REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 220

Revolt news 13/07/2007

1. Ofgem is consulting over a request by the Scottish transmission company SHETL (related to SSE) for allowed expenditure on the Beauly- Denny inquiry. SHETL is seeking over 2 million for 2006/7 and almost 5 million for 2007/8. Its main expenses are on consultants and legal fees. Some may feel the extent of these costs have resulted from inadequate consultation and unnecessary confrontation, and the highly adversarial approach taken in the inquiry. Responses should be made on or before 23 July 2007 to David Hunt at Ofgem david.hunt@ofgem.gov.uk . Ofgem's short open consultation letter of 25 June can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/34kru6 

2. Nicki Baker has produced another fine summary of the Beauly-Denny inquiry for Stirling Before Pylons and Friends of the Ochils. She catches the main points from the strategic sessions and their closing summaries. As anticipated, there seems to be a good prospect for undergrounding parts of the line based on combinations of impacts, as with the much cited precedent of the North Yorkshire 400 kV line. Nicki says "Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)'s role is vital in the process, as the statutory advisors on landscape and natural heritage issues. They are only proposing undergrounding for two sections of the whole Beauly- Denny line - the Ochils and the Cairngorms National Park." http://www.stirlingbeforepylons.org 

3. Brenda Short, SAGE member and author of the Sweet & Maxwell Nutshells series book on Environmental Law, has written a 105-page summary of legal aspects of EMFs, powerlines and precaution. It is available as a free download from http://www.powerwatch.org . We commend and thank Brenda for this substantial voluntary work. The result is an easily readable (with short explanations, numerous typing/grammatical errors notwithstanding) and comprehensive compendium which should be very helpful both to people new to this topic and to experienced campaigners. Inevitably it is a snapshot in time of a moving scene, for example with Gordon Brown's changes of government structures, so we are pleased to hear it is intended to update the document on the powerwatch web site from time to time.

4. Krzysztof Kuklinski <kkuk@poczta.onet.pl> from Kamionki in Poland (see news210.7) writes that his petition to the EU Parliament has received a response (APPENDIX A) which is at http://tinyurl.com/349trz . It seems to stick to the ICNIRP position. Comments may be sent to the chairman of Petitions Committees Mr Marcin Libicki marcin.libicki@europarl.europa.eu . For more about the protest: http://tinyurl.com/34s4kv 

5. Snips from the latest news@all-energy (issue 92) are at APPENDIX B.

6. We do not normally promote e-petitions, as they are often secondary to Revolt's objectives and there may be some reservations about their validity. However, two current e-petitions to the Prime Minister and the Scottish Parliament are so simple and appropriate, calling for undergrounding new powerlines, that readers are invited to consider them. Details are at APPENDIX C.

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APPENDIX A EU response to petition on EMFs.

(Note: the EU report seems to misspell Kamionki as Kamioniki!)

1. Summary of petition The petitioner expresses concern at a projected high-tension power line 70 metres above the ground in Kamioniki near Poznan in western Poland, indicating that the local populace will be exposed to radiation likely to cause various forms of cancer, including leukaemia among children. He indicates that the high-tension overhead power line in question will carry voltages of 2 x 440 kV and 2 x 220 kV and that the distances to the nearest homes will be between 30 and 370 metres. The petitioner argues that this infringes the relevant EU legislation and is accordingly seeking action by the European Parliament to ensure that the residents of Kamioniki are not exposed to dangerous and carcinogenic radiation.

3. Commission reply, received on 7 May 2007.

The European Commission (EC) is aware of the public concern concerning the issue of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF). The EC has for long been monitoring the potential health effects of EMF, requesting the review of scientific literature, financing research, disseminating information and contributing to the establishment of a legal framework for the protection of workers and citizens.

This legal framework includes recommended limits to the exposure to EMF of the general public in the Member States (Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC ), established limits to the exposure of workers to EMF (Directive 2004/40/EC ) and established limits concerning EMF originating from products placed or put into service on the EU market (Directive 1999/5/EC). Directive 2004/40/EC obliges Member States to comply by 30 April 2008 at the latest. It aims to protect workers from risks arising from electromagnetic fields and has therefore a limited scope of application.

The Council adopted Recommendation 1999/519/EC on 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz) based on the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) as endorsed by the Scientific Steering Committee advising the European Commission on multi-disciplinary scientific issues. This text recommends that Member States, in order to provide for a high level of public health protection, should adopt a framework of basic restrictions and reference levels. The recommendations on limitation of exposure have been based on established effects on human health. As regards the application of protective measures in particular circumstances, such as those mentioned for power lines (e.g. in the vicinity of schools, hospitals, residential areas), the implementation of protection measures is a matter for national measures to address, using where appropriate the European Recommendation referred to above as a basis.

