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Phone masts rules backed
[January 04, 2009]

Phone masts rules backed

Jan 04, 2009 (Gulf Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
NEW regulations to set up phone masts in the Muharraq Governorate have been given an initial approval, pending backing from environment authorities.

The Muharraq Municipal Council approved the regulations in principle, but chairman Mohammed Hammada said it planned to contact the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife.

The council banned the setting up of new masts in September 2007, while councillors investigated their safety. But some masts have been erected illegally.

The new rules could be effective next month when the ban is lifted, if the commission responds to the council's call, said Mr Hammada.

Under the new regulations, masts would have to be set up away from schools, kindergartens and hospitals.

"The stipulations look fine and I appreciate councillors' efforts, but we need an environmental opinion on whether we are doing the right thing," he said.

Under the regulations, temporary antennas should be no less than 2.5m above the ground, whatever they are attached to.

The masts should not affect any electrical or electronic appliances nearby, and telecommunications companies are obliged to adhere to international technical standards.

"The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) should ensure that international regulations are being followed, in addition to regularly measuring radiation levels to ensure that it is environmentally safe," said Mr Hammada.

Sound levels produced by masts should be less than 20 decibels.
The horizontal distance between a mast and the nearest human being (meaning where people live or work) should be 6m, while the vertical distance shouldn't be less than half a metre.

Masts should be at least 20m away from the nearest school or kindergarten fence, as radiation may affect children. They should also not be set up on school or university buildings.

They are banned on health centres and hospital buildings, because they may affect medical appliances.

They should be kept inside closed rooms on rooftops, or within fenced areas, with warning signs telling people to stay away.

Buildings, where the masts could be set up, should be between 15m and 50m high and must be higher than surrounding buildings.

Those wishing to have masts on buildings less than this height, can set them up on a pole equal in height to the nearest highest building.

To allow masts on any building above 50m, a permit has to be obtained by the commission.
Roofs where the masts are to be set up should be made of concrete.
No more than one mast can be set up on one roof or pole, but companies can go for three in one area provided they are 6m away from each other.

In the case of phone mast towers, receivers and transmitters within the same tower should be at least 4m away.

Companies are obliged to have no more than one transmitter and two receivers within one tower.
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