The bill by Mme Laurence Abeille, the member of parliament for Val-de-Marne relating to the sobriety, transparency and consultation in electromagnetic waves exposure matters, passed into law on 29 January 2015. The law confers new missions on the national radio frequency agency and strengthens its current missions.
After over two years of work, the legislation that has just been adopted underlines the importance of sobriety in terms of the exposure of the general public to waves. It defines the complete framework so that the deployment of mobile networks respects this sobriety, while ensuring that digital innovation and development is not hindered. It also contains provisions so that our citizens are better informed on the exposure to waves, in particular those from close sources (mobile terminals, Wifi boxes, etc.). The legislation reinforces the transparency of information in this field.
The Agency has several new missions:
1. Every year, the Agency must list the atypical spots defined as “places where the level of exposure of the public to electromagnetic fields is substantially in excess of what is generally observed nationally”. The operators of radio transmission sites must deal with the identified spots within six months of being notified.
2. The Agency will be conferred the creation and management of a national dialogue committee on the levels of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic waves. It will actively contribute to consultation on the subject of the exposure of the general public to waves and will participate in informing the stakeholders about these issues. The Agency will present the annual results for all the electromagnetic field measurements as well as the technical measures taken to reduce the levels in the atypical spots.
3. The Agency will also have a mission to supervise exposure simulations. It must publish the national directives with a view to harmonising the presentation of results from exposure simulations generated by the installation of a radio installation.
4. Finally, within one year of the adoption of the legislation, the ANFR must make a local map of existing cell towers available to all French localities.
Furthermore, the extension of the duty to indicate the SAR defined by the legislation, strengthens the Agency’s missions as a market monitoring authority for the radio equipment and telecommunications terminals.
· The complete text of the act
The installation of a transmitter is subject to a certain number of constraints. One of them is the installation authorisation issued by the ANFR.
A. The installation authorisation issued by the ANFR
Transmitters must have an authorisation issued by the ANFR. More precisely, only transmitters of a power in excess of 5 watts are subject to this authorisation - only a declaration is required for transmitters of between 1 and 5 watts. The ANFR does not manage the other authorisations that may be required (works declarations, planning permission).
When ANFR considers submissions, it verifies the mutual radio spectrum compatibility of installations and whether rules of public exposure to electromagnetic fields (with particular reference to decree 2002-775) have been duly observed.
B. Monitoring the exposure of the general public using “on-site” measurements
Measurements are one of the ways of checking that the exposure limit values are respected. Most often, they are used as part of the field level monitoring in spaces open to the public.
C. Site inspections and emission monitoring by the ANFR
On radio sites (a typical example being high pylons occupied by several network operators) the ANFR checks, using measurements, that the installation specifications (transmitters + antennas) are compliant with those recorded on their authorisations. Measurements are one of the ways of checking that the exposure limit values are respected. Most often, they are used as part of the field level monitoring in spaces open to the public.
D. Communication and consultation
The ANFR maintains two databases, one containing the transmitter installation authorisations, the other containing the measurements made by accredited laboratories. Using the data it collects, it has created a website called Cartoradio.
The Agency answers requests for information from the general public and local authorities and updates the web site regularly.
Local authorities that carry out exposure value experiments send the Agency their results.
Furthermore, prefects can request the Agency’s participation in the regional consultation meetings and the Agency also responds to requests from town halls.
Measurement laboratories must meet strict quality requirements. They must:
- use the protocol that the ANFR has drawn up based on a European standard;
- be accredited for this protocol by the French accreditation committee (COFRAC) or equivalent to establish conformity and be published on the ANFR’s www.cartoradio.fr web site;
- fulfill the independence conditions;
- send their measurement reports to the Agency.
The ANFR monitors the market for equipment sold in France:
- in particular, it checks that the consumer documentation is present and compliant (in particular that it details the precautions for use to apply);
- it has a laboratory check that user exposure levels to the radiation emitted by the device (the specific absorption rate) is compliant with regulations and matches the level indicated in the instructions.