REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 344

Revolt news 30/10/2011 Print (pdf) Version

1. Following news343.10, Revolt has kindly been given permission by the Mail on Sunday and the cartoonist Robert Thompson to put the cartoon on our website. You can see a high-res file of the original as provided by Robert Thompson at

2. On the subject of cartoons, there’s a whole cartoon strip on this topic from SVU linked from its home page with the following comment. Light relief: When Secretary of State, Chris Huhne headed up the Pylon Design Competition we saw it as a rather pointless diversionary trick. The winning “T” pylon design would cost more and would require 5 “T” pylons to replace 3 of the current ones. Bringing no aesthetic benefits, if used they could raise the cost of overhead lines to match that of underground lines!  Maybe Chris Huhne was having a laugh, so we have responded in kind here

3. The UK government response to the Second Interim Assessment (2IA) of the Stakeholder Advisory Group on ELF-EMF (SAGE) was published on 21-10-11 and can be seen at

4. The Revolt Chairman’s Report 2011 was received at the AGM 20-10-11 and is at APPENDIX A below.


APPENDIX A Revolt Chairman’s Report, October 2011.

In 2011 the public is becoming more aware, and concerned, about the radical expansion of the electricity grid. There are too many new powerline and substation projects to mention individually here. The driver is still renewable energy policy. Strategic grid options are determined by industry-government groups behind closed doors, with the apparent aim of making individual proposals a foregone conclusion apart from minor route details. Revolt maintains a summary of the several sources of UK and EU strategic analysis and embryonic plans.

Ambitious targets for remote wind power, in the north of Scotland and offshore, require the equivalent of several additional transmission lines along most of the length of Britain, together with east-west ribs for offshore wind power, as well as more interconnectors with mainland Europe. Under-sea HVDC links from Scotland to England, as called for by Revolt over several years, do not yet go far enough. The piecemeal approach lacks a co-ordinated national strategy.

My January 2011 response to the DECC re-consultation on the Energy NPSs made four key recommendations, endorsed by the Revolt committee. In short:

  • Full and balanced stakeholder engagement on infrastructure strategy
  • A strategic national HVDC network
  • EMF exposure reduction on the ALARA principle as agreed by SAGE
  • A general planning presumption in favour of at least partial undergrounding

While neither the NPSs nor National Grid have gone as far as a presumption in favour of under-grounding, NG did undertake its own consultation and has declared an Approach which does not rule it out. That is a step forward. It remains to be seen how it will be applied. NG also surveyed public willingness-to-pay for burying powerlines, showing wide support from billpayers.

The much delayed IET/KEMA ‘independent’ review of the costs and impacts of undergrounding has ‘stalled’ and turned out to be a farce as predicted. Independence is not easy among such close-knit corporate interests and may be impossible; it was the undoing of this exercise. PB Power has been given an amended brief to pick up the pieces, but can only suffer similar limitations. A genuinely independent review could be useful but unobtainable. Instead, Revolt maintains a summary of the plurality of recent reviews. We note the advocacy by SVU and others, supported by Siemens, of GIL undergrounding technology, and the claim by Tessa Munt MP (in Hansard) that Siemens show GIL whole-life costs to be "under half the costs of pylons".

SAGE formally closed in December 2010, and continues to be misrepresented regarding legitimate alternative views of EMF science. While not the same as power-frequency, the WHO-IARC rating of mobile phones as a possible human carcinogen (class 2B) deeply involves the same ‘experts’ and networks, and cracks open the establishment armour.

With key contacts in the UK and around the world, Revolt monitors the rapidly changing scene for policy developments and powerline proposals with their many objector groups. Revolt email news and website serve to summarise and inform.

Mike O’Carroll, Chairman


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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