REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 257

Revolt news  2/6/2008 Print (pdf) Version


Statements made by me as editor or by other parties and quoted for information do not necessarily represent the views of Revolt. Criticism of government and industry, and grievances from members of the public, are in the nature of Revolt's work, though we try to give credit where it is due. Revolt is strictly non-party-political and regrets any offence which may be inadvertently caused.


1. Now that 50km of the THT (Very High Voltage) powerline from France to Spain is to be buried (news256.7), I asked campaigner Henry Barnett if the location of the section to be buried was known. He replied:

"Don't know the route. I suspect that no one does. My fear is that there will now be an outcry by the land owners who will have the THT buried under their land, after all this is a very populated region. It's sadly too late to use the tunnel recently dug for the TGV (train) and the only two alternatives are the Le Boulou/Le Perthus route following the Autoroute A9 or out to sea and back! They will not go over the mountains. Personally I think that the governments will wait until the committees against the THT have disbanded and they have a costing, then say it's too expensive and railroad (sic) the line as it was originally programmed. This would be a typical move of the French. Mark well my words and please watch this space!"


2. The longest-running petition to the Scottish Parliament calls for a precautionary approach to EMFs from powerlines. 

The Scottish Government response to recent discussion at the Scottish Parliament uses the HPA response to the SAGE Report to deflate MSP's concerns. Interesting general issues are raised about the role and status of statutory advisory bodies, and about definitions of terms like competent, plausible, weak, etc. My comments are here 


3. Brenda Short's paper on legal aspects of powerlines, as submitted last year to SAGE, is also available on both powerwatch and Bristol University websites. 


4. Microwave news reports research on mobile phone use by Danish mothers in pregnancy showing a curious statistically significant association with hyperactivity in their children 7 years later. Since there would have been very little exposure to the foetuses, causation by prenatal exposure is very unlikely. EMF precautionists are rightly viewing these results with caution. My take is that, apart from chance in this not-yet-replicated result, there may be associations between mothers' mobile phone use and household stress levels and/or maternal evaluation of hyperactivity (the evaluation was made by the mothers). It would be better to have an external objective evaluation of any health outcome, such as a medical diagnosis. For example, in the difficult area of depression, key studies have used medical rather than self diagnosis. For more, see 


5. The important Irish grid study on undergrounding (news252, 253) was to have been completed in April. On April 8th the Irish government announced the appointment of Dutch-based international energy consultants Ecofys, supported by Canadian-based global ground engineering group Golder Associates, to undertake the study, saying it is "expected that the report will be finalised by early June". Progress will be eagerly awaited.


6. E-ON's distribution company for the west midlands is still exploring how to deal with the 132 kV line near Wolverhampton which over-sails dwellings apparently without a wayleave and in addition breaches safety clearances from houses (news251.3 & 252.7). We hear that some residents are making compensation claims of the order of 60,000. The important thing will be for E-ON to find a safe and reasonable solution, possibly with re-routing or burying, not one which keeps the line over dwellings while just raising it a couple of metres for safety clearances.


7. I don't much like the term "dirty power". It seems pejorative and may undermine credibility of claims about it. But it seems established, even if as slang (try google). It refers to voltage irregularities in electricity supply. A new paper (published online May29) shows very strong statistical associations of dirty power in California classrooms with cancer in teachers working in them. Very strong! It also uses the term "transients", which sounds like occasional and rapidly fading spikes or switch effects. But many devices and installations involve repeated current-interrupts and/or continuous arcing and electrical noise like powerline ionisation, at or above power frequency, so these effects are continuous, both as harmonics and as repeated transients. Dirty power can generally be detected by noise in an AM radio tuned off-station. The research needs replication, but by the strength of its findings it seems important enough to warrant further work, in the UK and elsewhere. See Milham and Morgan, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL MEDICINE 00:1-8 (2008): 









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