Health safety pledge over new 5G phone mast on Preston hospital roof

Plans to upgrade the mobile phone mast on top of the Royal Preston Hospital to use 5G technology will not cause health problems for patients and staff, according to a report to the city council.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 3:45 pm

Contractors wanting to boost connectivity in the Fulwood area have assured Town Hall bosses that the new technology is totally safe and will have no impact on those in the buildings below.

Cellnex UK Ltd, which plans to remove some of the existing radio antennae and replace them with more sophisticated equipment, says 5G is the future for mobile communications and is not dangerous.

"Cellnex sites transmit nothing more than ordinary radio waves," says a report to the planning committee.

Mobile connectivity will be boosted by the new 5G mast.

"Radio waves are electromagnetic fields and, unlike ionising radiation such as X-rays and gamma rays, can neither break chemical bonds nor cause ionisation in the human body."

Why does a mobile mast on the hospital roof need upgrading?

The equipment already on the rooftop at RPH supplies 3G and 4G networks. But Cellnex says the need for 5G in Fulwood is essential if the area is to enjoy the "immense benefit" of advanced connectivity which the new generation of technology provides.

"5G is judged by successive governments to be important to a modern economy and in attaining sustainability objectives," says the report.

The Royal Preston Hospital already has a 3G and 4G mast on its roof.

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"The apparatus proposed (on the RPH roof) will lead to significant improvements to a public service provided in the local area.

"In the UK mobile services now exceed fixed landlines in terms of customer numbers and usage.

"The public interest of the system is clear from the considerable benefits that will flow and it makes a significant and major contribution towards sustainable objectives."

Is there an alternative to a rooftop mast?

The alternative to upgrading the rooftop station at the hospital, says the company, would be to build more base stations around the area close to the hospital.

"In our opinion such a proposal would, in this instance, unnecessarily add to the clutter of the street scene and result in a greater visual impact.

How long have radio waves been in use all around us?

"There is significant UK Government support for the delivery of 5G, particularly as this new connectivity will be a step change from earlier generations of mobile connectivity and will be critical to economic growth and sustainable communities.

"In the UK, radio waves have been used by a whole range of public and commercial communication networks since the dawn of radio in 1922, when the BBC opened its first regular public broadcasting station (in the world) in London.

"Radio waves have underpinned the UK’s growth, prosperity and social inclusion. Radio waves have ensured the safety of our communities and supported national security.

"The UK’s public radio and television broadcasting networks have been transmitting non-ionising radio waves in the UK since the 1920s."

How has mobile phone technology improved?

Since the first mobile phone call was made in 1985 the technology has accelerated year on year to become an essential part of life around the globe.

The first 1G phones were analogue, 2G introduced digital communication, 3G brought in the first consumer-friendly mobile broadband internet experience and 4G has meant faster download speeds and quicker response times.

Now 5G will deliver ultra-fast reliable mobile connectivity and support even larger data requirements.