A revised proposal for the Electro-Magnetic Fields Directive voted through by the European Parliament in Strasbourg today is 'safe, proportionate and practical,' say Liberal Democrat MEPs, who lobbied hard for the original draft directive to be withdrawn.
The new text has been substantially modified after Lib Dem MEPS, especially former West Midlands MEP Liz Lynne, highlighted objections from industry and in particular health services that safety restrictions to prevent exposure to Electro-Magnetic Fields were so tightly drawn that technology such as hospital MRI scanners would be impossible to use.
Her successor, Phil Bennion MEP, the current Lib Dem Employment and Social Affairs spokesman, said the new proposals, supported by the UK government, were now practical and evidence-based.
"The previous EMF directive ruled out the use of MRI scanners in hospitals, by prohibiting nurses and other medical staff from being present in a scanner room with a patient during scans.
"Liz Lynne highlighted the concerns of doctors and raised the alarm, working closely with the health care sector. Initially these concerns where ignored by the other parties in the European Parliament which voted in favour of the draft legislation. But thanks to the hard work by Liz and the UK health sector, the European Commission realised the problem and halted the legislation.
"The Commission's revised proposal for a directive now allows for a variety of "derogations" which allow MRI and other techniques to be carried out so long as proper health and safety procedures are followed.
"It is good news that Parliament has adopted this improved legislation. Thanks to the hard work of Liberals in the European Parliament, the Commission has listened, changed its position and now produced legislation which is fit for purpose."
"As with all legislation, we have to make sure that this is now implemented in member states in a sensible way.
"Car manufacturers in the UK such as JLR had more recent concerns over how the directive would affect their working practices, which I discussed with their safety managers on the production line at Castle Bromwich. I've since been working closely with the UK government ministers, the Health and Safety Executive and others to ensure that this revision keeps the derogations needed for spot welding and other techniques that are essential in modern car assembly.
"I'm confident that this will be implemented in a sensible way in the UK and ensure that our manufacturers are able to continue to use the latest technology safely and efficiently."