Licentiate thesis- Between Daring and Deliberating
3G as a Sustainability Issue in Swedish Spatial
Planning by Stefan Larsson
The thesis shows how different aspects of sustainable development have been handled or not
handled in the third generation infrastructure development in Sweden. The difference between
the design of the 3G development - emphazising competition, growth and regional access, based on a strong technological optimism - and the implementation, as the roll out struck the landscape, including the non-handled radiation issue and the legal changes in order to facilitate the roll out, is discussed and analyzed.
The roll out formally started in late 2000 as the licence allocation process, the so called beauty contest, was finished. Four operators were to build partly competing systems within three years, each covering 8 860 000 persons, more than 99,98 percent of the populated areas. The Post and Telecommunications Agency can sanction operators not fulfilling licence conditions by a considerable fine. The coverage by the end of the period was between 66 and 74 percent of the promised 8 860 000, with only three remaining operators still participating. Not until 1 December 2006 did the first operator report the required coverage, followed by the two remaining operators by 1 June 2007.
The municipal permit handling was blamed for the delay, a reason that "could not have been foreseen", which helped the operators avoid sanctions from the PTA. The thesis shows that a slow municipal permit process can not explain the lack of coverage in some areas of Sweden.
Environmental aspects were not handled at national level but assessed locally in the building permit handling, as well as the regional 12:6 consultations at the County Administrations. This is why the municipal permit process holds many of the keys regarding environmental management and planning. Therefore the permit processes regarding 3G
masts has been charted as they developed in time and screened for main issues and conflicts. Public participation can be found in the local context tied to the legal concept of being a concerned party in the permit process, or the 12:6 consultation. In spite of this, the much debated radiation issue is lifted from the participative aspects and legally defined as not relevant.
The theoretical basis of the analysis combines spatial planning and sociology of law, applying the sociological concept of norms as entities controlling action on the discussion of two different paradigms
of governance derived from planning theory. The thesis project has been a part of a study within the MiSt programme, an interdisciplinary research programme on tools for environmental assessment in strategic decision making funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Supervisors: professor Lars Emmelin, School of Planning, Blekinge Institute of Technology Karsten Åström, professor in sociology of law, Lund University.