Mobile phone towers – property owner risks
zaterdag, 16 juli 2022 - Categorie: Juridische Informatie
Source: EMR Australia
If a telecommunications company leases a landowner’s property to install a mobile phone base station and the radiation from that base station affects someone’s health, then who is responsible for meeting compensation claims?
Is it the telecommunications company? Is it the property owner? Is it both?
A recent judgement by a German court has shed light on this scenario and highlighted the risks that property owners can face.
The District Court of Munster found that property owners who lease space to telcos for the installation of mobile phone base stations share legal liable for harm that the equipment may cause.
The case was heard in the District Court of Munster. It concerned a local municipality who wanted to be released from its contract with a mobile phone company because of the risks that this contract posed to the municipality and its administrators.
Among the risks identified by the municipality’s lawyers were:
- that the majority of scientific studies show that harmful effects occur at levels of radiation below those allowed by current radiation standards;
- that complying with these standards does not remove a municipality’s legal risk;
- that municipality administrators are not adequately insured for liability and there are questions about how much additional funding should be allocated for adequate cover.
‘Since even official bodies such as the European Parliament's Research Service (STOA) point out that the limit values for electromagnetic radiation are too high by at least a factor of 10, the owner takes a liability risk when he or she enters into an agreement with a operator of a mobile telephone system in this respect,’ said the municipality’s lawyer, Krahn-Zembol.
The court refused the municipality’s request to terminate its contract and said that its liability would last for the full 30-year period of the contract. This means that the property owner is liable for any harmful effects that might occur from existing or future equipment on the property, including radiation from 5G technologies and those that haven’t been deployed yet.
The court’s decision means that owners of properties with base stations attached would be obliged to pay compensation, even if the equipment on site complied with relevant radiation standards.
The assessment of risk to owners of properties accommodating mobile phone base stations that was identified in this case is likely to apply to other jurisdictions and other countries as well.
Of particular concern is that the longer the contract with the telco, the greater the chance that owners will be called to answer for adverse effects. This is because radiation-related health problems are often thought to be due to cumulative exposure and some health problems, such as cancer, can take decades to develop. It’s also possible that new, and potentially future, technologies could cause more problems than earlier generations of technology. For example, a world-first study by Professor Lennart Hardell and Mona Nilsson showed that radiation from a 5G mobile phone antenna caused more symptoms for exposed residents than radiation from 3G and 4G antennas.
Further, courts in some countries have already issued judgements linking radiation from telecommunications equipment with health problems in humans and animals.
Property owners wishing to protect themselves from liability need to be aware that many insurance companies do not provide cover for EMF-related problems.
‘Court: property owners partly responsible for health damage to mobile base stations’,
Warning for municipalities, parishes and private owners, Diagnose:funk
5G radiation – world-first study
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