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Select Committee Report: Electromagnetic Radiation

Press Release for Immediate Release

Select Committee Report into Electromagnetic Radiation

Ban the Tower is delighted with the report of the Local Government and Environment Select Committee into Electromagnetic Radiation, which was released yesterday.

The Inquiry was initiated last year in response to a 3101 signature petition from Sarah Allen and others opposing a proposed 22m Telecom celltower next door to Atawhai Playcentre.

“The community joined forces to lobby Telecom, councillors and MP’s to find an alternative site. A team of parents did a huge amount of research, set up our own website to share information and even made a film letter for then Prime Minister called “Dear Helen Clark”” says spokesperson Sue Grey.

Since then many other communities around New Zealand have shared similar concerns about unwanted new celltowers imposed without consultation and often in unsuitable places such as near homes, schools and preschools.

“People from around New Zealand and the world have come together and shared their expertise and resources for a common purpose. This report is an amazing example of what can be achieved by communities when they work together, even if you are up against the biggest cooperates. It is excellent news that the Select Committee has listed to our concerns” says Ms Grey.

“We now have very strong networks around New Zealand, with groups in Australia and elsewhere. We now receive reports of the latest research and international developments and circulate them to key Ministers and government officials. Until now the sources of research receive by the government have been limited mainly to the industry perspective. However the independent research paints a very different picture.”

In its report the Select Committee has asked the government: * to assess if review of the New Zealand Standard for Radiofrequency Fields (NZS 2772:Part 1:1999) is necessary to ensure that it is still in line with world’s best practice: * to review the membership of the Government’s Interagency Committee on the Health Effects of Non-Ionising Fields to ensure better community representation and expertise in risk assessment *it consider how the regulatory environment might be improved so that the development of infrastructure can proceed in a way that safeguards community interests * to explore with the telecommunications industry how better incentives can be provided to encourage shared use of telecommunication sites and towers, such as co-siting and co-location arrangements, while safeguarding community interests.

Ban the Tower hopes that the government will adopt the Select Committee report and take urgent steps to ensuring better heath and community representation on its advisory committee.

“If we want best international practice, the starting point should be the recent Swiss standards. These set much stricter EMR emission levels than NZ particularly in sensitive locations such as near homes, schools and preschools. Switzerland is a heavily populated and mountainous country. If they can operate at those standards with their much more intensive population, surely the New Zealand Telco’s can operate achieve the same standards. “ says Ms Grey

ENDS

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