When reference levels are exceeded, it is recommended that national authorities carry out an assessment of the exposure situation and take appropriate follow-up actions, such as provision of information to the public exposed, changes in the installation or design of the source of radiation or in the way it is operated. In this respect, the petitioner may wish to contact the competent Polish authorities to ask them to perform the necessary measurements on site and to compare them with current Polish standards and/or binding limits and also with the reference levels of Recommendation 1999/519/EC.

As recommendations (such as the above mentioned Recommendation 1999/519/EC) are not binding, the Commission does not have the power to start infringement proceedings in this case. If the petitioner wishes to pursue the matter further, it is suggested that he informs himself about the position of the Polish law and about related measures at national level.

However, the European Court of Justice has held (judgement in the case C-322/88, point 18) that recommendations cannot be regarded as having no legal effect. The national courts are bound to take recommendations into consideration in order to decide disputes submitted to them, in particular where they cast light on the interpretation of national measures adopted in order to implement a given recommendation or where recommendations are designed to supplement binding Community provisions.

In view of the substantial quantity of new scientific information that has become available since 2001, the Commission has asked its Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) to update the opinion of the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) of 30 October 2001 on possible health effects of electromagnetic fields, radio frequency fields and microwave radiation on human health. The recently adopted preliminary opinion of SCENIHR on possible effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on human health was under public consultation during the last quarter of 2006. The SCENIHR has considered the comments and information received and has produced a final opinion that will soon be published on the Internet.

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APPENDIX B Snips from news@all-energy 92.

1.GENERAL - UK NEWS

1.1.UK government changes Prime Minister Gordon Brown's statement on the new government, including the new Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) and new Departmetn for Innovation, Universities and Skills - http://tinyurl.com/35s56r 

UK Energy Minister:- The newly formed DBERR is headed by Secretary of State The Rt Hon John Hutton, MP http://tinyurl.com/2wpc2h  , Malcolm Wicks MP is Minister of State for Energy

Defra Ministerial responsibilities: Minister for the Environment Phil Woolas MP has responsibilities for climate change, energy and sustainable development; and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Joan Ruddock MP has responsibility for climate change, waste and recycling, and biodiversity http://tinyurl.com/2sbfmc 

Defra's new Secretary of State, The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP airs his views on the role of farmers and land managers in reducing emissions http://business.edp24.co.uk/content/news/ 

International climate change expert is Defra's new Chief Scientific Adviser. A World Bank Chief Scientist and former White House Advisor has been appointed the next Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for Defra http://tinyurl.com/2586en 

ENA gives a fascinating insight into ministerial changes http://tinyurl.com/2fdozz 

3.GRID

3.1.Beauly-Denny news

Much of the immediate prospects for developing on- and offshore wind, and wave power, depends on planning permission being given to upgrade the Beauly-Denny power transmission line http://tinyurl.com/252ntt 

SHETL and the Scottish Executive are urged to follow the example of their counterparts in Norway and place the proposed mega Beauly-Denny power line underground http://tinyurl.com/25dlwh 

Electricity customers may have to foot the bill of almost 5m for the public inquiry into plans for a 137-mile power line through Scotland http://tinyurl.com/2xpfsk 

7.MICROGENERATION

7.1.Micro-generators lament barriers A renewable-energy group - the "micro-generators" - has complained to the Commission and European Energy Regulators that a lack of transparency and blocked access to energy grids are preventing them from competing on the market http://www.euractiv.com/en/energy/ 

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APPENDIX C Parliamentary petitions.

Nancy Gardner has submitted two petitions. The following links take you straight to the pages for you to make a response. Of course, you can visit these pages without submitting a response, just to see the details. In each case the closing date is in November.

The one on the Scottish Parliament website is open to anyone around the world: http://tinyurl.com/28846u 

The other on the No.10 website is only available to British citizens/passport holders: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/UndergrndCabling/ 

The main statement for No. 10 is simply: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to support Underground Cabling proposals between Beauly to Denny and subsequent endeavours".

The Scottish one is similarly brief and to the point: "Petition by Nancy Gardner calling on the Scottish Parliament to consider and debate using underground and, where appropriate, undersea cabling for new electricity transmission lines such as that proposed between Beauly and Denny".

There are "further details" on the PM web site, which are brief and fairly bland and do not go into all the issues and arguments, such as those about costs.

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-- Mike O'Carroll

 

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