Home Index Economy & Environment Health Issues Press Releases
Burning Pylon logo

Revolt Newsletter 105


Revolt news 105Text version complete

Revolt News 105 attachments 

APPENDIX 1. Second Addendum to wayleave hearing.

Wayleave hearing 16.10.01 re. NGC line at Rounton Gates

Second Addendum to Proof of Evidence of M J O'Carroll, 20.11.01

1. Further notes on need

1.1 The prospect of mooted new generation north of Picton should be considered with the prospect of further reductions. The Longanet coal mines in Scotland have recently come under threat of closure and the power station they sustain could be affected. Hartlepool nuclear power station is subject to changing government energy policy, although its planned life was extended to 2014. The largest power station, TPL, opened in 1993 with a 15 year contract. It ran into financial trouble a couple of years ago when its contractual ties to fuel prices were disadvantageous in a changing market; this was when more general reluctance of gas-fired power stations to operate at full output came close to causing a failure to meet winter peak demand nationally. As recently as this month the share price of TPL's main owner Enron fell dramatically, and in a rescue deal Enron (the US parent company) "merged" or was taken over by Dynegy. The medium term future of TPL is by no means certain. Gas price uncertainty and national energy policy render further net growth of generation north of Picton very uncertain.

1.2 The policy of preferring distributed small-scale generation, especially CHP, to large remote generation is gaining ground at government level [1]. Two million homes could have their own micro CHP generation by 2010, with marginal input to the national grid, thereby hugely reducing the need for bulk transmission. A year ago, experts predicted off-the-shelf microgenerators within five years [2]. Now micro-generators are already here, with examples being installed in Durham County Hall [3]. The influential Institute for Public Policy Research [4] is now promoting decentralised electricity as a key step, alongside correcting present price distortions which prop up the intrinsically uneconomic proposed Picton-Shipton line.

1.3 Changes in transmission technology should also be taken into account in assessing the medium term need for the Picton-Shipton line. Improvements in overhead cables improve the case for having only a single circuit, compared with that case which the 1992 inspectors found finely balanced. New gas-insulated cables (flexible, low-loss and high capacity, see www.ev.siemens.de) and super-conducting technology improve the feasibility of long underground solutions. Energy Minister Brian Wilson announced 12.11.01 a feasibility study for a 400-mile undersea cable from the west of Scotland to north-west England and Wales, and possibly the west country. Even though it would be to promote windfarms in Scotland, the effect of such a cable would be to increase grid security (as distinct from net capacity) for long-distance north-south flows.

1.4 The 275 kV Lackenby-Crathorne-Norton line, which runs close to so many houses in Teesside, would be removed under the formal Condition on the new (400kV) Lackenby-Picton line, which is to be connected at Picton to the existing 400 kV line from Picton to Thornton (near York). Abandoning the Picton-Shipton line would also enable the removal of the existing 400 kV line from Norton through west Yarm (over houses) to Picton (c.15km), and the spur from Thornton to Shipton near York (c.20km). These are additional benefits of abandoning the Picton-Shipton line.

2. Further notes on health issues

2.1 A new paper [5] examines the incidence of immune-related illnesses, other than cancer, as distinct from previous studies into immune functions. It finds a linear dose-response relation in 5 out of 8 health variables in relation to exposure to environmental (powerline) fields. After adjusting for possible confounders, significant effects were found for asthma and combined chronic illnesses.

2.2 Professor Scott, an expert on oxidative chemistry, presented evidence at the 1992 inquiries to show that weakly bonded (in a 'caged configuration') hydroxyl radicals could be released by power frequency fields and could form a chain reaction, for which he gave the chemical equations, leading to release of other pro-oxidant free radicals known to be causal factors for cancer. The inspectors in essence ignored the evidence in favour of NRPB's assessment, yet NRPB also ignored it, even after it was brought to their attention. Professor Scott's book [6] addresses the topic, including melatonin ("a very powerful anti- oxidant"), and NRPB should have taken it into account. The book was reviewed in a number of UK and US journals including key journals on antioxidants in cancer.

