Environmental officials in Switzerland told Mobile World Live (MWL) reports of a blanket ban on future 5G infrastructure deployments in the country due to health concerns were not accurate, with local authorities instead tasked with ruling on the siting of the kit.

Responding to a report by Financial Times (FT), a representative of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) admitted it had recently written to the nation’s 26 regional authorities, known as cantons, regarding the placement of 5G equipment. However, the representative said an FT assertion the communication called on cantons to put planning permission for next-generation equipment on ice was “misleading”.

“The Federal Office for the Environment’s (FOEN) letter to the cantons does not contain any recommendation to stop the permitting of 5G base stations” the representative told MWL, adding: “Rather, it sets out how the cantons can proceed with the permitting of 5G and adaptive antennas until FOEN’s enforcement aid on adaptive antennas is available.”

However, the FOEN representative noted “some cantons and municipalities” had imposed moratoria on 5G planning permission, but added these do “not affect Switzerland in general”.

Swiss news site Le News last month reported protesters had again taken to the streets to object to the deployment of 5G, following “inconclusive” information from the government over perceived health risks which was published in November 2019.

Swissinfo.ch yesterday explained a lack of government guidance on infrastructure regulations were at the heart of the problems, citing concerns around antenna emissions.

Operators in the country were among the first in Europe to light 5G networks in 2019, with Swisscom swiftly forging global roaming deals with Elisa in Finland, and SK Telecom in South Korea.