REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 368

Revolt news 14/07/2013 Print (pdf) Version

1. As we know, the national electricity grid is under development around the country, at a cost of tens of billions of pounds, essentially to accommodate wind power. That does mean some environmental damage, and loss of property value and quality of life, for the people unfortunate enough to be impacted, usually without any compensation. Typically, one or more new substations are proposed to bring together power from onshore and/or offshore windfarms, together with new 400kV powerlines connecting with a new or enlarged National Grid substation (e.g. news364). The first type of substations may be owned by either windfarm or distribution companies.

2. Areas where such developments are proposed include Teesside, Lincolnshire, East Anglia and mid-Wales among others. Applications have sometimes been piecemeal, as if attempting to gain permission for the windfarm substation first, surreptitiously, and thereby prejudicing the case in favour of consequent powerlines and NG substations. It should be important for the whole scheme to be assessed, with its cumulative impact, in the spirit of the EU EIA Directive.

3. A case in point is at St Asaph in North Wales. There is already the NG substation with its overhead lines, to which has been added the RWE substation serving the Gwynt y Mor offshore windfarm. Subsea and underground 132kV cables connect windfarm to substation, where the power is transformed to 400kV for taking to the NG substation. Presently Dong Energy Burbo Extension seek compulsory purchase of land for a third substation at St Asaph, to collect power from the Burbo Bank Extension Windfarm. The area south and west of St Asaph faces a complex of multiple developments of powerlines, cables and substations, with disproportionate local impact and little local benefit from this national infrastructure. Pity the local households worst affected and entirely uncompensated.

4. It is helpful that powerlines from the windfarms to the first substations tend to be underground cables. Their impact is much less than that from overhead lines. Yet there remain EMF concerns close to the cables. It should be an aim to route high-voltage cables away from homes by 20 metres or so, as far as practicable. Yet companies seem oblivious to this consideration. Even with DC cables (which carry a lot of AC noise), failure to keep cables at a reasonable distance has led to the long suspension, at great cost, of the new EWIC interconnector (news362).

5. From the WIK Brief 103, of 2nd July: On 7 June the German Bundestag passed the new regulations on electromagnetic fields and the telecommunications verification procedure (amendment to the 26th BlmSchV). The new regulations contain the amendment passed by the German Federal Council in May 2013. The regulation is expected to enter into effect this July. Purposes of the regulations are the protection and prevention of possible health risks from electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields. The new regulations include, for example, exposure limits on electromagnetic fields caused by cell towers. Applications of electrical energy, which are connected to low-frequency electric and magnetic fields, such as the electricity transmission are also included.

6. The UN has updated its 2012 world population forecasts, showing an increase. More importantly there is a wide range of uncertainty. Forecasts are essentially demographic, but in presumed phases of transition of economic development. Such a presumption represents strong mathematical modelling assumptions, with much uncertainty; especially there is doubt about a presumed final settled stage in the face of new evidence of fertility bounce-back in advanced nations. The website has neat country-by-country graphs and data which are easy to access at

http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/index.htm

7. The Telegraph online 14 July 2013 lists the top ten things that devalue your home. Windfarms are at number 4: “Data released last year by the Valuation Office Agency reveals a number of home owners have successfully applied to have their properties placed in a lower council band because of their proximity to a wind farm. Hard evidence is difficult to come by, but one couple in Devon saw the value of their property reduced from £400,000 to £300,000.”

8. Number 10 in the Telegraph list is pylons: “They are not just unsightly but, in many people’s eyes, a health risk. “I always mentally knock off around 30 per cent when I am valuing properties with pylons in the close vicinity,” says Jonathan Harington of Haringtons UK. That is the equivalent of £72,000 off the value of the average property.” The list is not in order of impact – the percentage impact attributed to pylons is perhaps the worst of all.

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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