2.3 In earlier evidence, NGC has claimed that the increased usage of electricity, and by implication the consequent increased exposure to environmental power-frequency fields, has not been associated with a general increase in cancer. However, Dr Swanson in his present evidence does not follow this line. Two points should be noted. Firstly, the health impacts are likely to be selective to a susceptible minority, and not general, as Alasdair Philps observes in Ref. 9 to my first Addendum. Secondly, there a significant and related increase in childhood cancer has indeed been observed [7].

3. Further conclusion

3.1 Medium-term considerations, both of generation and of transmission, in the light of emerging government policy and of new technology, greatly change the picture relating to the Picton-Shipton line, in favour of abandoning or reducing it, since the previous inquiries and since Secretary of State's 1998 decision. Abandoning the Picton-Shipton line could bring significant further benefits in removing some 35 km of existing line in Teesside and around York.

MJOC 20.11.01


[1] * DEFRA, Energy & Environmental Management, page 9, Sep/Oct 2001. 
[2] * Fred Pearce, People Power, and Editorial, New Scientist, 25 Nov 2000. 
[3] * CHPA, CoGen 24, page 5, June 2001. 
[4] Chris Hewett, Power to the People, Inst. Public Policy Research, 2001. 
[5] Beale et al, Association of health problems with 50Hz magnetic fields in human adults living near power transmission lines, Journal of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, 20(2), 9-30, Aug 2001. 
[6] G Scott, Antioxidants in science, technology, medicine and nutrition, Albion Pub. Ltd, 1997 (e.g. pages 206-7, 278-9, 282-3). 
[7] * Milham et al, Microwave News, Mar/Apr 2001, page 4, and to appear in Medical Hypotheses.


APPENDIX 2. My response to draft Andersen report on "barriers".

It's a well written draft, though a bit slacker towards the end.

Some points (I don't expect you to use all this!):


The Yorkshire line (and its delay) may be exceptional - both in scale and in the poor quality and questionable need for the scheme. All the affected local authorities objected formally (2 counties, 4 boroughs and 1 development corporation), all political parties and several MPs and MEPs objected (most did formally), together with many other groups (NFU, CPRE etc). The long delay was because it was (is) a very bad proposal. Some delay was due to governments (both parties in turn) holding back on decision.

Relevant to the EC and TENS, I was a key witness at a planning appeal in Donegal (Ireland) a year ago, where a 100km 110kV line (already approved by the County) was rejected in its entirety on appeal. This was mainly because I showed the 'problem' could be solved by other less intrusive means. This is rejection rather than delay, but the area is in need of some grid reinforcement, so ultimately this too is delay. The national developer (ESB) had not prepared its case well, had not adequately considered the serious impact around a national park, had not considered the alternative solution I put forward (which they accepted was viable though they described it as a 'bits and pieces' solution), and had not given technical details of existing line capacities and loading or of relevant area demand. The recommendation here would be to do the preparation and consultation properly, don't use tame environmental consultants to do a superficial spin-job for the company.

Section 3.1:

You mention profit later, but I see it as perhaps #2 main reason - a privatised utility using compulsory powers to profit at the expense of the affected public.

Also, an aggravating factor is the politicising of companies involved - eg John Wakeham later on the Enron Board was the Energy Minister in 1989 who consented TPL, and Enron said to be the biggest sponsor of George W Bush and also funded the Labour Party conference. The 'fat cats' issue was at its height during the Yorkshire line campaign.

You refer to a "slightly hostile attitude" of NGC. The local people affected, especially the farmers whose land the line will cross, say NGC has a very hostile attitude, in contrast to their politeness at formal hearings. There are many examples of rudeness, bullying, claiming exaggerated powers, banging on a farmhouse door demanding 'open this door', bringing spurious charges against a young farmer which were roundly dismissed and strongly criticised by the County Court Judge, and so on. "Slightly" gets it completely wrong. If you need to ameliorate it, you can say "perceived on the basis of many specific experiences".

You say "... wayleaves to gain access to the land to install...". This is contentious. The wayleave grants power to install and keep installed (etc). Access is not mentioned, except in the Electricity Act, where the relevant schedule says the wayleave is also for access to inspect, maintain (etc) an installed line, but it does not say access to install a line. A Parliamentary reply (Nick Raynsford 12.5.99) makes it clear that NGC need the landowner's separate agreement to access to install the line, to agree routes, times, working areas, safety etc, to avoid inconvenience to the landowner. NGC claim they can enter as they wish, and did so recently over a locked gate against the express refusal of the landowner and request of his professional land agent to leave, and even when asked by the police if they would leave. This is another example of the perceived hostility.

