REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 253

Revolt news 13/02/2008 Print (pdf) Version

1. Revolt FAQs have been updated and extended as at 26-2-08. See the revolt web site. New topics covered include: single- and double-circuit lines; property devaluation; underground cables; DC transmission; EMF fall off with distance; swing and safety clearances. Feedback and comment are always welcome, as this is a living developing resource.

2. Interest is growing on undergrounding since the Irish government commissioned a review (news252.1). Europacables consultant Simon Allen gave a presentation in Monaghan with excellent up-to-date examples of the state of the art in 2008. He and Europacables gave evidence to the Beauly-Denny Inquiry last year, and are expected to make submissions to the Irish government review. The Monaghan presentation has useful key facts and data. While it would be best with Simon's expert commentary, the presentation is well worth consulting via the "undergrounding" link from the home page below, which also lists other interesting documents. 

3. An important part of the context for the Irish review is the All-Island Grid Study published on 10 Jan 2008. That sets the context of growth and renewable energy policy and the unification of north and south grids. It can be downloaded from 

4. My own submission 6-3-08 to the Irish government Study will be posted with this news on the revolt site, together with my note 3-3-08 to the HPA EMF Discussion Group, which was included with the submission.

5. Dermot Finnigan (see news250) reports that his estate agents have serious concerns as to the possibility of ever selling his property owing to the 58 pages of safety information issued by NG. He says these documents now form part of the Home Information Pack. A court ruling is awaited on the imposition over his land of safety clearances from the neighbouring NG powerline without a wayleave.

6. In a further development regarding the 400kV line at Sale, the Planning Solicitor at Trafford Council has written to BERR to say that, after a meeting of senior officers, it appears that the pylon is not in accordance with deemed planning permission, and that officers are considering possible enforcement action. Apart from the impact on Dermot Finnigan's property, the variation from planning permission has created a future severe EMF exposure over two semi-detached homes, which should have been avoided. I have made representations to Trafford Council. See APPENDIX A.

7. The charity Children with Leukaemia has promoted an amendment to the Energy Bill put by Brian Iddon MP which was expected to be before the Public Bill Committee on Tuesday 11th March: After section 37(3) insert- "(3A) In granting consent under this section, the Secretary of State must ensure that he does not expose any person to any risk to their health arising from exposure to electric and magnetic fields with a frequency of between 30-300 Hertz." In the event time was not available but the issue was introduced in committee debate and elicited an undertaking from the minister.

8. A background paper of March 2008 for a Study on Energy and the Environment has been produced by AEA Technology for the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Table E1 in the paper lists seven main activities to reduce environmental impacts, one of which is to reduce visual and possible health impacts from powerlines. This topic is considered in Section 10 of the paper though in only about 40 lines this is very brief and superficial. The measures considered are: buried AC cables; avoiding built-up areas; increased separation of components; embedded generation; improved efficiency (e.g. by better electronic control); and buried DC cables. The full Study is at 

9. Last year the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution had included "the electromagnetic environment" in its 2007 shortlist of eight candidates for its next major study. While the topic was not selected, RCEP agreed it should continue to be watched, and would remain on the list for future consideration. RCEP's summary description of the topic and the relevant decision notes are at APPENDIX B. See also 

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APPENDIX A Trafford Council considers action against National Grid

Extract from a message from the Planning Solicitor at Trafford Council to BERR:

1) It appears that the pylon has not been erected in accordance with the deemed planning permission dated 30 April 1997. The planning plans show the pylon to be permitted where the two semi-detached dwellings are currently located but the pylon has actually been erected to the south of this.

2) The Local Planning Authority's ("LPA") power to take enforcement action against breaches of planning permission is discretionary and reaching its decision the LPA will consider whether taking action is both necessary and expedient. The consideration of matters relating to breaches of planning control and possible enforcement action is delegated to Officers in consultation with the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Opposition Spokesman of the Planning Committee.

Extract from my message to Trafford Council:

Apart from the direct concerns, there is a concern, in the public interest, about potential health effects as they might apply to the two semi-detached dwellings now under the 400 kV line but which were scheduled to be removed for the approved pylon site. As a result of the variation from the approved plan, these two dwellings have a severe exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs), which would have been avoided under the approved plan. Such an arrangement would be legally prohibited were it to be proposed for compulsory powers for a necessary wayleave under Schedule 4 of the Electricity Act. An advisory group (the SAGE group) reporting to the Department of Health considered the implications of such exposures and made recommendations which are before ministers. The SAGE group accepted the ALARA principle, so that exposure reduction is to be preferred where reasonable, having regard to cost and proportionality. Deviation from an approved plan which would have removed such a severe exposure would seem prima facie to be unreasonable. Notwithstanding the possible agreement of the landowner or even the present occupiers, the position of potential occupiers should also be taken into account: they may be subject to economic or employment pressures to occupy the dwellings but in doing so may not appreciate the potential risks of severe exposure to them or their children.

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APPENDIX B RCEP summary and decision on "the electromagnetic environment".

"The Electromagnetic Environment As the world becomes increasingly bathed in anthropogenic electromagnetic radiation, should we be considering whether this is having an impact on the environment, including humans and other organisms that live in it? Sources include radio/TV broadcasts, mobile phones, GPS satellites and wireless computing amongst others. There have also been recent suggestions that wireless transfer of energy could be used as a means of charging electronic devices. The study could consider whether there is a cumulative effect from this radiation, and whether it could interfere with species other than humans, for example disrupting migration patterns of birds or other species. A key question would be are there environmental effects that have not been properly recognised? There are some suggestions that there could be epigenetic effects. Should low level ionising radiation be included in the scope of such a study? There is, of course, already significant public interest in this issue in relation to the effects of mobile telecommunications transmitters, but the study should take a wider view of the entire electromagnetic environment both now and into the future."

Decision notes:

The electromagnetic environment This topic elicited the largest number of responses. There were also comments from public bodies, government departments, academics and trade organisations expressing a range of views from advocating that it be studied through to encouraging the Commission not to pursue this. The Commission acknowledged that this was clearly a very important issue, particularly to some sections of the public with regards to public health. The Commission noted that a lot of work has been done on the health aspects (including the Stewart Report) but less has been done on wider environmental effects. Because of the limited environmental data and extensive research into human effects, the Commission was not certain it could add anything to the debate in the next two years, and that it should not, therefore, be the subject of the next major study. It was agreed that this area should continue to be watched, and would remain on the list for future consideration, particularly if the environmental aspects develop further.

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