As things currently stand, the most recognised and scientifically robust association between electromagnetic fields and ill health is that between powerlines and childhood leukaemia. With supporting evidence from other sources of magnetic fields, it is likely that this association is due to the EMFs from powerlines as opposed to another factor that would be associated from living near them. SAGE I rejected the implementation of a 60 metre building corridor as not being a “proportional response” with regards to costings. However, the house value of properties in close proximity to powerlines is depreciated, often severely. The developers of new houses should be informed of the option to underground nearby lines as doing so will generate a net income benefit at the point of sale due to the increased value of the houses in the development area.
Scientific evidence is beginning to agree that there is a strong statistical association between living near powerlines and an increase in childhood leukaemia incidence, even though the cause is not yet fully understood. In light of this, we believe strongly that the government should legislate a “new build corridor”, where no overhead 275 and 400 kV overhead transmission lines are allowed to be built within 60 metres of existing houses, and no new houses are allowed to be built within 60 metres of existing 275 and 400 kV overhead transmission lines.
We are currently involved in the UK Government endorsed “Stakeholder Advisory Group on Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields” (SAGE), which, having completed it’s second phase and advised Government, is now coming to a close. The government has rejected the new corridor proposal from SAGE Phase I as not proportionate to the cost, but without detail. We believe that although retro-fitting (going to existing situations and changing them) is prohibitively expensive, taking the existing cost benefit case to new plans may well provide options for either alternative paths (effectively implementing the corridor option) or undergrounding the transmission lines. As this both allows for risk to be minimised, and increases the house value of the houses that will not have to be situated next to a large overhead transmission line, it should be possible to implement these options at no net cost.