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Motion on “Regulating mobile radio base stations to protect public health” (Amendment passed)
2014-01-22

Hon Charles Peter MOK’s amendment

(#Note: Bold and underlined: Additional wording; Deletion line: Deletion of original wording)

That in recent years, the number of, with the rising penetration rate of mobile communications services in Hong Kong, more and more people use mobile phone and data services, especially high speed mobile broadband services; in order to improve the quality of the relevant services, mobile service operators must identify suitable locations, such as rooftops and external walls of buildings, for installing mobile radio base stations (‘mobile base stations’) installed by various telecommunications companies on the rooftops and external walls of buildings has substantially increased, and so far more than 32 000 mobile base stations have been installed in Hong Kong; the mobile base stations on quite a number of the rooftops of buildings are very dense, and information shows that 10 or so mobile base stations are installed on the rooftop of a building, with their locations very close to residential settlements, the most serious example being a mobile base station located less than 3 metres from residents’ beds, causing residents to be exposed directly to the effects of radiofrequency radiation emitted by the mobile base station, with cases such as infants having abnormal restlessness and wailing, and adults having symptoms of tinnitus, headaches, insomnia and marked deterioration of concentration, etc.; besides, mobile base stations installed on the rooftops of buildings also hinder residents from escape when there is fire and impair building structure; and the practice of the Communications Authority (‘CA’) not consulting affected residents prior to granting approval to telecommunications companies to install mobile base stations has deprived residents of the right to information and the right to monitoring, so as to enhance mobile network coverage and meet users’demand for mobile data usage and speed; yet, people are concerned that the signals from mobile base stations on rooftops of buildings may affect residents’ health, and mobile base stations may also affect fire safety and building structure; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to:

(1)          request CA to expeditiously review the vetting and approval procedure for installing mobile base stations to require that CA must consult affected residents beforehand when vetting and approving the relevant new applications or renewal applications, and formulate an implementation timetable for this new procedure encourage owners’ corporations or management companies of buildings to actively inform residents of matters relating to the installation of mobile base stations in buildings;

(2)          expeditiously conduct a study on enacting legislation to regulate the installation of mobile base stations, including regulating the distance between mobile base station and residential settlement, the maximum number of mobile base stations installed in each building and the distance between one mobile base station and another, as well as devising formulate a code of practice to require mobile service operators to alleviate the impact of mobile base stations on the public and buildings, and ensure the compliance of mobile base stations with the requirements of the relevant government departments and regulators, and devise a mechanism for handling complaints about mobile base stations, etc., and formulate a legislative timetable;

(3)          having regard to the dense buildings and high population density in Hong Kong, conduct a study on setting the non-ionizing radiation limits more stringent than those required by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection require that the radiation levels of mobile base stations installed by mobile service operators in public areas must be in compliance with the safety standards set out in the Code of Practice for the Protection of Workers and Members of the Public against Non-Ionising Radiation Hazards from Radio Transmitting Equipment issued by the Office of the Communications Authority;

(4)          by making reference to other countries’ relevant research findings and professional opinions, timely conduct a review of Hong Kong’s safety standards of radiofrequency radiation, so as to protect public health; and

(4)(5)       request CA, the Department of Health and the Buildings Department set up an inter-departmental task force to compile records and statistics on cases of mobile base stations affecting residents, and provide solutions to the residents who suffer nuisance.

Office Of Hon. Charles Mok, Legislative Councillor (IT)