Section 3.3:

You say visual impact is the real driver. The other drivers are real. Perhaps visual impact is the prime driver.

Section 4:

It would save much delay if the powerline proposal accompanied the power station proposal which precipitated it. However, it may have delayed the power station. The Enron (TPL) power station was consented in 1989 and opened in 1993. The Yorkshire line, based primarily on TPL, was applied for in 1991 and consented in 1998 and is expected to be built mainly in 2002. The EU Directive 97/11/EC on Env Impact Assessments requires that the whole project be assessed, cumulatively and for direct, indirect and secondary impacts. Revolt and CPRE protested to the EC that the EIA for the power station should have included the consequent transmission line, but the protest was not upheld. Only one local authority was consulted on the power station application, and did not object, so it was soon passed without notifying the authorities to be affected by the line.

The sentence "... actually deliberately seeking their advice on input on issues ..." could do with tidying up and shortening.

" ... style and genuineness ..." - better drop "style" as it would be wrong to recommend style over substance.

The motorway tactic of putting up a false route is not (as far as I know) usually to put it as the preferred route, just as one of the choices. Then the public may be relieved, rather than convinced of victory, at avoiding it.

That's it, though I will also forward to you my response to another contact indirectly from Andersens on the EMF issue. The part near the end marked IMPORTANT is relevant to both, as the fundamental flaw in the TENS approach to electricity is also likely to lead to opposition and delay. If you can do anything to bring that to light I would be grateful.

Mike O'Carroll

APPENDIX 3. Denis Henshaw's response to Andersen on health.

Dear Marguerite Whitwham

I assume you have received the comments from both Alasdair Philips and Mike O'Carroll. They have been able to comment on areas where I am not expert and I can see that your questions have already been given a comprehensive reply.

I hope also that you have had chance to look:
(i) at our website, especially the California Health Dept EMF Report and our summary of the new papers by Davis et al and Levallois et al on reduced body melatonin in the presence of relative low magnetic fields (around 0.2 mu-T);;
(ii) the websites of POWERWATCH and REVOLT.

Before giving my own brief reply to your questions, I would like to make the following points:

Taking the recent scientific developments, we can now summarise the level of magnetic field exposure at which a clear association with various health endpoints has been reported:

Miscarriage(1) 1.6 mu-T Depression of the oncostatic action of melatonin on cancer cells(2) 1.2 mu-T

Childhood leukaemia(3) 0.3 mu-T Depression of nocturnal melatonin(4) 0.2 mu-T Depression and depressive symptoms(5) 0.1 mu-T

This is by no means the full list (see California Report) For the 400 kV National Grid lines the lowest values could extend beyond 150 metres either side of the powerline. So a prudent avoidance distance would be greater than this.


(1) See California Health Department Report, chapter 13 and Appendices 5 & 6
(2) See paper by Ishido et al (2001) and other references 
(3) See California Health Department Report, chapter 8
(4) See papers by Davis et al (2001) and Levallois et al (2001)
(5) See Bristol University Risk Assessment Document relating to corona ion exposure

We are indeed moving towards the situation where exposure to quite modest power frequency magnetic fields (well below that near high voltage powerlines) appears to reduce levels of nocturnal body melatonin, which has an "across the board" effect on a number of both cancer and non-cancer illnesses, including depression and possibly educational attainment.

The World Health Organisation WHO has recently endorsed a policy of prudent avoidance of exposure to elevated levels of EMFs. In practice this certainly means avoidance of chronic exposures to magnetic fields above 0.2 mu-T, and where possible to short term exposures (e.g. from appliances). For electric fields, I entirely agree with Alasdair Philips that the exposure limit should be around 10 V/m and not 10,000 V/m as in the EU Recommendations. There is also the question of corona ions emitted from high voltage powerlines, which we estimate can have an effect on exposure to air pollution up to 400 metres away.

