REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 337

Revolt news 21/08/2011 Print (pdf) Version

1. Following the Ofgem Review (news336), Alasdair Philips questions whether they are taking any notice of the Government's UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UKNEA, see also news329.11) initiative that is supported by Defra etc.  Alasdair says “There are some massive (11MB and 18MB) file downloads available from this website. They make good reading.”  

2. The first Key Message of UKNEA is: “The natural world, its biodiversity and its constituent ecosystems are critically important to our well-being and economic prosperity, but are consistently undervalued in conventional economic analyses and decision making”.

3. Emma from New Zealand writes: “I’ve been co-ordinating an international effort asking Avaaz to campaign for better international EMF safety guidelines. Avaaz ( is a rapidly-growing global non-profit organization; their campaigns typically address environmental issues, corruption and human rights, and they already have over nine million members. If you would like to help, please send an email to , with the title: Attn: Dominick EMF Campaign Suggestion.”

4. The above initiative comes through ICEMS with reference to its Porto Alegre Resolution. The campaign asks WHO “to promote a precautionary approach to public health and safety, to reject the current ICNIRP EMF guidelines, and to develop new safety standards that take into account biological effects and cumulative exposures across the whole spectrum”. Given the 2011 IARC 2B classification for mobile phones and the long-standing 2002 class 2B for powerline EMF, there is a need for strengthening precautionary policy and applying it more firmly in both areas. The campaign deserves general support, without requiring everyone to agree with every sentence of the narrative.

5. From Microwave News: American and Brazilian cancer researchers have succeeded in stabilizing and shrinking inoperable liver tumors with RF radiation that is no more powerful than that emitted by a typical cell phone. This new therapy could not only revolutionize cancer therapy, but might also stimulate new respect for EM medicine, as well as prompt a major re-evaluation of RF health risks, most especially with respect to the safety of cell phones.

6. David Holland (SVU) writes: “You might find this interesting. It is a grant notification for a  research project being funded by the EPSRC called Resilient Electricity Networks for Great Britain (RESNET). NG are a project partner in this seemingly academic based research. It will spend near a £million looking into grid resilience and into (amongst other things) the effects of a more mixed technology / varied energy source generation fleet and most importantly, the effects of climate change.”

7. David comments further: “… NG's local proposals put 4 circuits of the highest capacity OHLs in close proximity and that a severe weather event as a result of an increasingly unstable climate could conceivably bring down 30%+ of the UK's power in one fell swoop. In the west country, this is also an issue for a coastally located OHL from a new nuclear site because losing the lines would do immense damage to the subsidiary equipment at the power station. Because of this we have an argument for seeing the additional capital cost of underground transmission as being offset as insurance against such an event across the lifetime of the infrastructure concerned. It also allows us to argue for caution in installing more OHL because we cannot currently work out what risk we run in exposing such new transmission assets to the elements of the future. Put simply, NG really need the output from this study (scheduled 2015) before embarking on the currently proposed pylon building campaign.”

8. In addition to the risk of ice and storm damage causing multiple circuit outages with overhead lines, there are risks from terrorists and riots, which was a material consideration for some years for Irish interconnectors.

9. Andrew Darke, of the Peak District group PLACE, draws attention to National Grid’s July 2011 survey of “willingness to pay” for undergrounding transmission lines. The survey may have some bias owing to selecting electricity bill-payers or people involved in deciding which energy company supplies their electricity. Other people on whose behalf such decisions may be made should equally be a part of the relevant public opinion. Nevertheless the survey (by Brunswick) makes some interesting observations and can be seen at

10. A key finding of the NG Brunswick survey is that the preferred method of paying for undergrounding would be that the cost should be shared equally among all bill payers. There was recognition of the importance of undergrounding, in National Parks, AONBs, Other Rural Areas and Urban Areas (in that order). Although the accounting details and assumptions are not revealed, annual excess payments required on top of an average bill of £424 are given. An excess of just £3.55 per year would be enough to bury all existing transmission lines in National Parks; £7.70 for all AONBs; £30 for 1,000 miles of existing lines in Other Rural Areas; just £4.70 for all proposed new NG transmission lines anywhere in UK. Willingness-to-pay was said to be polarized, with over a third of bill-payers preferring to pay nothing, but over 20% willing to pay fully for National Parks, AONBs and All New Lines. For the combination of all new lines anywhere and all existing lines other than in Urban Areas, 36% preferred to pay nothing while the other 64% would pay at various levels (some with no value given); the average preference was £9.24.

Statements made by the editor or by other parties and quoted for information do not necessarily represent the views of Revolt. Criticism of government and industry, and grievances from members of the public, are in the nature of Revolt's work, though we try to give credit where it is due. Revolt is strictly non-party-political and regrets any offence which may be inadvertently caused.




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