News for United Kingdom

 Page 1 of 218   Next›  Last» 

Confusion and resistance hits UK smart meter plan, says new report
United Kingdom Created: 18 Sep 2017
Lack of consumer engagement, insufficient information is slowing down the UK’s £11bn energy smart meter roll-out, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Sussex.

Lack of consumer engagement, insufficient information is slowing down the UK’s £11bn energy smart meter roll-out, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Sussex.

The government plans to install smart meters in every home by 2020 to reduce national household energy consumption by 5-15%, and thereby help meet the UK’s climate change targets.

But despite a £100m marketing campaign, the smart meter programme has not met its targets due to consumer apathy and confusion, especially in the case of vulnerable people, say the researchers.

Professor Benjamin Sovacool, lead author of the study and director of the Sussex Energy Group, writes:
“We have recently seen how the government had to backtrack on its ambitions to make installation in every home obligatory; they are basically admitting a degree of failure.”

After a year of the Smart Meter Implementation Programme (SMIP) energy providers had only managed to install the meters in 7% of homes. To hit the target by 2020, suppliers would need to install 40,000 smart meters per day for the duration of the programme.

Sovacool points to consumer confusion and even resistance to the programme.
“This is a clear sign that they need to improve consumer engagement and the provision of information about the benefits of the technology. This is especially true when it comes to vulnerable classes of people, such as the elderly and those less educated.”

Dr Paula Kivimaa, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, writes:
”Given the removal of several important policy instruments targeting energy efficiency and demand reduction in buildings in 2015, the SMIP has a crucial role in advancing these policy targets. However, the failure to engage consumers effectively puts the success of this programme at risk.”

The full study is available for free until the end of September:
https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1VWWr14YGgTtDm
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Electronics Weekly, Richard Wilson, 18 Sep 2017

New telecoms code turns landowners off mast agreements
United Kingdom Created: 12 Sep 2017
Farmers and landowners across the country are pulling out of telecoms agreements because of concerns over a tightening of communications legislation.

Strutt & Parker’s telecoms expert, Robert Paul, said that the new Electronic Communications Code, introduced in the Digital Economy Act 2017, would come into force in early 2018.

The code will affect all telecoms agreements, including BT wayleaves, and gives operators wider powers.

See also: What farmers need to know about the new telecoms code

Mr Paul said it was vital for landowners to understand how they may be affected

“The new code restricts the ability of a landowner to remove an operator, even if the lease has been breached or the rent has not been paid.

“An operator can only effectively be removed for redevelopment and then only after 18 months’ notice and potentially two separate court actions,” Mr Paul said.

He added: “Site providers, which include farmers and landowners, are now recognising the potential impact that an agreement for electronic communications equipment on their building or land might have on their normal business operations.”

Code concerns
Mr Paul said: “We are seeing many rural landowners who are unwilling to grant rights voluntarily because of concerns about the impact of the new code.”

And Mr Paul suggested that the number of landowners seeking to remove operators under the present code was up at by least 30% as they “woke up to the potential difficulties the new agreement could impose”.

The more onerous legislation was drawn up after telecoms companies complained that the existing code was unwieldy and was blocking government aims to improve coverage.

The operators voluntarily agreed to sign up to a new agreement, which imposed on them obligations to extend coverage in return for a new code improving their position.

Unrealistic demands
Developing phone technology would require a greater density of sites which, albeit with a smaller footprint, are still likely to give rise to the same issues and nuisances for site providers, said Mr Paul.

“Demands from operators for 24/7 access rights are often unrealistic and there are often good business reasons for restricting access.

“Operators’ demands for unfettered rights to fell trees, even for sites in commercial woodlands, are another major issue,” he said.

2020 network ‘unlikely’
Yet the Home Office, which is responsible for acquiring sites in more remote areas, is offering just £4,000 while also seeking wide assignation, sharing and access rights, said Mr Paul.

