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Federal court orders state-wide Review of mobile phone antennas

in the Midst of the debate about the new mobile radio standard 5G a controversial judgment of the Federal court of bursts. The Supreme Swiss court on the Federal office for the environment (FOEN), in the case of the mobile phone antennas in Switzerland to take a closer look. The office is to control in Switzerland, whether the well 19‘000 mobile phone antennas meet the regulations and the legal radiation limits. Clarification is need in this regard,"", criticized the Federal court.

The protection of the Swiss population is regulated from potentially harmful cell phone radiation in a Federal Council regulation on the radiation. Their implementation is the responsibility of the FOEN. The Federal court orders of this authority now, an unscheduled "Switzerland-wide control" of the phone network.

the order of the Federal court is Provoked by a case from the Canton of Thurgau. The inhabitants of the municipality of Romanshorn to fight back against the upgrading of an existing Sunrise antenna on a high-rise building. You have dragged the case through all the instances in front of the Federal court. This dismisses the complaint against the concrete antenna now. There are the Complainants, but insofar as that the existing controls by the Federal government for insufficient and now Switzerland arranges wide special inspection of the antenna network.

8 out of 14 antennas in error

The Thurgauer plaintiffs, the Supreme court pointed out, namely, a so far hardly discussed the case from the Canton of Schwyz. In February 2016, the Schwyzer office had communicated for the protection of the environment, that 8 of 14 controlled phone Tiessen and equipment to the construction permit verse. The responsible chief officer said at the time in the local press, his office had identified during the sample check "minor to major deviations".

The Review should provide clarity, whether the cell phone antennas comply with the limit values.

on the basis of this three-year-old case, the Federal court shall now fundamental doubts that the current controls for compliance with the limit values are effective enough. It was not even clear whether the licensing violations in Schwyz had an impact on the radiation exposure, let alone what the Situation is in other cantons, look, argues the Federal court.

Therefore, the FOEN must now be a "Switzerland-wide control of the proper can functioning of the quality assurance systems and perform or coordinate". The decision of the Federal court was already on 3. September 2019, was previously but not made public. First, the NZZ reported on Thursday.

radiation protection regulatory requirements

the FOEN must now Control, among other things, whether the height and orientation of the mobile phone antenna is actually in compliance with the regulatory requirements. In addition, the Review should provide clarity, whether the mobile phone antennas from Swisscom, Sunrise and other mobile operators to comply with the limits.

It is not the first Time that the Federal court, blasting the Federal office for the protection of power legs. In 2005, it had instructed the FOEN to improve the controls. Based on this, the office introduced a so-called quality assurance system (QA-System) for mobile phone antennas.

deficiencies in the control system

This QA System works like this: The mobile operators need to operate their control centres a database that you save the settings of the various antennas continuously. In case of violation of the rules, the System creates an automatic error log. The aerial operator must resolve the error within 24 hours, if this is remotely possible. If an employee is required to make the correction on the antenna itself, grants to the FOEN a period of one week. In addition, the mobile phone need to submit company your error logs, every two months, unsolicited, to the competent cantonal authorities.

The QS-System is by the Federal court is not questioned. The court, however, throws up the question of how well the System works, whether it is discovered in really all the work illegally antennas, and if the authorities look at the mobile phone company is enough well on the Finger.

Incorrect altitude information or Antenna bracket could not reveal the controls.

the Problem is that only certain settings of the phone to be transferred to antennas automatically in the QS-database. Other data will need to enter the cell phone company by Hand: the height of the antennas, the mechanically set angle of inclination and the horizontal direction of transmission. These parameters can influence the radiation exposure of local residents, of course. If a company enters this data (intentionally or unintentionally) wrong, does not recognize the QS-System the error – and therefore the authorities have no Chance to discover illegally-functioning antennas.

at the Time, only samples

it was so Far, the FOEN has reviewed the QA system twice, the first Time in 2007/2008, for the second Time in 2010/2011 – more than eight years. The Checks are only carried out on a sample basis took place at that time. In addition, they are restricted to the databases of the phone companies. Incorrectly entered height information or Antenna bracket could not uncover the controls, however, as the Federal court complained. Therefore, it requires the FOEN that it is expanding to the next control.

in Addition to the Review of the QA databases of mobile operators, the authorities should also carry out sampling at the antennas themselves. This is also a lesson to be learnt from the case of Schwyz of 2016: The discrepancies identified were not detected by the automated QA System, but only through checks at the antennas themselves.

decision of the Federal court 1C_97/2018 of 3. September 2019

Created: 31.10.2019, 13:47 PM

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