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Revolt Newsletter 109

15/01/2002


Revolt News 109

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STOP PRESS: Trentham Environmental Action Campaign have set out a strong case for precaution over health risks from powerlines (appended below). They are presenting it, with supporting papers, to parliament tomorrow 16th. By kind arrangement of our webmaster Rik Royall their papers can be seen at http://www.nopylons.co.uk/trentham/  with a link from the Revolt site. I hear from Prof Denis Henshaw that the despised NRPB is to be taken over in an amalgamation of four quangos under the DOH. Let's hope it will be for the better. See the DOH website for more on that.

1. Yorks Evening Press report that a Balfour Beatty truck got stuck on an icy rail bridge between Tholthorpe and Raskelf in December. BB have since agreed to pay NYCC to keep it salted. Cllr Peter Sowray said that, while they have to accept the consent decision for the line, NYCC will keep a close eye on the everything and ensure that the contractors comply with requirements.

2. Nearby residents report contractors working on the Tholthorpe site over the Christmas period including Christmas Day, despite advice that they would not be.

3. As reported in news108, the new pylon #129 at Tholthorpe is 55.5 metres (182 feet) high. The tallest, according to NGC's documents such as NGC23 second revision, will be three towers of 61.5 metres (over 201 feet). They will be towers #11, #111 and #123. However, the specifications have changed over time, and NGC have kindly agreed to supply an up-to-date schedule. The latest I can glean from published documents is that, after the extended under-grounding, there will be some 226 pylons, comprising 18 extra-wide low-profile towers 35-40 metres, 23 towers 40-45 metres, 124 towers 45-50 metres, 39 towers 50-55 metres, 19 towers 55-60 metres and 3 over 60 metres.

4. Angela Ovenston reports fuel cell power applications gathering pace in the US: (a) The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has successfully installed 55 fuel cells manufactured by Plug Power. Currently, 18 of the 55 fuel cells are fully installed and generating electricity for LIPA's grid. http://albany.bcentral.com/albany/stories/2001/10/29/daily31.html 

(b) Ford Motor Company has dedicated a new headquarters for its Premier Automotive Group (PAG) in southern California. The new facility will include a natural gas-powered fuel cell that will provide 25 percent of the building's power and hot water needs and will help provide electricity for the facility's 35 electric vehicle-charging stations. http://www.ford.com

(c) The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has announced the start of a $25 million energy storage project that will utilize regenerative fuel cell technology. http://www.tva.gov/environment/ongoing.htm#innovate 

5. Lord Ezra, Chairman of Micro Power Ltd, writes in the Times 9.1.02 "if a higher proportion of electricity were generated on a small localised scale, the waste heat could be used and dramatically increase the conversion efficiency - from about 50% to 90%". He points out we could become net oil and gas importers soon after 2004 with gas imports rising to 90% by 2020. Geoff Mackley, CPRE County Campaigns Secretary, has written a robust follow up letter referring to the waste of the NGC second Yorkshire line.

6. Sir Richard Doll, chairman of NRPB's Advisory Group on Non Ionising Radiation, is criticised for his analysis of servicemen exposed to radiation in Britain's Christmas Island nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s, dismissing the high incidence of leukaemia and myeloma as a statistical quirk. The article "Richard Doll: a questionable pillar of the cancer establishment", Martin Walker, The Ecologist 28(2) 1998, and the book "The politics of cancer revisited", Samuel S Epstein 1998, are mentioned as sources of wider criticism of Doll. The above from www.tassie.net.au/emfacts/  from an Australian source passed on by Hans Karow in Canada.

7. Ceefax items on page 203 on 10.1.02 and 11.1.02 say a US criminal inquiry has begun into the Enron affair "after workers lost billions when the company recorded the biggest bankruptcy in US history last month". A full page in the Independent 12.1.02 includes details of Enron's support for the Labour Party before and after the line was consented in 1998. The saga involves fraud and "entangles the Bush administration". Also "Enron's auditors Arthur Andersen said they had destroyed balance sheet documents". The same Arthur Andersen who are investigating EMF concerns and planning delays for power projects for the EU (and consulted us). All very dismal, when you recall Enron was Bush's biggest election sponsor and financed the Labour Party. Not to mention John Wakeham, the dirty tricks in India, or NGC illegally plundering its pension funds. See news89.6, 106.5, 106.6, 107.1. You might almost be tempted to think we were in the grip of a ruthless global mafia with their polluting and wasteful powerline plans. Dirty business!

APPENDIX 1

TRENTHAM ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION CAMPAIGN 51Earlsbrook Drive Trentham Stoke on Trent ST4 8DL Tel: (01782) 658648 E-mail maureenasbur @ hotmail.com

Date By Hand (16.1.02)

House of Commons London SW1A OAA

Health effects of Electric and Magnetic Fields, EMFs from Overhead Powerlines

Dear Member of Parliament

You may be aware of the growing concern of the adverse health effects of exposure to elevated levels of electric and magnet fields (EMFs) especially from those associated with overhead powerlines. The recent California Health Department Report on EMFs cites added risk of miscarriage, childhood and adult Leukaemia, brain cancer and greater incidence of suicide as some of the health effects associated with elevated exposure.

You may also know of the various Action Groups who are trying to raise awareness of this issue both with the public and with Government. As one of these Action Groups we have become particularly aware of the unusually high number of cases of both cancer and non-cancer illnesses close to the overhead powerline going over our houses in Trentham. This has been highlighted in a number of radio and television interviews in this country but also in a recent national television programme in Australia, "60 Minutes", which has had a wide impact in Australia of the potential adverse health effects from overhead powerlines.

Please find enclosed an information pack containing copies of letters to various Government Ministers and Agencies regarding our deep concern of the rapidly evolving knowledge of the adverse health effects of EMFs from overhead powerlines. We believe that the views expressed in these letters are representative of the growing concern of the public at large.

A number of Governments are aware of this silent killer in our midst which, to put it in perspective, looks as though it may claim more lives than passive smoking. However, the UK Government has so far failed to act, despite the fact that it is armed with considerable scientific information of the dangers to public health of overhead powerlines.

It is particularly unfortunate that the Government chooses to hide behind its advisory body, the National Radiological Protection Board, NRPB. This organisation has lost the confidence, both of the scientific community and of the public at large, in failing to keep in touch with the scientific understanding of the adverse health effects of EMFs and of failing to give any advice to reduce public exposure. It has for example been silent on the findings of the California Health Department Report

The World Health Organisation, WHO, has recently endorsed a policy of prudent avoidance to exposure to EMFs. Various nations, such as Switzerland and Italy, are taking matters very seriously in introducing measures to counteract the threat to public health. In contrast, the UK Government seems more concerned to seek out advise that gives them an excuse not to act. Have we not learned from the BSE saga, that prevention is the least expensive option whilst at the same time protecting the nation?

We as an Action Group are committed to the struggle to force moves to reduce or remove the health threat of powerline emissions, as graphically summarised in the California Health Department Report, as well as the important information emerging from the international scientific community generally. We are deeply concerned that this appears to be falling on deaf ears of Government.

We feel the risks are now so well exposed that urgent action is required. As a representative of your own community, we urge you to ensure that the Government embarks on an urgent strategy and programme of action now, rather than after the event as in the case of other recent health scares.

To put matters into perspective, we enclose a summary of the scientific community's estimate of the effects on health. The cost to our Health Service of the adverse health effects of exposure to EMFs far exceeds the preventative costs of re-routing powerlines to minimise public exposure

Approximately 300,000 people in the UK live in properties that are affected by powerline emissions that exceed 0.4 microtesla - a figure at which the NRPB admits to a doubling of childhood Leukaemia risk. However, as the recent California EMF Health Report highlights, if the many other illnesses also associated with exposure above 0.4uT are taken into account, the ill health numbers that accrue well exceeds that which has triggered regulatory evaluation and regulatory control of chemical agents.

Annual death rates as a result of exposure to EMFs may be comparable to the annual number of deaths on the road. This problem therefore ranks in the same league as deaths from road accidents as well as, for example deaths from smoking.

Are YOU prepared to let this Government continue to ignore this issue?

We need action now.

Yours Faithfully

Mike O'Carroll

 

Mike O'Carroll

 

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