REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 243

Revolt news 29/11/2007

1. Opposition to Eirgrid's 400 kV powerline proposals in Ireland is strong and well organised. I gave a talk 19 November to a meeting in Trim, County Meath, with a live audience of 3,500, with TV relays to all public rooms in the hotel and sports complex. There was gridlock in the town and many couldn't get in. For local news reports see  For several local groups, see 

2. Eirgrid's web site reports that public consultation meetings scheduled for 28th and 29th November were cancelled "by the hotels". Presumably the hotels considered it too sensitive and unpopular to go ahead.

3. As the proposals in Ireland would extend an undersea DC cable from Deesside (near Liverpool) to Woodland (near Dublin) by overhead AC powerlines on through Meath to Cavan and then the interconnector to Tyrone in Northern Ireland, people are rightly asking about continuing the DC line underground instead, or alternatively making an undersea connection roughly from Dublin to Belfast (probably Woodland to Moyle in Antrim where the Scottish undersea interconnector comes ashore).

4. At the same time there have been grander ideas discussed in Europe of a DC supergrid, largely under the sea, connecting many points of mainland Europe and Britain, Ireland, Iceland and Norway, in order to promote renewable energy. Erstwhile UK Energy Minister Brian Wilson had, in order to support massive windfarm proposals for the Hebrides, suggested the government would support an undersea cable from the Hebrides to the Mersey area, instead of the numerous new powerlines which would be needed most of the length of Britain. There needs to be a proper strategic assessment of these possibilities before piecemeal overhead lines (including Beauly-Denny in Scotland) are proposed or consented.

5. BBC Ceefax reports 27-11-07, under the headline "controversial gas pipe completed", that National Grid's 1 bn pipeline from Pembrokeshire to Gloucestershire is capable of carrying a fifth of Britain's gas needs. "Campaigners have protested on safety and environmental grounds" say the BBC. They certainly have, as Revolt knows from its correspondence.

6. Russell Hinton writes: My wife has a maison secondaire in France. The EDF bill shows the origin of electricity. Percentages: 85.8 nuclear; 4.7 renewable [incl hydro at 4.2]; 4.1 carbon; 3.2 gas; 1.8 fioul [dictionary: phial, flask]; .4 others. Pretty good on warming ?

7. A new Dutch pylon design claims to reduce EMFs. The pylons are slimmer tubular structures like some motorway lamp posts. The new design arranges the six conductors in a circular pattern, better containing the fields near to the line. However, in reply to my enquiry, the firm does not identify any other reason than the usual phase and double-circuit balance found on double-circuit lines in the UK, so the asymptotic fields at a distance from the line may not be any more reduced. Separation between conductors seems to be still around 9 metres. 

8. The International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS) Secretariat is to hold a wrokshop "Foundations of Bioelectromagnetics: Towards a New Rationale for Risk Assessment" on Monday, December 17, 2007. ICEMS has supported international resolutions confirming the concern about adverse health effects from occupational and public exposures to EMFs. Following the Catania Resolution 2002, the Benevento Resolution 2006 is an updated expression of concern signed by some 50 international scientists and medics.

9. Although it is not Revolt's policy, I have from time to time expressed concern about population growth in relation to sustainability and environmental impact, not just in respect of energy and climate change, but also in respect of other resources and quality of life and environment. This week's Office of National Statistics updates of projections now suggest UK population practically doubling by 2081, far beyond the over-optimistic basis of UN forecasts. I am relieved to see an apparently responsible body, the Optimum Population Trust, with recognised and distinguished patrons including, for example, Jonathan Porritt, chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, addressing this almost taboo issue in a practical way. 

-- Mike O'Carroll





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