These issues and a growing reluctance to enter into agreements could threaten ambitions for greater coverage unless a resolution is found, he suggested.

“The terms being offered are proving unattractive to landowners and therefore the delivery of the improved network by September 2020 now looks unlikely.”
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Farmers Weekly, Jonathan Riley, 11 Sep 2017

The Guardian: If you don’t have a mobile phone, tell us why
United Kingdom Created: 9 Sep 2017
An online survey from the Guardian: As the world welcomes the latest iPhone this week, we want to hear from those who don’t have a mobile phone at all.

Apple will launch the iPhone 8 on Tuesday. The new phone is set to be a radical change for the company as it celebrates the device’s 10th anniversary.

While for some, this will be a day that they have eagerly awaited, others may be less enthused. And there may be a few who don’t have a smartphone or even a mobile altogether.
Share your experiences

We want to hear from those who don’t use mobile phones, or keeps the use of them to a limited amount. Why have you decided to do this? How has it changed your life? Has it made it easier to sleep? Do you miss key events? Are you considering getting a smartphone ever? Share your views.

Access the online survey via the souce link below (link at bottom of page)...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: EMFacts, Don Maisch PhD, 09 Sep 2017

Smart meters: 'Dog's breakfast' that'll only save you 'a tenner' – report
United Kingdom Created: 4 Sep 2017
Smart meters will cost each British household £420 and save people just “a tenner a year”, according to reports.

Cost-benefit estimates for the British smart meter programme vary hugely, with figures ranging from modest savings of around £26 a year (as we reported last year) to the Mail on Sunday’s latest guess coming from Gordon Hughes, an economist at the University of Edinburgh.

“The introduction of the smart meter is a dog's breakfast. At best it is misconceived and an astonishingly expensive project. For those claiming it will bring major savings, I say they need to grow up,” Hughes dutifully raged for the Sunday newspaper.

The £11bn project, which came about in part because of European Union directive 2009/72/EC, snappily titled “Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity and repealing Directive 2003/54/EC (Text with EEA relevance)”, along with a similar directive on gas meters, is supposed to put smart meters into 80 per cent of households by the year 2020.

An EU webpage last updated a couple of weeks ago says the UK is on track to meet this target, though the source of its claim is unclear. The same page states: “While cost estimates vary, the cost of a smart metering system averages between €200 and €250 [£184 - £230] per customer, while delivering benefits per metering point of €160 [£147] for gas and €309 [£284] for electricity along with, on average, three per cent energy savings.”

Four years ago a British report revealed that the cost of installing smart meters in the UK is £390 per household, while more recent estimates are that the benefits are now as low as £11 per household, agreeing with the University of Edinburgh’s Hughes’ estimates to the Mail on Sunday. All costs for installing the UK smart meter network, from the backend systems to the consumer unit in your home, are met by hiking up your gas and electricity bills.

A Dutch study from earlier this year also found that some smart meters are capable of giving wildly inaccurate readings, exaggerating energy consumption by up to 582 per cent.

The hugely expensive project was not helped when El Reg revealed that the monopoly comms hub supplier for the north of the UK, EDMI, wanted millions of pounds to change a single component in its hub.

As government figures have gradually watered down their language when referring to the project – the Conservatives’ 2016 manifesto referred to “offering” smart meters to households – it could be inferred that the “80 per cent coverage by 2020” target will be missed. Estimates vary widely over how many have been installed so far but the figure appears to be somewhere in the low millions, as compared to the UK’s 27 million households.

With the UK slated to leave the EU by 2020, it is unlikely that any financial penalties will result if the target is missed. ®
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Register, Gareth Corfield, 4 Sep 2017

Letter: Cancer worry over radiation
United Kingdom Created: 31 Aug 2017
Steve Grove is right, Letters, July 19 - Most low-level microwave radiation is found inside houses rather than outside them, and I agree with him – where are the facts on mobile phone masts?.

