REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 362

Revolt news 30/12/2012 Print (pdf) Version

BEST WISHES for the New Year to all our readers! Following an unusually long gap between issues of revolt news, this issue has 16 items. A lot has been happening.

1. News358.4-7 commented on Eirgrid’s East-West Interconnector (EWIC) under-sea and underground HVDC cables from Ireland to Wales. They go very close to homes in Rush, Ireland, and also (we now hear) in Flint, Wales. Revolt generally welcomes HVDC developments, where feasible, as preferable to overhead lines. But we did note concerns about “dirty electricity” on such cables causing time-varying magnetic fields of concern both for human health and for interference with telecoms. Eirgrid dismissed these concerns, but now has been pulled up sharp during the testing phase, having to close down EWIC and delay its commissioning at a potential cost of some 20 million euros to date, on account of interference with nearby telecoms. If only Eirgrid could develop a listening culture, looking to respond and improve instead of seeming to deny and dismiss!

2. In a Press Release of 25-10-2012, Stour Valley Underground (SVU) report National Grid’s response to the consultation on the Connection Options Report for the Bramford-Twinstead 400kV line. While SVU welcomes NG’s (voluntary) proposal to underground in Dedham Vale and in Stour Valley, and its adoption of SVU’s proposal to relocate a terminal and adjust the route, SVU still finds NG’s proposal “utterly inadequate”. NG’s proposal would have two separate sections underground but with unsightly terminals still within the settings for these two protected areas, so SVU propose joining up the two sections into one long buried section. That is what NG finally did in Yorkshire with the two sections at Nunthorpe and Newby, after a terminal site was rejected.

3. SVU goes on to say “The communities affected by National Grid’s proposals must be aware that National Grid do not seek to come up with the best solution for everyone including the local communities, UKPLC and the energy industry. They seek instead simply to address the planning system and get their plans passed. Their latest document makes this clear. "National Grid does not consider that effects on the environment from its proposals can be properly given a monetary value." they say, and so they don't. Socio-economic impact assessment by National Grid has been woefully inadequate. Thus they have made little effective effort to properly engage with the local rural business fraternity and have no notion of the impact their proposals will have on the multi billion pound (annually) tourist economies of Suffolk and Essex.”

4. The Italian Supreme Court ruling of 12 October in favour of workers’ compensation for Innocenzo Marcolini has broader significance. It dismissed the appeal by compensation authority INAIL against a local court decision supporting compensation for a brain tumour relating to unusually heavy working use of mobile phones. The Supreme Court cannot be further appealed. It placed greater weight on independent research (Hardell et al) than on that “co-financed by the same companies that produce mobile phones”. Revolt has long observed peer-reviewed findings of “funding bias”, over a number of fields, where industry-funded research finds results more in industry’s favour.

5. A meaningful precautionary approach has been applied in Paris, controlling EMF exposures. From WIK EMF Brief93 of 26 Oct: “The city of Paris has approved the new mobile phone agreement with the four French mobile network operators on 16.10.2012 (see also EMF Brief of 28.09.2012). This shall guarantee a high-quality mobile communication service combined with the lowest possible levels of exposure. It means in closed areas of residence, the future field strength should not exceed 5 V/m. If a 4G network is available, the value of 7 V/m will apply. The French Association of Mobile Network Operators welcomes this decision, which they state, paves the way for 4G services in Paris. However, Michèle Rivasi, a member of the Green Party in the European Parliament, considers this agreement to be unacceptable because the agreed exposure levels are too high. For a long time the Green Party would apply for a reduction in the field strength to 0.6 V/m.”

6. The same WIK Brief93 reports an important EU consultation just opened, until the end of November, anticipating “advances in scientific knowledge as well as in modelling and measuring techniques”. The Brief continues “In addition, as regards to human-health risk assessment, a paradigm shift is likely to occur from a hazard-driven process to one that is exposure-driven.” That might be more in keeping with reasonable precautionary policy.

7. Paul Hipwell ( ) reports National Grid’s route selection for the Hinkley Point 400kV line in Somerset is announced for consultation. “It’s a partial success as the route will go underground through the Mendips and now avoids Mark School. But we will get new super sized 152ft pylons all across the stunning Somerset levels so we fight on.” Once again we welcome NG’s volunteering partial undergrounding, reflecting their new ‘Approach’ and “Willingness-to-Pay” reports.

8. EFHRAN is an EU funded network for health risk assessment of EMF exposure. Its reports can be seen at An October 2012 report calls on the one hand for improved research and investment in exposure reduction; on the other hand it calls for improvement in “health risk communication to reduce the gaps between relevant scientific evidence and European citizens’ health risk perception”. Attempting to reduce such gaps tends to mean trying to change public perception, rather than re-assessing scientific evidence in the light of wider and more recent views than official ones. There is an interesting graph of the differing perceptions (of mobile phone masts) among the 27 EU countries, from Italy at the most concerned end to Finland at the least concerned. UK is fifth least concerned. Only 6% of the public respond “don’t know”, displaying typical human overconfidence!

