Statement and further consultation: Proposed measures to require compliance with international guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF)

Published: 5 October 2020
Consultation closes: 16 November 2020
Status: Closed (statement published)

To ensure spectrum continues to be used in a way which is safe for people, in our February 2020 consultation we proposed formally incorporating the limits in the ICNIRP Guidelines for the protection of the general public into spectrum licences and into authorisations of licence-exempt spectrum. This statement sets out our decisions in relation to these proposals.

As a first step in implementing our decisions, we have also published a further consultation inviting stakeholders to provide feedback on the specific drafting changes we have made to the wording of the EMF licence condition and our ‘Guidance on EMF Compliance and Enforcement’.

In addition, we are making available a trial version of our EMF calculator that will allow many licensees and other spectrum users to demonstrate their compliance in a straightforward way. We are also inviting feedback on our calculator.

Ofcom has today published an update (PDF, 865.1 KB) to the new electromagnetic fields (EMF) licence condition that we are proposing to apply to spectrum users, as well as new guidance on how licensees can ensure they comply with it.

In October 2020 we confirmed we would be going ahead with our proposal to introduce new licence conditions to incorporate the limits in the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines for the protection of the general public into spectrum licences. This means licensees must operate their services within the ICNIRP Guidelines as a condition of their Ofcom licence – including keeping records of any compliance assessments.

The new proposed conditions apply to wireless equipment that can transmit at power levels above 10 Watts EIRP (or 6.1 Watts ERP) and we expect them to come into place no later than 18 May 2021. Licence holders will be given a grace period of at least 6 months to comply.

Following further consultation, we have now published a refined version of our licence condition which we will use for the formal licence variation process, which is set to begin in March 2021. We have also published a refined version of our guidance and an updated EMF calculator.

EMF measurement programme

We have also published the latest results from our EMF measurement programme – assessing EMF levels close to 5G sites at a further 11 locations across the UK. All our results have shown EMF levels to be well within internationally agreed levels for EMF exposure. This is consistent with our previous measurements.


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