Our Government insists that drugs are tested before they are let loose on the public. No one tested the phone masts or the mobiles or the more dangerous Dect phones – Dect phones are like your own mini mobile phone mast in that they give out low-level microwaves in your home day and night. No one tested wi-fi or Bluetooth.

Basically it is left to us the public to prove that they are damaging our health.

The Government made billions selling the airwaves to the mobile phone companies who make around $17bn a year.

The economy profits. GNP goes up. Young and old are happily addicted to their phones.

The problem is that no one can see these microwaves – yet it seems to me that it is self-evident that, as our bodies/nerves work on electrical impulses, they can be interfered with by numerous other forms of radiation.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence – for instance, in nearby Crediton there were five cancers in four homes directly behind each other in the beam of a phone mast.

These people are not all old – the cancers in the house nearest the mast being a five-year-old child and her young mother.

I spent five years going around the cancer and other illness clusters around mobile phone masts in England, houses where even the dogs and pet rats got cancers.

There are independent scientific studies that show low-level microwaves damage health. Those studying them soon stop getting research grants. The mobile phone companies do most of the studies which are short and quick and show they don’t affect us.

I can point to scientists who have been removed or sacked if they get the wrong results.

More than 6,000 doctors in Germany signed the Frieburger Appeal, pointing out the illnesses their patients were prone to when living near mobile phone masts. Our English doctors are not allowed to comment.

Phone masts, such as the new one proposed in Totnes, are for 4G phones, smart meters that GCHQ warns us can be hacked, and probably for those passing through Totnes on the train.

The Government has tied the hands of planners and our district councillors. Mobile phone masts go up as if they were lamp posts.

The planners are not allowed to object on health grounds and the councillors will incur huge fines if they do – we will then pay them via our council tax, and the masts will go up anyway.

Sue Webster

Bridgetown, Totnes
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Totnes Today, Sue Webster, 26 Jul 2017

Prince Harry urges young people to put down their mobile phones and warns they affect mental health
United Kingdom Created: 30 Aug 2017
Young people should try to take a break from checking their mobile phones to “process their thoughts” instead of rushing through the day, Prince Harry has suggested.

Prince Harry, who has spent the year campaigning on mental health issues, said more still needed to be done to equip young people to deal with the modern world.

Citing statistics about the number of times young people check their mobile phones, he argued everyone would be “more effective and efficient” if they took more time to simply think.

Prince Harry spoke in Leeds at a panel event entitled “Encouraging Happy Young Minds”.

It follows months of tireless campaigning for Heads Together, the charity set up by the Prince and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to raise awareness about mental health issues.

In a speech, he said: “I cannot tell you how pleased William, Catherine and I are that the dial seems to have shifted and that there is now greater understanding, compassion and kindness for anyone who opens up about their struggles.

“But let's not kid ourselves that the job is done - there is much much more that we can do at every level to make conversations about mental health as commonplace as those about physical health.

“For example, we need to better equip our young people with the tools they need to cope with this increasingly complex and fast moving world we live in.

“I read recently that young people check their phones at least 150 times per day – I'm sure we could all be more effective and efficient if we took a moment to process our thoughts rather than rushing from one thing to the next.”

Prince Harry added that since the London Marathon, which had Heads Together as its official charity, he had spoken to many people who now felt able to confide in friends and family about their feelings.

"On average, it takes someone who is struggling with their mental health about ten years to admit they have a problem," he said.

"What this means is that, something which may start as a minor issue will spiral downwards over time to become a serious and persistent problem, perhaps even requiring professional help."

So many stories he had heard, he said, "could have been very different if awareness was better and help had been sought sooner".

Prince Harry added that since the London Marathon, which had Heads Together as its official charity, he had spoken to many people who now felt able to confide in friends and family about their feelings.

"On average, it takes someone who is struggling with their mental health about ten years to admit they have a problem," he said.

