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24 July 2020

Switzerland: "5G - The Wind is Shifting!"

"5G - the wind is shifting!"
schutz-vor-strahlung.ch, 22 July 2020 - translation
Press release: Semi-annual report 2020 of the Building Law Department

With 1,450 objections throughout Switzerland, 120,000 signatures against 5G were received within one year. The first scientific reports and studies as well as the assessment of Doctors for the Protection of the Environment clearly show the great risk of 5G. The Association for Protection against Radiation [Schutz vor Strahlung] is therefore calling for a national 5G moratorium to protect our health, our environment and our descendants. Now!

The majority of the population rejects 5G and countless communities support the will of the Swiss electorate. Many communities are taking their responsibility seriously, rejecting building applications or putting them on ice. Some of them are taking mobile communications planning into their own hands in a more sustainable manner.

5G slows down, the wind is shifting

One year ago, the Building Law Department of the association "Schutz vor Strahlung" (Protection against Radiation) started its work. At that time, more and more building applications for 5G antennas arrived daily. At the same time, the number of applications from affected persons greatly increased. With the publication of the legal opinion of the law firm Pfisterer und Fretz, the association pointed out that an increase of the limit value for adaptive antennas is not permissible. The introduction of 5G poses a great risk to human health and the environment because 5G antennas have to radiate much more than previous antennas, but this radiation can neither be measured nor controlled (lack of a QA system for adaptive antennas).

Against the will of the majority of the population

Surveys have shown that the majority of the Swiss population tends to reject 5G, or even completely rejects it. Within a very short time, a dense network of committed people has emerged among the population. When new construction applications are submitted, neighbors, friends and acquaintances inform each other and raise objections. So far, 1,450 objections have massively slowed down the expansion of 5G. Because mobile communications planning in Switzerland does not allow a democratic say, those affected are collecting signatures against the antennas. Experience has shown that when affected persons collect signatures for an objection at the doorstep, nine out of ten people sign the form. The vast majority of the population is against 5G. So far, over 120,000 signatures have been collected from people living within a radius of about one kilometer of planned antennas. In several towns, such as Basel or Bürglen UR, more than 1,200 and 1,600 people respectively have signed an objection to a single antenna! Many local resistance groups also emerged.

Resistance is successful in many places

The success begins with the fact that many Swiss municipalities do not even publish planning applications for 5G antennas. Or the applications disappear in the drawer after publication. Other municipalities even reject the planning applications (e.g. Feuerthalen ZH, Subingen SO, Nussbaumen TG, Matzingen TG, Hunzenschwil AG) or the operators withdraw the planning application after strong resistance (Biel BE, Subingen SO). Municipalities such as Spiez BE, Emmen LU, Kriens LU, Bellach SO and many others officially shelve the proceedings (suspension). Less well known than the moratoria in French-speaking Switzerland - but legally correct - is the de facto moratorium imposed by Canton Zug. There, building applications may only be processed if the limits are not exhausted, which is almost never the case with 5G. As a result, various building applications have been suspended, for example in Baar. Secret upgrades by means of petty proceedings are no longer possible in most cantons. A further legal means of the municipalities is the ban on operations, as practiced for example by the municipality of Oberrieden in the canton of Zurich. The antennas in Oberrieden may only be put into operation after the federal government's enforcement recommendation has been received.

Under the responsibility of the community

In the case of new buildings and conversions of all kinds, the local authority is usually responsible for the acceptance of construction work and the inspection of the buildings. It must ensure that all regulations are observed. How the acceptance measurement and subsequent inspection for adaptive 5G antennas should be carried out is not yet clear. Only the implementation recommendation will provide clarity, but this cannot be expected before 2021 at the earliest. Reliable measurement and control during operation is not possible either for municipalities or for the cantonal NIR [non-ionizing radiation] authorities. If the municipality itself is responsible for the building permit, it must either suspend the building permit procedure or reject the building application. By way of comparison, if instead of 5G it were a pharmaceutical company that discharged non-measurable but toxic substances into the wastewater, then this facility would not be permitted. Some communes are of the opinion that they could shift the responsibility to the cantonal offices. It is important to make a note of this: If the commune is aware of the impossibility of measuring and monitoring, it must refuse to grant a construction permit ex officio or issue a ban on operation.

Communities with sustainable planning

The development of 5G networks would require thousands of new antennas. The higher frequencies of 5G have a serious disadvantage: it is very difficult for them to overcome distances and obstacles such as trees, walls and rain. The antennas would therefore have to be placed as close as possible to the user, but at the same time they would also be connected to a fiber optic cable. More sustainable and healthier solutions than 5G have long been available. Many communities pay half of the costs for the fixed network fiber optic connection right into the living room. Large cities like Zurich, companies like Salt or villages like Berg SG and many more have taken this path. The city of Chur has chosen a sustainable path: It wants to examine the exact legal requirements with regard to 5G and has eliminated a planning zone. This means that further expansion will be stopped and then planned with the participation of the population.

Greatest success: limit values remain unchanged

The Federal Council announced on 22 April 2020 that the limit values would not be increased. This was after the Council of States had already twice in almost two years spoken out against an increase. With the evaluation of adaptive antennas proposed by the Federal Council, the limit increase through the back door is also off the table for the time being. However, the Federal Council wants to find out how much the population is actually exposed to adaptive 5G antennas. Several letters from the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) show that nobody knows how high the radiation exposure from adaptive antennas in real operation actually is. The mobile phone operators draw kilometer-wide radii around the adaptive antennas on their coverage maps, whereas the documents on the antennas only show minimum transmission powers (100 W effective radiated power ERP (Effective Radiated Power) for 5G, 2000 W ERP for 4G+). Such a large radius can never be achieved with the small power levels compared to 4G+. Based on frequency alone, the coverage radius of 5G would have to be much smaller than that of 4G+. And the larger the data transmission, the smaller the radius. This discrepancy suggests that even today, much too small transmission powers, which are out of touch with reality, are stated in the planning application documents and that the antennas radiate much more than authorized.

Negative effects on health increasingly clear

Initial reports and studies on 5G show a clear picture: 5G has all the properties that make mobile telephony a major risk. These include aggressive pulsation and high field strengths. The report of the scientific service of the EU Parliament clearly shows that the strong pulsations of 5G have negative effects on health and weaken the immune system. The best scientific work on 5G so far ("Adverse health effects of 5G mobile networking technology under real-life conditions", Kostoff et al.) shows the possible effects under real-life conditions. However, the general study situation lags years behind and mostly only shows effects caused by constant carrier waves. However, only the pulsation and the sum of many frequencies lead to significant negative effects. Since 5G has an extremely wide bandwidth, uses many different frequencies at the same time and pulsates strongly, the researchers conclude that 5G has a high risk of harm.

Responsible for content:
Rebekka Meier, head of the Building Law Department

Media contact only possible by e-mail to:
Jérôme Meier, Public Relations

Documents for media release:

Original text in German:

[Links to documents are all in German.]

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