So, now to my brief answers to your questions:

1. I agree entirely with the comments by Alasdair Philips

2. No, as explained by Alasdair Philips and Mike O'Carroll. The current prevarication and inaction by our NRPB represents serious negligence on their part.

3. Yes, as already given by Alasdair Philips and Mike O'Carroll

4. Yes, lines should be buried as this would completely remove electric field/corona ion effects

5. No

I have attached a couple of pages which are overheads from talks I have given recently.

Yours sincerely

Denis Henshaw _________________

APPENDIX 4. Alasdair Philips's response to Andersen on health.

Dear Marguerite Whitwham
I have been forwarded a copy of your email and attachment by Professor Henshaw, as has been Professor O'Carroll. Here are some comments by me. For more detailed work we would need to agree commercial consultancy terms.

However we are not in favour of new HVOTLs crossing Europe. Electric power should be generated in CHP schemes near to where the elecricity is needed. In the UK we have a vast imbalance (far too much generation in the North East of England cf usage need mainly in the South East).

If you look at my web site ( www.powerwatch.org.uk ) under the small <power> hyperlink in the first Home Page paragraph you will see an A- Level project by my son that shows the VAST amount of power wasted by electricity transmission over long distances. We need GAS grids, not wired grids for transporting heating power - electrically this is only about 36% efficient c.f. 80%+ for direct gas heating, wasting about 280 TWh of energy each year. Completely unsustainable in an overheating world.

> 1) What do you think of the European Recommendation 1999/519/CE of the 12th July 1999 relative to the exposure of public to electromagnetic fields ?

These (CENELEC, industry sponsored) recommendations completely miss the point regarding EMF health worries.

100 microtesla is so high as to be irrelevant in practical circumstances. Powerlines do not generate more than about 40 uT max, and generally the public are not nearer to transformers to get such high ELF magnetic fields.

## Childhood leukaemia is strongly associated with prolonged exposure over 0.3 microtesla power frequency magnetic fields. 10,000 V/m is also the highest ever experienced under a 400 kV overhead line.

## The various residential and occupational studies point to ill-health ## effects from exposure to fields over several tens of volts per metre ## for a number of years, not tens of thousands of V/m!

LIKEWISE the RF/microwave regulations only address the thermal (heating) capabilities of the energy - and this area is not under question - we all agree that these thermal levels are well defined.

What people are worried about are the low level chronic exposures to the ever deepening sea of electro-soup that we all now bathe in. These CENELEC (and ICNIRP) base guidances do not help at all with the present day levels of real concern.

> 2) In England, do you have any national regulation concerning > electromagnetic fields originating from high voltage lines and defining thresholds and limits ? Or are you planning to create one in the future ? > if yes, why and what will be the limits chosen (100 microTeslas as in > the European Recommendation, 1 microTeslas as in the Swiss regulation > or 0,2 microTeslas as scientific searchers recommend) ?

At present their is no governmental will to impose any limits stricter than ICNIRP ones. However many multinational companies are now specifying maximum ELF magnetic flux levels of 0.25 microtesla in working areas as part of new building technical specifications - to protect them from possible future lawsuits. A Best possible Practice C.O.P.

> 3) In terms of solutions, what would you advise, what alternatives exist, what technical solutions exist to reduce the electric and magnetic fields arising from a high voltage line ?

Keep the wires closer together and balance the load currents and phases. Best is undergrounding that also removes the electric field component.

> 4) What do you think of burying the line ? Don't you think there are better solutions ?

Burying is best idea at present. HV DC power lines generate little concerning EMFs and if underground they results are completely negligable. Suitable cables and terminal equipment are now available to work to at least 400 kV DC.

> 5) Could you give 1 or 2 tangible examples of solutions that have been > implemented in England and that have permitted to reduce EMF ? Have you heard of any original solution to favour the construction of new > electrical lines ?

In England some HV line are undergrounded. In Jersey a section near houses had additional steel screening panels placed in position around the 2 x 3 phase cable bundles. These had separate cables tied in a close triform arrangement with tiewraps in order to maximise magnetic field cancellation.

Running twin circuit 3-phase lines in parallel help minimise EMFs. Most UK HVOTLs are already reverse phases down each side - this practice grealty help reduce EMFs at a distance from the line.

