Lithium battery fires

Lithium batteries have caused fires in the rubbish lorries. Please do not put batteries in your waste or recycling bin. All batteries (including lithium batteries from e-bikes and e-scooters and other re-chargeable devices) can be taken to the Reuse and Recycling Centre at Northumberland Wharf.

Radiation and radioactive substance register

Radiation can come from one of two sources. Natural radiation is present in certain materials in the earth and particles that exist in the air.

Artificial radiation is caused by man-made processes. The effects of radiation are the same, regardless of the source.

The average person in the UK will receive approximately 12 per cent of their annual dose of radiation from the suns rays. Another 50 per cent is caused by Radon (Rn) a gas generated from naturally occurring uranium present in the earth. See DEFRA's website for more information.

Tower Hamlets is a low radon area.

Artificial radiation sources include medical treatments (approximately 14 per cent) and fallout from nuclear tests and accidents (approximately 0.2 per cent). See DEFRA's website for more information.

A person will be continually exposed to a low level of radiation throughout their life, this is perfectly normal and is not harmful to the health.

Exposure to large amounts of radiation however can cause sterility, cataracts or even death. Lower amounts of exposure over a long period of time can cause cancer pr hereditary defects in descendants.

For further information please contact the Radiation Protect Division of the HPA on

Radioactive substances register

A number of premises use small amounts of radioactive materials. In Tower Hamlets these premises are usually the radiography departments of hospitals.

All these premises are registered with the Environment Agency under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993. London Borough of Tower Hamlets keeps a public register of information about these premises.

Mobile phone masts

The main concern about radiation in the last few years is radiation from mobile phone masts. Mobile phone companies have a licence from the government to provide network installations throughout the country. They have to show some consideration in the location and the design of the installation.

Mobile phones work by using radio waves transmitted from base stations – both emit radio frequency radiation when in use. This radiation is an electromagnetic transmission of energy, similar to that from televisions or radios.

Research has been carried out worldwide and more studies are continuing to assess if this radiation is a health risk – no conclusive evidence has been found at present. However, as this technology is new and with unknown long-term effects, the government requires that the emission of radiation does not exceed the levels set by the  International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).