"What this means is that, something which may start as a minor issue will spiral downwards over time to become a serious and persistent problem, perhaps even requiring professional help."

So many stories he had heard, he said, "could have been very different if awareness was better and help had been sought sooner".



If reports are to be believed, Prince Harry has found common ground with the Queen on the subject of young people and technology.

At a garden party last year, Barbara Wilkins, 82, who received the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours for services to education, said she had discussed how modern children are "all digital these days".

"She agreed," Mrs Wilkins said then. "She said her grandchildren did things for her digitally but she didn't like them to be on their phones and computers all the time. She says they need social skills. She was like any other grandmother really."

Later in the day, the Prince, who is patron of the Rugby Football League, spent time at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the home of Leeds Rhinos, along with players, schoolchildren and mascot Ronnie the Rhino.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Telegraph, Hannah Furness, 06 Jul 2017

That was quick! ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS EXCLUSION document removed!
United Kingdom Created: 18 Aug 2017
7th of August we published the link to the insurance industry-wide exclusion for electromagnetic fields - and now its vanished from the source website, to instead return a "404" not found page.

Fortunately, we did archive a copy here on Mast-Victims, which you can get here below:

Aug 2017, United Kingdom: Insurance Industry: ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS EXCLUSION

Other ways to get the document text:

The Internet Archive "WaybackMachine" has a copy, here:
http://web.archive.org/web/20160419160105/http://wrbmag.com/manuals/General%20Liability%20Forms/BMAG%20FORM%20CL%20CG%2021%2043%2003%2006%20Electromagnetic%20Fields%20Exclusion.pdf

And a HTML rendering of the document is still retrievable from Google's cache:
https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http%3A%2F%2Fwrbmag.com%2Fmanuals%2FGeneral%2520Liability%2520Forms%2FBMAG%2520FORM%2520CL%2520CG%252021%252043%252003%252006%2520Electromagnetic%2520Fields%2520Exclusion.pdf
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Mast-Victims.org, H. Eiriksson, 18 Aug 2017

Don't play with our children's lives! Uproar from parents over mobile phone mast to be built in youth centre grounds
United Kingdom Created: 17 Aug 2017
Parents are up in arms about a mobile phone mast which they say could harm the lives of their children.

The plans have been passed by Stroud District Council for the facility in the grounds of Frith Youth Centre, adjacent to Bussage playing field.

A registered charity which exists to provide a wide range of activities for local young people including various classes, the centre has permission to install the 24-metre mast yards from where children play.

More than 100 people signed a petition against the proposal, with their main concerns being the health impact, the surrounding countryside being AONB land and the negative visual element.

"The mast will destroy a bastion of microwave frequency free land for young children and the natural world to thrive, let's keep it a safe haven for the health of generations to come," said a message on the petition site to its backers.

The plans were approved without a public meeting to gauge the weight of opinion in both directions.

A recent meeting of Chalford Parish Council heard Cllr Paul Lily carried out substantial research into health risks associated with masts and confirmed it is not one with especially strong emissions.

However, similar plans in Painswick were recently rejected after public consultation.

"In my book if you want access to public money then you should try to act in accordance with majority public opinion," said one resident opposing the Frith Youth Centre project.

There have been health concerns over phone masts for years.

In 2011, the World Health Organisation /International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk for a malignant type of brain cancer.

The Trustees of The Frith Youth Centre issued this statement: "We have agreed in principle to sign the contract with CILT for the mobile phone mast subject to further negotiation.

"The Trustees realise this will disappoint those who are unhappy about the mast, but having considered carefully the claims of the campaigners, the Trustees have concluded the interests of The Frith Youth Centre and the wider community are best served by signing the contract."
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Gloustershire Live, Melissa Jones, 16 Aug 2017

Insurance Industry: ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS EXCLUSION
United Kingdom Created: 7 Aug 2017
This endorsement modifies insurance provided under the following: COMMERCIAL GENERAL LIABILITY COVERAGE FORM.

