REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 365

Revolt news 3/04/2013 Print (pdf) Version

1. The SVU Winter Newsletter 2013 focuses on NG’s proposed new substation on the scenic Suffolk-Essex border, suggesting site C2 is favoured by NG with a view to extension in later years to deal with much increased transmission across England. The build up of power from the west is one potential aggravating factor (news364.4-6). Another is “as yet unspecified renewable generation in a designated renewable energy park in the Severn Estuary”. The SVU newsletter says “National Grid's plans are all too often not about what they say they are about.”

2. SVU also point to pressure of powerflow from the north, with mooted offshore cables from Humberside to Norwich Main Substation and more powerlines south from there. They fear the new C2 site may develop into a second large hub to relieve the already congested Bramford substation. SVU’s alternative is to upgrade the existing Braintree substation and use underground connections.

3. The consultation on NG’s substation proposals on the Suffolk-Essex border closes on 8 April.

4. The UK industry body ENA (Electricity Networks Association) released guidelines on 23 March 2013 in response to the SAGE Second Interim Assessment of 2010. These are “Engineering Recommendation ENA ER G92 Issue 1 - Guidelines for Best Practice in relation to Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMFs) in the Design and Management of Low Voltage Distribution Networks” which can be downloaded from They are concerned with lower voltages than occur with transmission but can be of concern for EMFs. The driving force and general factotum on EMF issues for such networks is Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch UK and we await his comments with interest.

5. Relevant to transmission (high voltage) powerlines, the 2011 (revised 2012) industry-government Voluntary Code of Practice in response to SAGE was very disappointing (news323.3 and 325.3-6) Aside from accepting the principle of optimum phasing, the response recedes to something effectively worse than ICNIRP, going back to a presumed general compliance level of 360 microtesla rather than the ICNIRP reference levels of 100 (later 200) microtesla. The Code, along with many other links and notes of guidance in the changing legislation, can be found near the end of the page at

6. This easy presumed compliance level of 360 microtesla affords industry a ready shield against taking care to reduce EMFs below this level where feasible as well as a smokescreen to dismiss genuine evidence-based concerns of possible harm below such exposures. Hence 360 microtesla becomes a new pseudo-safety-level. This remains the rather depressing (and oppressive) position for UK powerlines.

7. April 3rd news of Scottish energy giant SSE’s record £10.5 million fine by Ofgem for mis-selling comes only as late confirmation of “something rotten at its core” in the energy industry. The evidence suggests a deeply embedded pervading culture of sheer dishonesty from the top of the industry to the bottom, not only in SSE but across many top companies.

8. The SSE news will be no surprise to those who recall the early days of privatisation when even John Major, as a moderately spoken Conservative Prime Minister, branded the greed of National Grid chairman David Jefferies as “distasteful”. Disturbingly, it’s not just in the energy industry. Dishonesty (cheating, lying and stealing: see CLAS system at news333.10) seems to have gained so much ground across society over the last half century, from the bankers and MPs at the top down to benefits frauds at the bottom, reflected in the media and advertising worlds from Gary Lineker (sadly, after such a great fair-play career) even to Blue Peter (really, nothing is sacred). It’s important therefore to remember the acts of kindness and decent people we know, especially in the energy industry. Remember the good ones! May they one day regain the lost ground.

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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