REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 223

Revolt news 26/04/2007

***** STOP PRESS: SAGE report to be published tomorrow Friday 27-4-07 at 2.00 p.m.

The long awaited and overdue SAGE report into precautionary measures for reducing exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) is expected to be delivered to ministers today and published tomorrow, after a Main Group meeting yesterday. Comment on the report is embargoed until 2.00 p.m. tomorrow. Readers are advised to look up the appended stakeholder comments - we were allowed 250 words each - which I feel illustrate the range of disagreement and put the substantive report into context. My fuller comments on the report and where we go from here will be at http://www.revolt.co.uk/sage/  where we will also hope to have the report itself. The official site for the report is http://www.rkpartnership.co.uk/sage/ .

*****

1. News@all-energy latest issue No. 86 brings little grid news.

2. The SAGE story has broken in several newspapers after appearing in the London Evening Standard Friday 20 April citing a "Whitehall source". SAGE participants (including me) have agreed to avoid public discussion of details of draft SAGE findings until it is agreed to release a version. That is expected to happen after the SAGE Main group meeting 25/26 April, allowing for any final amendments to be made. The present working draft is only a First Interim Assessment as there is still much more to do.

3. The Scotsman reports on the SAGE leak together with an article on the Beauly-Denny line (APPENDIX A). The former chairman of Scottish Power, Sir Donald Miller, has strongly criticised the proposed Beauly- Denny line as "gross over-investment" and says there is a cheaper alternative route.

4. Since National Grid merged with Transco and took over the gas transmission system, Revolt has received occasional approaches from people affected by the gas grid, especially relating to landowners and wayleaves but also to safety and environment. APPENDIX B shows a message from Marie Broderick who is setting up the group CO Survivors. Its main premise is that the structures which support the gas industry are dysfunctional and as such are open to abuse.

***** *****

APPENDIX A From the Scotsman 22-4-07.

http://tinyurl.com/2mb5me 

Anger as experts fail to demand ban on building homes near power lines LYNDSAY MOSS HEALTH CORRESPONDENT ( lmoss@scotsman.com)

MINISTERS are being urged to consider banning the building of homes and schools near high-voltage power lines because of fears they may be linked to cancer, it emerged yesterday.

Concerns have been raised that exposure to electromagnetic fields from the power lines could be linked to health problems, including childhood leukaemia.

A leaked report suggests that banning power lines within 60 metres of homes, and stopping developments within the same distance of lines is the best option to reduce exposure.

But some of those in the group that compiled the report, which includes scientists, electricity companies, and the National Grid, said it had been watered down by the industry and government bodies involved.

The group is known as SAGE, the Stakeholder Advisory Group on Extremely Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields.

The final draft of its report, which is not due to be given to ministers until the end of next week, looks at a number of ways to cut exposure to power lines.

Its preferred option is a "combination of no new lines and no new residential build close to each other (eg within 60 metres), but extended to some non-residential buildings, eg schools". The report describes this as the "best available option for obtaining significant exposure reduction".

The report stops short of recommending such a ban, which could wipe 2 billion off property prices across Britain and limit development land, instead, suggesting the government consider such a move.

"We urge government to make a clear decision on whether to implement this option or not," the report says.

In 2005, research by Oxford University found that children who lived within 200 metres of high-voltage lines had a 70 per cent higher risk of leukaemia than those who lived more than 600 metres away.

Other experts have suggested that electromagnetic fields from such lines are "possibly carcinogenic" with relation to leukaemia, and some suggest illnesses including brain tumours could also be linked.

But researchers say there is still no accepted biological reasons for the findings.

The report appears not to satisfy either side of the debate.

Energy regulator Ofgem and Scottish & Southern Energy have both quit the group. Ofgem said: "The SAGE assessment, as currently drafted, lacks balance and would fail to provide an objective basis for advice to government".

The debate has particular relevance to the public inquiry considering a proposed 135-mile electricity transmission line between Beauly, near Inverness, and Denny, near Stirling.

Scottish & Southern and ScottishPower want to construct a 400,000 volt line with about 600 pylons, most of which will be more than 160ft high.

Caroline Paterson, from the campaign group Scotland Before Pylons, said they were "appalled" that the SAGE report had not made stronger recommendations. "Industry and government dominated the SAGE group and they did not want to take too much from the pro-precautionary members like us.

"The 60-metre limit would be a step forward, but evidence suggests it should be at least 200 metres and risks still exist up to 600 metres," she said. There are 100 homes within 200 metres of the proposed Beauly- Denny route, but 1,000 in the 600 metre limit, Mrs Paterson added.

Professor John Toy, medical director of Cancer Research UK, pointed out that it had not been shown that power lines directly caused leukaemia. "This may seem confusing, but there may be other factors in these areas that contribute to the apparent increased risk, and the results may indeed have been entirely due to chance," he said.

FORMER ENERGY CHIEF SLAMS PYLON PLANS

THE former chairman of Scottish Power has strongly criticised plans for a major power line upgrade through Scotland.

Sir Donald Miller says the proposals for the line between Beauly, near Inverness, and Denny, near Stirling, have major flaws and amount to "gross over-investment" by the developers.

Sir Donald, who gave evidence yesterday to the public inquiry into the plans, has also slammed the inquiry reporters' refusal to allow him to submit an alternative, cheaper route.

The inquiry is hearing evidence on plans for the 350 million, 137-mile overhead line to replace the existing electricity transmission system to take power from proposed renewable energy developments.

The plan, by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission, a subsidiary of Scottish & Southern Energy, and SP Transmission, a subsidiary of ScottishPower, has attracted more than 17,000 objections from groups and individuals, as well as from the five planning authorities involved - Highland, Perth and Kinross, Stirling and Falkirk councils, and the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

***** *****

APPENDIX B Message from Marie Broderick of CO Survivors re. NG gas grid.

I found your website by accident while I was looking for information on the best method of removing ageing gas pipes from my garden. It turns out that National Grid own the pipes and have a considerable number of rights that might surprise the public. In addition they can become very aggressive if their interests are thwarted in any way as many people have discovered.

Ambient natural gas has a number of well documented health hazards and is far from safe as the public erroneously believes. Compound this with the current state of the National Grid pipelines and it is a recipe for disaster. In London where I live there are gas leaks every day and I believe that the situation is now at crisis point.

I would like to highlight the detrimental role that National Grid have on the nation's health and to investigate whether the control they have over the network of gas pipe piping has the potential to jeopardise our security and safety.

I would really appreciate if you could publish my experiences. I am in the process of setting up a pressure group myself to campaign on all issues related to gas safety. The National Grid control all utility markets and this includes electricity as well as gas. I have spent over a year investigating issues related to gas but I am sure that the issues related electricity are quite similar. Supply of energy is of major strategic and economic importance to the UK. Both utilities can also act as agents of control and are often used for this purpose. The system as it stands at the moment is wide open to abuse and I believe that immediate action is required to address this.

***** *****

-- Mike O'Carroll

 

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