Keywords: cell phone communications, electromagnetic fields, precautionary principle, public participation, risk management, risk perception, precaution, mobile phones, Spain, local government, local councils, radiofrequency fields, cell phone antennae, mobile phone masts, mobile communications
Precautionary local politics and coping with risks of radiofrequency fields in Spain
In Spain, there is significant opposition to the building of new base stations for cell phone communications. Since 1999, this situation has led most local councils to declare a moratorium on new aerials in cities and villages. In the meantime, following European Union recommendations, state agencies developed several regulatory norms and laws, and asked for scientific evidence about their potential health effects. However, despite this, many local councils maintain the moratorium. This article describes the interrelationships between the different social agents involved in the whole process and shows how a kind of 'precautionary principle' is applied by local councils but without any clear intention on their part. I focus in this analysis primarily on the case of the autonomous region of Catalonia (Spain).