Switzerland: Federal Council relaxes limit: Up to ten times transmission power for 5G

Media release, Schutz-vor-Strahlung ch, 17dec2021 – translation

Parlement house Bern

Zurich, December 17, 2021 The ruse to relax the limit value(1) has now turned into an ordinance(2) that is obviously intended to break down the population’s resistance to 5G by force. The Federal Council is thus ignoring two decisions of the Council of States, the vast majority of the population and the tireless warnings of doctors. It breaks its earlier promise not to relax the limits for mobile communications. Thus, it wants to illegitimately deprive residents near antennas, municipalities and cantons of many of their rights, although courts have judged this to be inadmissible. We therefore strongly condemn this decision of the Federal Council: it endangers health, is illegal and causes anger in wide circles, as well as many hundreds of further unnecessary legal proceedings.

Since 2016, mobile operators have been actively trying to relax the limits for mobile phone installations. These limits apply in the home, at the workplace and in the playground. Twice, the Council of States voted against relaxing the limits, and the population was also against relaxing the limits for 5G: 85%(3) of respondents voted against it in a survey in 2020. Antenna residents are fighting back with thousands of objections. Where installations were approved, promises were made that the anticipated radiation exposure would be the worst case. It was understood that the limit values must be complied with at all times, as the Federal Council had publicly promised several times. If the correction factor recommended by OFEV [Federal Office for the Environment] was later applied to a project, the approving municipalities assumed that a new building permit procedure would be necessary.

But now, suddenly, there is a U-turn: The Federal Council is using its last resort to accelerate the introduction of 5G. In the revised Ordinance on Protection against Non-Ionizing Radiation (ORNI) it states that adaptive 5G antennas may emit up to 10 times more radiation than the other antennas. They are to be able to apply a so-called « correction factor » that disguises the real radiation exposure. But that’s not all: the Federal Council wants to prevent anyone from objecting to this and stipulates that neither the residents near the antenna nor the municipality will learn anything at all about the increase in the antenna’s transmission power, while the cantons will only have to accept an amended form.

The argumentation in favor of the correction factor is simple, but at the same time technically completely wrong: Adaptive antennas would lead to less radiation overall than conventional antennas because they would radiate in a targeted manner. But the exact opposite is the case:

  • An adaptive antenna can radiate several beams simultaneously at full power, which is what it is designed for: it is called a MIMO antenna, the MO standing for Multiple Output. Multiple beams are the key to adaptive antennas, enabling them to transmit more data.(4)
  • This antenna is designed to transmit much more data, which in turn leads to more radiation (rebound effect).
  • The adaptive antenna is in addition to the previous antennas and frequencies.
  • The adaptive antenna has a much smaller range(5) because of the high frequency. Therefore – just to compensate for this – it has to radiate up to 12 times more strongly than previous antennas.
  • After 100 meters, the beam of an adaptive antenna is already about 30 meters wide and radiates all persons behind, in front of and next to the user.
  • Finally, the radiation decreases only on average (the FOEN writes « globally »(6) ), and this on the surface, i.e. on average over forests, meadows, mountains and inhabited areas.

According to the Federal Council, the averaging over 6 minutes should lead to the same amount of radiation for the residents near the antenna as before, despite the enormously high peaks. However, this irresponsibly endangers the health of the residents. In its January 2021 newsletter, the federal advisory expert group BERENIS published a study(7) financed by OFEV. The authors of the study expect negative health effects already at 5 V/m – and this for people with pre-existing conditions, for very young children as well as for the elderly. With adaptive antennas, continuous peaks of up to 18 V/m are possible. The constant extreme change in radiation exposure is also stressful for the body. We can compare this with our everyday experience: constant fluctuations in air pressure cause headaches, temperature fluctuations strain the heart, flashing lights damage the eye.

If it were up to the Federal Council, it is precisely the much more harmful and non-measurable adaptive antennas that should now be allowed to radiate much more strongly than the constantly radiating antennas.

By stating that the enormous amplification of the antenna is not a « modification » of the installation, the Federal Council wants to abolish any right of objection and information. According to the Federal Council, the operators should send a request form to the canton and from then on be allowed to transmit with up to 10 times the power. This unlawful regulation comes into conflict with previous rulings: the Bernese Administrative Court(8) as well as the Zurich Building Appeal Court already ruled that the application of the correction factor requires a new building permit procedure. This is because federal court case law is clear: if an impact on the environment changes, a building permit is required(9).

The association Schutz vor Strahlung calls on the Federal Council to immediately revoke the Ordinance and subsequently create real legal certainty from the point of view of the residents, and not from the point of view of the antennas. Our association will support everyone in their efforts to assert their right to information, to appeal and to be heard, as well as their right to health protection – be it the residents near the antenna, municipalities or the cantons.

Media contact Schutz-vor-Strahlung – (Association Protection from Radiation)
Rebekka Meier, President and Head of the Building Law Department
rebekka.meier(@)schutz-vor-strahlung ch
032 652 61 61

Schutz-vor-Strahlung.ch – Original press release in German

Supportive documents in German

  1. Medienmitteilung von Schutz vor Strahlung zum Buebetrickli
  2. Medienmitteilung des Bundesrates vom 17. Dezember 2021
  3. Digital-Barometer 2020/21
  4. Mehrere Beams senden gleichzeitig
  5. Kleinere Reichweite der Antennen
  6. BAFU: Überschätzung bei Worst-Case-Szenario
  7. Berenis-Newsletter Sonderausgabe Januar 2021
  8. Erste Verwaltungs­gerichts­urteile (Kanton Bern) zu 5G-Antennen
  9. Gutachten im Auftrag der BPUK

Source – Towards Better Health – Switzerland: Federal Council relaxes limit: Up to ten times transmission power for 5G – Translation

Note, added 6V 20V graphic and support document list from PDF