9. WIK Brief95 reports a new ICNIRP structure, drawing on external experts in a Scientific Expert Group (SEG). But the experts are selected internally through what seems like a closed process, so are unlikely to be any more independent than the present “Consulting Experts”.

10. WIK Brief95 also reports Professor Alexander Lerchl issuing a press release in November attacking the integrity of Professor Lennart Hardell, whose research has been influential on the association of brain cancer with mobile phone use. Hardell’s response claims the attack is based on no more than an old inaccurate press article. It seems that IARC knew of the allegations when it invited Hardell and rejected Lerchl to its important 2011 assessment. Lerchl has previously attacked the integrity of Professor Hugo Rudiger (news286 etc, also reported in the BMJ and elsewhere), though this is not satisfactorily resolved, as claims of a confession appear to be unsubstantiated. Professor Franz Adlkofer, who organized and coordinated the EU-funded REFLEX project between 1999 and 2004 and has collaborated with Rudiger, is involved in the Pandora Foundation which hosts Hardell’s response and which “aims to give independent science a chance“.

11. Serious shortcomings in plans for smart meters and smart grids are exposed in recent reports by Powerwatch UK and National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy (NISLAPP) in Washington, D.C. The US report is titled “Getting Smarter about the Smart Grid”.

12. Regarding both the Teesside Dogger Bank substation and East Coast (EC) offshore connections from Scotland, Martyn Taylor has been examining National Grid's schematics for all scenarios up to and including 2030 and writes: Here are some interesting points
(1) Two Forewind circuits will go into a rebuilt/new Tod Point, as I predicted.
(2) If (probably when) more Forewind power is brought ashore other than is currently contracted with NG, it will go to Killingholme, on the South Humber bank.
(3) When the 2nd EC HCDC cable is installed it will come into Lakenby.
(4) A 3rd EC HVDC cable may well be required. If so it will go from Peterhead to Thornton (York).
(5) There will be no new Yorkshire overhead line. The existing ones will be reconductored to increase capacity, but this will not affect their appearance in any way. Beyond 2023 boundary 7 will need reinforcing, but every indication (my feel is 99% certainty) is that it will not be a new overhead line in our part of the world. Trust me on this one- my previous comments have all been accurate.
(6) If an interconnector to Belgium is built, import load would be negated by plant closures.
(7) For completeness, a new 400kv line is being planned across Boundaries 7 and 7A, but this will run south from Cumbria.

13. The National Grid website has a 2012 Electricity Ten Year Statement (ETYS) which came out on 1 December and which replaces both SYS and ODIS. It is a helpful and important new resource. The main ETYS document is a 16.7 MB pdf file. The ETYS considers various future generation scenarios.

14. NG’s Gone Green scenario for 2025 is shown on map 3a at ETYS Appendix 3, with an East Coast connector from Peterhead in Scotland to Thornton near York. This would seem to be the third EC HVDC cable mentioned by Martyn Taylor at 12(4) above. The ETYS map shows it crossing North Yorkshire roughly through the Vale of Pickering just south of the North York Moors though with a landfall north of Scarborough and probably in the National Park. The maps are “for illustrative purposes only” so might not be expected to show routes accurately, though the overland part seems to go from near Scarborough to near York, which in any case would be close to the North York Moors National Park, the Howardian Hills AONB and the Yorkshire Wolds.

15. ETYS shows many other examples of HVDC lines coming ashore and passing overland for some distance, for example the Triton Knoll connection through the Lincolnshire Wolds, lines through North Norfolk to Kings Lynn, lines from both north and east into Norwich, and across Essex to Bramford. If these lines are buried, as is usual with HVDC lines shorter onshore, the final visual impact should be minimal. There would however be great concern if they were to be overhead HVDC lines, which may need similar pylons to normal (AC) lines.

16. The motor neurone disease ALS was assessed by the California Department of Health Services 2002 Review as having ELF EMF as a possible causal factor. There has not been as much attention on the EMF-ALS association as for childhood leukaemia and some other diseases, but a new meta-analysis helps to build the picture, which remains uncertain [Zhou et al., 2012, PLoS ONE 7(11): e48354 ]. Authors’ conclusions: “Our data suggest a slight but significant ALS risk increase among those with job titles related to relatively high levels of ELF-EMF exposure. Since the magnitude of estimated RR was relatively small, we cannot deny the possibility of potential biases at work. Electrical shocks or other unidentified variables associated with electrical occupations, rather than magnetic-field exposure, may be responsible for the observed associations with ALS.”

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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