REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 248

Revolt news 29/01/2008

1.  BBC online reports 25-1-07 that the huge windfarm proposal for the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides is to be rejected by the Scottish Government. If true, that may give hope to objectors to other major projects, like the Beauly-Denny powerline in Scotland and the new 400kV powerlines in Ireland. Sustained objection with thousands of independent letters, expert testimony on technical issues and support from national charitable and environmental bodies, all bring weight to challenge developers’ claims and to bear on government. 


2.  BBC online also reports an energy company’s warnings about future UK generating capacity. There are genuine concerns, though there seems to be scope for coping with them. The strain on supply will, as always, raise the price of electricity. 


3.  I can’t count! There are seven, not six, graphs in John Swanson’s helpful recent addition to his EMF web site showing rates of fall-off of magnetic fields with distance from powerlines (news247.5). The graphs become increasingly realistic, so it is the seventh and last graph which is the most realistic. That is for phase-transposed double-circuit lines. Furthermore, of the three different curves given in graph 7, those with higher resistivity best correspond to real field measurements. So the slowest rates of fall-off (with fields remaining highest at a distance) are the most realistic. However there are few real data for larger distances up to 500 metres. 


4. My note on public confidence and probity in science and EMF issues was updated to version 6 later last year. This is on the revolt site at 



5. The German (Lower Saxony) underground cable law, drafted last autumn (news240.6), was passed in December. See the web site below. The first sentence of that web page translates (by online-translator) as: “On the 12th December, 2007 the underground cable law from Lower Saxony has been dismissed by the Landtag”. However this seems to mean “dispatched” and “passed” (APPENDIX A). It is still possible this regional law could be challenged at Federal German level. 


6. The web page linked above also has links to pages (in German) on new pylon design and to the Salzburg underground cable proposals.


7. German based company KEMA presented a study/report to the Salzburg Regional Parliament  on 28 January showing the feasibility of substantial partial undergrounding (some 41 km of cable in different sections) of a 380kV line. (See also news245.4). However, a report on behalf of the regulator, E-Control, suggests underground cable for the whole 100km 380 kV Salzburg-Tauern line would be 6.2 times more expensive than an overhead line. 


8.  Spanish grid company Red Electrica issued a press release 10 January on the France-Spain inter-connector. They and the French grid company will seek to reach agreement with local communities by 30th June 2008, including partial undergrounding, as recommended by European Co-ordinator Mario Monti. 


9. Other positive news was announced last week by Svenska Kraftnat. They agreed 17 January that their planned "South West" inter-connector (Sweden to Norway) will by HVDC cable. 


10. There is a very strong momentum for cabling across Europe at the moment. We hope political decision makers in Scotland and Ireland are paying attention. The Beauly-Denny line cries out for either a sub-sea alternative or substantial partial undergrounding. The new 400kV single-circuit proposals in Ireland raise the prospect of full HVDC undergrounding, given the limited capacity required and the end-on proposed DC inter-connector to Britain.





APPENDIX A.   German underground cable law


Translating from the web page:


Am 12. Dezember 2007 ist das Niedersächsische Erdkabelgesetz vom Landtag verabschiedet worden.

On the 12th December, 2007 the underground cable law from Lower Saxony has been dismissed by the Landtag.


The verb verabschieden is given in my paper dictionary as “to say goodbye to” and here could mean “dispatched” or “passed”, not “rejected”, but the online translator sticks to “dismissed”.


The web page goes on (after online-translator):


The law was published on 18.12.2007 in the law and order sheet from Lower Saxony.

The draught for an underground cable law was tuned between Prime Minister Christian Wulff and federal minister of the environment Sigmar Gabriel in October, 2007 and was introduced by the government factions in the Landtag. There the bills of SPD and Green were also discussed beside the bill of the government factions by CDP and the FDP.

On the 13th November, 2007 the public hearing took place before the environmental committee. Moreover the committee had invited a representative of the local citizens' groups, the BMU, the BMWi, from net E-ON and the municipal leading organisations.

The law can be downloaded as a pdf file here:

> Niedersächsisches Erdkabelgesetz [235 KB]


The pdf download for the law is a scan which doesn’t allow selected text, so is more laborious to put in a translator.


Following the above, the first web page gives an explanation under the heading:

What does the underground cable law signify for the future?


The first paragraph is translated as (while Hochspannungsleitungen was not translated I would suggest it means high-voltage lines):


With the " law about the plan statement for Hochspannungsleitungen in the earth " Lower Saxony is the first federal state which creates juridical possibilities for the subterranean wiring of Hochspannungsleitungen. Thus certain least distances are to be taken into consideration in future between new Höchstspannungsfreileitungen and residential buildings. Where these least distances cannot be kept, must be cabled.


The two bold paragraphs are translated as follows (!), but note that Freileitung is translated as “free management” whereas in this context it must mean “overhead electricity line” (frei = free / in the open air; leitung = conducting / leading):


Thereby it is reached that in the distance of 200 m with single dwelling houses and 400 m with housing developments the net removal as a free management do not separate only earth-moved may occur. Also landscape protection areas may not become traversed from free management or passed through.


The underground cable law from Lower Saxony allows a whole wiring if can be taken into account, e.g., by avoidance of long detour distances to the economic efficiency order of the Law on the Fuel and Electricity Industries of the alliance. Indeed, there is no juridical possibility to put through a complete wiring, but there are possibilities, for an earth transfer on wide distances. Therefore quite planned distance guidances will also be able to change up to now still extensively.








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