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PPS 10: Telecommunications
Annex B: The Radiocommunications Agency and Control of Radio Interference

B1 All users of radio equipment are required by the terms of wireless telegraphy legislation to avoid creating undue radio interference with other radio users, including domestic television sets, and their equipment must be designed to minimise it. There are also regulations made under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 that set limits for unwanted radio frequency emissions from certain types of non-radio equipment, such as household appliances and some office machinery (but not computers). In addition there are European Regulations governing the compatibility and immunity to electromagnetic interference of electrical devices. Up to date details of the current regulations can be found on the Radiocommunications Agency website ( Opens link in a new browser window). In most situations, therefore, questions of potential interference are of no relevance to the determination of planning applications for the masts or antennas needed to operate a transmitter. Other controls will generally be available to deal with radio interference problems.
B2 However, significant interference can arise despite these controls. For example, the source of the interference may be a type of equipment that is outside the scope of the regulations; or there may be site-specific factors that give rise to interference, even though the legislation is complied with. In addition, interference may be caused by the building itself, perhaps because it physically blocks signals or reflects them, causing ‘ghosting’. This type of interference cannot be dealt with under the radio legislation. Whether any such interference is significant enough to warrant treatment as a material planning consideration, and the weight to be attached to it if it is, will be a matter of fact and degree in each individual case and the Department will therefore only be able to form a view in the light of the individual circumstances (see Policy TEL 2).
B3 In cases in which interference from a transmitter or from non-radio equipment has occurred, it will be necessary to take into account the ability of the affected equipment to resist unwanted signals. Complainants should first approach their service engineer, aerial contractor, equipment supplier or dealer. Experience has shown that, in the majority of cases, the affected equipment has insufficient immunity to interference or there is a defect in its installation. Such interference can often be alleviated by means of suitable technical measures to improve the immunity of affected equipment to unwanted signals.
B4 Domestic viewers and listeners can also request an interference investigation from the Radiocommunications Agency (RA), which is responsible for enforcing the legislation on radio interference. The RA will not charge for an investigation unless they diagnose the problem as being due to deficiencies in the complainants’ own equipment. The RA has produced a leaflet for householders titled ‘Television and Radio Interference’ (RA leaflet 179) which details their investigation services. This may be obtained by telephoning the RA on 0207211 0211 and asking for the library, or by accessing the RA website ( Businesses suffering interference may consult their local office of the RA (contact details available in RA leaflet 206).
B5 Where advice is sought, the following may be able to assist:
Independent Television Commission
ITC Engineering Information
Staple House
Staple Gardens
Winchester SO23 8SR
Tel: 01962 848647
Website: Opens link in a new browser window
The Radio Authority
Holbrook House,
14 Great Queen Street
London WC2B 5DG
The Association of Consulting Engineers
Alliance House,
12 Caxton Street,
London SW1H 0QL
Tel: 020 7222 6557
Website: Opens link in a new browser window
The Radio Society of Great Britain
Lambda House,
Cranborne Road,
Potters Bar
Hertfordshire EN6 3JE
Tel: 0870 904 7373
Website: Opens link in a new browser window
British Broadcasting Corporation
BBC Reception Advice,
Television Centre
Wood Lane,
London W12 7RJ
Tel: 08700 100 123
Website: Opens link in a new browser window
The Radiocommunications Agency
Wyndham House,
189 Marsh Wall
London E14 9SX
Tel: 020 7211 0502 or 0505
The Institution of Engineering and Technology
Savoy Place,
London, WC2R 0BL
Tel: 020 7240 1871
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