Electromagnetic fields (EMF)

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

These guidelines are published by the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and include limits on EMF exposure for the protection of the general public. We refer to these limits as the “general public EMF limits”.

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

Ofcom authorises and manages the use of the radio spectrum in the UK. We issue licences and set conditions for the use of spectrum without a licence. In performing that role, we take into account UKHSA’s advice on EMF exposure.

*The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) took over responsibilities from Public Health England (PHE) on 1 April 2021.

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 undertake measurements near mobile phone masts in response to requests from schools, hospitals or members of the public.

Ofcom's EMF rules

Most spectrum licences issued by Ofcom include a condition requiring licensees to ensure compliance with the general public EMF limits.

Please visit one of the following pages for more information on Ofcom’s EMF rules:

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