Electromagnetic fields

Spectrum-EMF

What is this about?

All uses of radio spectrum generate electromagnetic fields (EMF). There are internationally recognised guidelines to make sure that services operate in a way that will not adversely affect health.

The International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has published these guidelines, which include limits on EMF exposure to protect the general public. We refer to these limits as the 'general public EMF limits'.

In the UK, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) leads on public health matters associated with EMF, and has a duty to advise the Government on any health effects that could be caused by exposure to EMF. UKHSA’s main advice is that EMF exposure should comply with the general public EMF limits.

Ofcom's job is to authorise and manage the use of radio spectrum in the UK. We issue licences and set conditions for the use of spectrum without a licence. When doing this, we take into account the UKHSA's advice on EMF exposure.

Measuring EMF levels around mobile phone masts

Ofcom has been carrying out EMF measurements near mobile phone masts for many years. These published measurements have consistently shown that EMF levels are well within the general public EMF limits.

We can also carry out measurements near mobile phone masts in response to requests from schools, hospitals or members of the public.

Our EMF rules

Most spectrum licences issued by Ofcom include a condition requiring licensees to ensure compliance with the general public EMF limits. To find out more, read our rules on EMF exposure.

Electromagnetic field measurements near mobile base stations

Published: 25 August 2016

Last updated: 31 May 2024

Requesting surveys of EMF emissions from mobile base stations

Published: 20 March 2024

General EMF queries

Published: 6 March 2024

This page answers some questions you may have about Ofcom's role in relation to electromagnetic fields (EMF).

Clearing up the myths around 5G and the coronavirus

Published: 5 March 2024

Last updated: 5 March 2024

There is a conspiracy theory that claims 5G is connected to the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19). This is wrong. There is no scientific basis or credible evidence for these claims.

General Notice Of Proposal To Vary Wireless Telegraphy Act Licences

Published: 5 January 2024

Last updated: 5 January 2024

This page sets out a notice that we propose to vary the terms and conditions of all licence classes identified below to include a new licence condition relating to EMF.

EMF licence condition: what you need to know

Published: 1 August 2023

Last updated: 1 August 2023

Ofcom has provided a set of FAQs and additional help on this page in light of the general notice of licence variation.

Help with your spectrum licence

Published: 1 March 2021

Last updated: 10 July 2023

Need help with your licence? This page provides useful information and links to support.

Keeping tabs on 5G safety

Published: 16 June 2023

Last updated: 16 June 2023

Twice a month, two of Ofcom’s spectrum engineers head into Belfast and set up their equipment to carry out a pretty important task.

Ofcom update on 5G vandalism

Published: 27 February 2023

Last updated: 17 March 2023

There have been reports of 5G masts in some areas of the UK being vandalised and of telecoms engineers being harassed by members of the public.

Guidance on EMF compliance and enforcement

Published: 3 November 2021

Last updated: 16 March 2023

This page provides Ofcom's Guidance on EMF Compliance and Enforcement for licensees.

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