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Radar retort


Peter Bevils' comments, (NCE 23 November) that the groups who have lobbied to impose licence requirements on Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) are just 'flies in the ointment' are scurrilous.

One of the reasons that GPR use has yet to achieve the market penetration and support for civil engineers that its potential offers, is that its legal status has been ambiguous and many operators were unlawful.

Responsible civil engineering companies were not prepared to risk stepping outside that protection for a new technology.

This situation arose because GPR's radiation format does not fit the normal licensing requirements because it is one of the 'new' UWB formats.

When this issue came to the attention of Ofcom in the early 1990s, EuroGPR, the trade association, negotiated a waiver, which allowed members meeting certain criteria to continue operations, with all other commercial activity being unlawful.

Subsequently, EuroGPR has negotiated for a Europe-wide approval and licensing scheme covering equipment, operators and operation according to a Code of Practice.

On 1 September 2006, Ofcom introduced a radio licence for all GPRs operating in the UK.

Initially this reects EuroGPR's early negotiations, but in the New Year it is anticipated that this will be modied to reect the Europe wide regulations.

Dr Richard J Chignell, EuroGPR licensing officer, technical director, PipeHawk, Systems House, Mill Lane, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 2QG

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