The European GPR Association grew out of the former Impulse Radar Users’ Association (IRUA) which itself had been founded as a trade organisation in order to promote the use of radar technology, to encourage professionalism within the industry and to handle licencing issues.
Licencing of GPR became a more serious issue around 1993, in the wake of the Fred West case. GPR was used to locate the remains of Fred West’s victims. However, because this involved the use of unlicensed transmitting devices, the Radiocommunications Agency stepped in to prevent the use of the radars. In response the Gloucestershire police offered to arrest the representatives of the RA for impeding the course of a murder enquiry. The obvious implication was that both the equipment and the use of the equipment required a regulatory framework. The IRUA began to co-operate with the RA in order to develop both of these.
In July 1997, the IRUA ceased to exist and EuroGPR was formed in order to encourage participation across the whole of Europe. Sweden, the Netherlands & Germany were the first European countries from which new members were recruited.
The primary activity of the Association was to seek a pan European licencing framework for GPR equipment and a regulatory framework which would protect competent GPR users. There was also considerable interest in performance standards and training. One major hindrance for the Association in tackling these issues was a lack of funds. The work of progressing licencing at European level would not have proceeded without significant support in kind from 2 of the larger members of the Association (one of whom only joined EuroGPR at a later date).
The introduction of draft FCC regulations in the States in 2002, restricting parts of the bandwidth previously available to GPR, gave an additional impetus to EuroGPR to ensure that European licencing did not follow the same path.
Since c. 2000 EuroGPR has worked with all member states’ licencing authorities, not just Ofcom in the UK, to develop licencing frameworks for equipment & users.
In 2004 the executive committee of EuroGPR reviewed the Association’s own operating basis. As a result of this and also of the increasing membership, it became possible for the Association to build up its own funding. This allowed EuroGPR to contribute to the funding of representation in Europe. In 2008 the Association took over its own representation in Europe, becoming a member of the prestigious European Telecommunications Standards Institute.
The European framework for licencing of equipment came into force in 2007 and is based primarily on EuroGPR advice. Licencing continues to be a major concern, in particular the legitimate use of GPR throughout Europe. The Association’s other current initiatives include training and the development of professional guidance across all spheres of activity for which GPR is used.
9th July 2009