Health impact of emissions from wireless communications, representations and evaluation

The request was refused by Public Health England.

Dear Public Health England,

Can you help me, please? I am concerned about some of the claims made about 5G technology.

Please provide under the Freedom of Information Act, and suitably privacy-protected...

All representations on the health impact of the emissions from wireless communications (covering Radio Frequency ElectroMagnetic Fields, and frequencies associated with 5G) made to Public Health England between Jan 2014 and Oct 2019 inclusive, and all evaluations of the representations made by PHE.

I am happy to receive the information in common document formats, e.g. Microsoft Word/Office, PDF, ODT by email. If the volume is particularly large, e.g. over 90MB in total, please contact me first by email before despatching.

I thank you for your help and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,
Brian Mooney
(submitted 4 Oct, no acknowledgement yet received)

FOI, Public Health England

OFFICIAL
Dear Mr Mooney

We acknowledge receipt of your email and request for information, which will be treated as a request for information under statutory access legislation.

Please note that requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) will receive a response within 20 working days from the day following the date of receipt of your request.

If the request is for your personal data (i.e. a Subject Access Request) under the Data Protection Act, then we will respond  within one month of the receipt of the request.

Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[Public Health England request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920 
www.gov.uk/phe   Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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<Message sent in response to PHE's concern over possible amount of work required and cost, and call to refocus the request
Note Request 673, submitted outside WDTK was identical to Request 677 so is jointly handled via this mechanism >
<From: FOI [mailto:[email address]]
Sent: 11 October 2019 12:03
To: [email address]
Cc: FOI
Subject: OFFICIAL: RE: Case ref 673 Freedom of Information Request
OFFICIAL
Dear Mr Mooney
Having considered your request carefully, your request for information is too broad in scope and our initial searches indicate that to determine whether we hold the information, retrieve and extract the information to respond to your request as it stands would exceed the cost limit of £600. The cost limit is calculated at a staff rate time at £25 per person per hour working for 24 hours to respond to the request. Therefore, the information is exempt in accordance with Section 12 - exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit - of the FOI Act.

Under our Section 16 duty to provide advice and assistance I have signposted you (see below) to clarify and narrow the categories you have enquired about including for example;

. Narrowing the time period of interest
. Further clarification by defining the specific health effect of concern and the specific communication technology/frequency range

Please note to ensure you receive a substantive response by clarifying the scope of your request by narrowing the topic/issue and timeline would be helpful in being more able to be responsive to the request.

If you would like further information about how to narrow the scope of your request, the Information Commissioner's Office's website has guidance on how make an effective information request (https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...).
Kind regards,
FOI Team>
<Reply on 28 Oct sent after delay from being away from home>
Dear PHE FOI Team,
Sorry for the delay in coming back to you. I have been away a lot this month.
You ask me to consider narrowing the scope of my request. How would it be if we focused it specifically on representations/evaluations of the health effects of 5G technology for the 2014-19 period, please?.
Whereas I am sure that you could search on this term, some synonyms like 'Fifth Generation' wireless or 'Millimetre Wave' are also used.
Please let me know what you feel would be a suitable target date?
Regards, Brian
(For the record, the RF frequencies envisaged for use in the UK are covered on https://5g.co.uk/guides/5g-frequencies-i... - essentially 700MHz, 1-6GHz, above 6GHz - but I suspect you already have this information). >

Dear FOI,
On 2 Nov, WhatDoThey Know.Com prompted me to provide a clarification.

On 28 October, I sent you the following specification directly - since uploaded to WhatDoThey Know.

(You asked me to consider narrowing the scope of my request. )
How would it be if we focused it specifically on representations/evaluations of the health effects of 5G technology for the 2014-19 period, please?.
Whereas I am sure that you could search on this term, some synonyms like 'Fifth Generation' wireless or 'Millimetre Wave' are also used.
(For the record, the RF frequencies envisaged for use in the UK are covered on https://5g.co.uk/guides/5g-frequencies-i... - essentially 700MHz, 1-6GHz, above 6GHz - but I suspect you already have this information).

This is a clearly narrowed spec (with 2 optional synonyms to help ) and an illustration you requested of the frequencies. It is very unlikely that anyone would make representation to you just based on frequency - without mentioning 5G
Now please confirm this meets your requirement and please let me know what you feel would be a suitable target date for providing the information on representations made to PHE and your evaluation of same?
Yours sincerely,
Brian D Mooney

FOI, Public Health England

OFFICIAL
Dear Mr Mooney

Please quote Case ref 673 as case 677 is a duplicate of the same request. This will help to avoid confusion.

Kind regards
FOI Team

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Dear FOI,
Thank you for your note today (Our ref: 28/10/ab/673)
My FOI request was clearly narrowed down to:
All representations on the health impact of the emissions from wireless communications (covering Radio Frequency ElectroMagnetic Fields, and frequencies associated with 5G) made to Public Health England between Jan 2014 and Oct 2019 inclusive, and all evaluations of the representations made by PHE.
Your reply included:
"There were no enquiries for the years 2014-2016 which asked about 5G, Fifth Generation wireless or Millimetre Wave."
Please look a little bit harder - the date specified was Oct 2019 not '2016'.
'Representations' will of course be more than 'enquiries' for the wider period?

Yours sincerely,

Brian D Mooney

Dear FOI,
I have not been supplied with further information that I believe PHE is likely to have on file, nor has PHE responded adequately to my comment about a gap in its most recent response. I therefore request an internal review.
Yours sincerely,

Brian D Mooney

FOI, Public Health England

OFFICIAL
Dear Mr Mooney

I apologise for the slight delay in getting a response to you. This is due to the volume of information that has been requested over the time frame you specified. In order to provide you with a substantive response the FOI team will get back to you next week.

Thank you for your patience.

Kind regards
FOI Team

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FOI, Public Health England

OFFICIAL

 

Dear Mr Mooney

Under regulation 7(1) of the EIRs a public authority may ‘extend the
period of 20

working days … to 40 working days if it reasonably believes that the
complexity and

volume of the information requested means that it is impracticable either
to comply

with the request within the earlier period or to make a decision to refuse
to do so.’

The Information Commissioner’s guidance makes it clear that a public
authority

should apply this section of the EIRs when ‘it reasonably believes it will
require additional time to locate and provide the information because the
requester has asked for a large amount of complex information and it would
not be practical to provide the information or make a decision about
whether to refuse the request within 20 working days.’

 

For further guidance as to the application of the EIRs, you may wish to
consult the

Information Commissioner’s website at:

[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-
organisations/documents/1641/guide to environmental information regulations.pdf  

In this instance owing to the amount of information which is potentially
captured

within the terms of your request it is necessary to extend the time in
line with the

provisions of regulation 7(1).  Accordingly, I will now aim to respond to
you by 22 January 2020 but much sooner if possible.

Kind regards

FOI Team

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FOI, Public Health England

2 Attachments

OFFICIAL
Dear Mr Mooney

Please find attached Public Health England’s response to your request for information.

Kind regards,

FOI Team

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FOI, Public Health England

2 Attachments

OFFICIAL
Dear Mr Mooney

Please find attached additional attachments, from Public Health England, for your request for information.

Kind regards,

FOI Team

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Dear FOI,
Acknowledging receipt of some material on 24 Jan. I had the flu from 25-30 Jan but am now recovered. A file received appeared to be 106 pages long. I am now able to start reading through it to appreciate to what extent my request has been met.
Yours sincerely,

Brian D Mooney