Gwynedd schools' wi-fi

The Welsh Government’s Education Digital Standards outlines a best practice solution for schools’ digital needs. Both wired and wireless connectivity are used, and Wireless Networking Standards are followed and adhered to.

Complex and technical issues such as the health effects from radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation require authoritative sources of advice. For that reason, the UK government established the Advisory Group for Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR). The conclusions of the AGNIR are publicly-available documents. This body has produced the risk assessment upon which government advice has been issued, and Gwynedd Council follows Public Health Wales' guidelines on Radio Waves, to include Wi-Fi in this instance.

"Based on the evidence and expert advice, members of the public do not need to take any special steps to reduce exposure to the low levels of radio waves from Wi-Fi networks and equipment (e.g. as used in public settings), smart meters or mobile phone base stations."

With further information available on the UK Government Website

"On the basis of current scientific information, exposures from Wi-Fi equipment satisfy international guidelines. There is no consistent evidence of health effects from RF exposures below guideline levels and no reason why schools and others should not use Wi-Fi equipment."

Gwynedd Council’s liability insurance cover provides an indemnity for the Council’s legal liability for third party injury or damage to third party property. There are no specific exclusions in the policy in relation to EMF injury, Wi-Fi/5g, or router exposures.

The technology Gwynedd utilises supports Wi-Fi standards (up to 802.11ax at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), and do not include any Mobile Frequency technology (3G/4G/5G). Where the NHS refer to Class 2b carcinogen risk, this refers to Mobile Phones, and not to any Wireless Access Point technologies being deployed in schools (and elsewhere) utilising non-ionising radiation.

Wireless Access Points installed are designed to comply with the following national and international standards on Human Exposure to Radio Frequencies:

  • US 47 Code of Federal Regulations Part 2 Subpart J
  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI) / Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers / IEEE C 95.1 (99)
  • International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) 98
  • Ministry of Health (Canada) Safety Code 6. Limits on Human Exposure to Radio Frequency Fields in the range from 3kHz to 300 GHz
  • Australia Radiation Protection Standard

These Access Points are designed not to exceed the limits for exposure to radio waves (radio frequency electromagnetic fields) recommended by international guidelines. The guidelines were developed by an independent scientific organization (ICNIRP) and include a substantial safety margin designed to ensure the safety of all persons, regardless of age and health. In addition, these Access Points are installed out of reach, well beyond required limits defined by the ICNIRP guidelines.

More OFCOM information can be found here.

Anyone with further enquires on this matter, should contact the UK government's Advisory Group for the Non-Ionising Radiations (addressed to Public Health England via their general enquiries contact point).