Italy gets tough on electromagnetic radiation

New law to introduce stricter controls, framework to enable prosecution of offenders

The Italian parliament last week approved a framework law containing strict provisions to curb electromagnetic radiation, over two years after a government decree on such emissions (ENDS Daily 5 November 1998). Italy's environment, health and telecommunications ministries must issue implementing regulations for the measure to take full effect.

Within the next two months the government now plans to set limits for emissions, thresholds for radiation in public places such as schools, hospitals and workplaces, and guidelines on the location of transmitters. A map of all electricity and telecommunication plants emitting radiation is to be produced within four months.

Environment minister Willer Bordon said the regulations were a priority for the government and would be issued within the set time frame. The government is eager to complete the process before general elections due in April or May. The issue of electromagnetic radiation is a very sensitive one in Italy, where several street protests have been held in the last few years to demand removal of telephone transmitting masts and pilons.

Under the new law, fines ranging from euros 1,000-300,000 (IL2-600m) will be payable where television transmitter or mobile telephone mast owners breach the rules. Over 150 violations of the limits set by the 1999 decree have been investigated so far, but no prosecutions could be taken because necessary administrative procedures were lacking.

Environmental group Legambiente welcomed the law, which it said put Italy at the forefront in the fight against electromagnetic radiation. Its leader, Ermete Realacci, praised the environment ministry for promoting the legislation.

Follow Up:
Italian government, tel: +39 06 67791; Italian environment ministry, tel: +39 06 57 22 55 80; Legambiente, tel: +39 06 86 21 81.

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