Home Office indicate that the specific absorption rates of currently used Airwave terminals are well within international safety guidelines.

  The Home Office have commissioned the Defence Science and Technology Laboratories (Dstl) to undertake an experimental programme on the possible biological effects of TETRA technology. The first results are expected in April 2002.

  The Home Office has also commissioned Microwave Consultants Limited to make detailed assessments of body-worn Airwave equipment.

  Further work within the framework of the Mobile Telecommunications Health Research programme is currently under discussion.

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Prepared 28 November 2002