The following is added to paragraph 2. Exclusions of both Section I – Coverage A – Bodily Injury And Property Damage Liability and Section I – Coverage B – Personal And Advertising Injury Liability:

This insurance does not apply to:
Electromagnetic Field Emissions and/or Radiation

*SNIP* Read the entire document via the source link below...

Document also archived here:
http://www.mast-victims.org/resources/docs/BMAG-FORM-CL-CG-21-43-03-06-Electromagnetic-Fields-Exclusion.pdf
Click here to view the source article.
Source: General Liability Forms, 06 Sep 2011

It’s been a bad day for Smart Meters in Britain
United Kingdom Created: 4 Aug 2017
This evening, the BBC’s Watchdog Live programme did a follow up to its previous investigation on fires that have potentially been caused by poorly executed installations of smart meters. Since the original investigation they’ve been contacted by more people affected and tonight showed the devastating consequences for two families, whose homes had been gutted by fire – one from a faulty gas meter installation, and the second attributed to a faulty electricity meter installation.

The faults are not ascribed to smart meters themselves, but the haste to meet Government targets to install 53 million new meters by 2020. Because of multiple delays in the deployment programme, the industry is having to treble the number of installers, which is raising concerns for the safety of installations and has resulted in calls for a review of the timescales for installation.

Despite four requests, Greg Clark, the Minister for Hiding Things and not Admitting the Truth, who moonlights as the Energy Secretary, had refused to go onto the program or provide any explanation. Presumably, because so far, these have been largely unreported events. What Watchdog Live has done is to bring them to the public attention.

An interesting statistic they provided was from BEIS – The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. They said that in the first six months of 2017 “only 18 incidents had been reported out of 3 million installations”. That is one of those statistics which seem innocuous and reassuring at first glance, but start to get very worrying when you look at what’s underneath.

The British smart metering programme aims to install 53 million smart meters. So, if it carries on at this rate, that will mean 159 incidents for the full rollout. However, almost all of the 3 million installations which BEIS refer to will have been performed by the existing, experienced installation teams which have been doing this for year. It’s only now that the newly trained installers are starting to come into the picture. If we assume they may result in a doubling of the mis-fitting rate, (which is probably conservative), that would lead to just over 300 incidents we can expect over the next three years.

That’s 300 occasions where a house, flat or apartment may burn down. The tragic fire at Grenfell Towers destroyed 98 apartments, so, based on BEIS’ numbers, we are looking at the equivalent of one Grenfell Tower disaster per year for the next three years. Whilst that might feel like a glib comparison, it won’t feel like that for each of those people who lose their home. Stalin was alleged to have said that “A Single Death is a Tragedy; a Million Deaths is a Statistic”. It appears that Greg Clark’s equivalent is that “an individual fire can be ignored, a Grenfell Tower changes party policy”. So he’s content to hide and carry on with the smart metering deployment in the hope that no-one notices individual houses burning down.

We need far more information about how these installations are progressing. As this issue has not been raised, it’s unlikely that the fire service or the National Grid (who deal with gas emergencies) are specifically attributing incidents to smart meter installations, where that is appropriate. That needs to be corrected, so that we can get a far better handle on the effect of the massive influx of new installers. The industry perception is that they pose a risk, but we have no clear evidence and it is vital that we capture it.

There is a desperate need to review safety in this programme. It is not a smart meter issue per se, but a consequence of the rush to an unachievable political target, which many in the industry have been highlighting for years as an unacceptable danger.

The message from Watchdog Live was clear. Until common sense is applied to this mad rush to install, householders should not accept the offer of a smart meter. Your home is far more important than Mr Clark’s obsession with a political tick-box.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Creative Connectivity, Nick Hunn, 27 Jul 2017

 Page 1 of 218   Next›  Last» 
 News item: