REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

SAGE (Stakeholder Advisory Group ELF EMF)

SAGE v6.2 Draft Report 250 words from Mike O'Carroll 4-4-07

The Assessment goes part way to recognising scientific evidence supporting precaution. In presenting polarised positions and alternative advice, it perpetuates material flaws.

One such flaw is the "threshold" assumption: that risk of childhood leukaemia suddenly doubles for fields above a threshold of 0.4mT. Because few people are exposed above 0.4mT, that leads to the extreme minimal estimate of only 2 cases per year attributable to EMF in the UK. The estimate could alternatively be about 60 cases per year using a "linear-no-threshold" assumption. Available scientific data neither support nor reject these assumptions, but suggest something in between. A fair picture would show a range from 2 to 60, but any departure from the exclusive "official" estimate has been vigorously resisted.

Likewise, instead of assessing the range of potential adverse effects associated with EMFs, with their strengths and weaknesses, the Assessment presents alternative advice based on polarised views. The non-aligned view has been suppressed. It would advise that, within the high levels of scientific uncertainty and imprecision, the powerline corridor option could defensibly be either adopted or rejected, depending on political factors.

Our powerlines work concentrated on 275/400kV lines, sometimes forgetting 132/110/66kV lines. Conclusions dismissing undergrounding are wrongly presented as applying to all lines. We omitted to consider cost-limited phased removal of the worst existing exposures. We have acknowledged that further (basic) work is needed. In that respect the Assessment is also unsatisfactory.

MJOC 4-4-07

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