Generally we just argue and argue about keeping overhead HV lines away from housing. National Grid Co will give free flat screen computer monitors to people who live and work in fields above about 1 uT from their overhead lines where their monitors show visible image instability. It is illegal to let employees operate such computers under the EC DSE Directive and the resulting individual country (inc UK) legislation.

I hope these comments have been of some help to you. As stated above, we can only carry out detailed work under a paid consultancy contract. However, you will get a flavour of our views from our website.

Sincerely Alasdair Philips

APPENDIX 5. My response to Andersen on health.

My off-the-cuff responses are interspersed with the questions below.

>1) What do you think of the European Recommendation 1999/519/CE of the 12th July 1999 relative to the exposure of public to electromagnetic fields ? 

I don't know the Recommendation. I have a copy of 98/0166 (CNS) which might be related? That paper has a reference level of 100 microTesla (uT) at 50 Hz. It is based only on "known effects" which means effects accepted by established authorities as having a proven cause, with a high threshold for proof. Lower exposure levels give rational grounds for concern, short of the high threshold for proof of cause, but based on repeated, confirmed and statistically significant evidence as well as plausible biological mechanisms partially supported by evidence. My view is that commensurate precautionary policy should apply where there are such rational concerns.

>2) In England, do you have any national regulation concerning electromagnetic fields originating from high voltage lines and defining thresholds and limits ? 

No. The statutory advisory body (NRPB) has an investigation level of 1600 microTesla (uT), but that would not occur from powerlines, except above ground and very close to the conductors.

>or are you planning to create one in the future ? if yes, why and what will be the limits chosen (100 microTeslas as in the European Recommendation, 1 microTeslas as in the Swiss regulation or 0,2 microTeslas as scientific searchers recommend) ? 

There is no such plan. Key officers of the NRPB have denigrated precaution, and NRPB has lagged behind the EU and international (ICNIRP) standards. In fact the NRPB has failed to address precaution formally, but its silence has been taken by UK government as a reason to block local councils' adoption of precaution, on the basis that "the NRPB does not recommend precaution".

>3) In terms of solutions, what would you advise, what alternatives exist, what technical solutions exist to reduce the electric and magnetic fields arising from a high voltage line ? 

1. The public should be advised that while most people with residential exposure report no ill effects, some do and there is a small increased statistical risk of childhood leukaemia, and further that some people may be more susceptible than others to such exposures.

2. Home owners with typical (and especially night-time) exposures above 0.2 uT should be offered (a) purchase of their property at the independently assessed market price (as it would be in the absence of the powerlines) or (b) cash payment equal to the independently assessed property devaluation due to the powerlines.

3. Existing exposed property should be open to voluntary occupation on the free market.

4. New exposed property should carry a warning.

5. New powerline development should be subject to similar options (as in 2 above) to property owners who would become exposed, together with a compensatory payment for the imposition.

6. Similar options should be made for exposed renting occupiers.

7. Local authorities should have discretion to apply a precautionary policy, for example when deciding applications to build new houses close to powerlines.

8. As a matter of policy, new overhead powerlines should be normally restricted to those necessary to deliver a reliable electricity supply, and not for additional capacity for commercial or competition purposes.

>4) What do you think of burying the line ? Don't you think there are better solutions ?

Burying the line, for high voltage lines, is still very expensive. New technology, gas-insulated cables and superconducting cables, can significantly reduce the cost ratio, especially when savings in electricity losses are capitalised.

IMPORTANT: However, the more important trend and solution is for more local and small scale generation with CHP, both from renewable sources and from piped gas. As microgenerators are already becoming commercially available, and fuel cells are developing, this trend will reduce the need for bulk electricity transmission. Instead hydrogen and methane will become the main future energy storage and transmission medium. Therefore the TENS policy, of extending electricity transmission to promote 'competition', is fundamentally flawed, wasteful and costly.

>5) Could you give 1 or 2 tangible examples of solutions that have been >implemented in England and that have permitted to reduce EMF ? Have you >heard of any original solution to favour the construction of new electrical lines ? No.

Mike O'Carroll

Revolt news 105Text version complete


Home Index Economy & Environment Health Issues Press Releases