• 18 JUL 07
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    #766:Recommendations of the UK Cross-Party Inquiry on childhood Leukaemia and EMF/EMFs

    Embargoed until 00.01 BST Wednesday 18 July 2007

    MPs INQUIRY BACKS BUILDING BAN NEAR POWER LINES

    A Cross-Party Inquiry set up to examine in detail the association between High Voltage Overhead Transmission Lines and an increased risk of childhood leukaemia will today (10.30am, Wednesday 18 July 2007) publish its recommendations to Government.

    Top of their recommendations is a moratorium on the building of new homes and schools within at least 60 metres of existing High Voltage Overhead Transmission Lines (HVOTL) of 275 kV and 400 kV and on the building of new HVOTL within 60 metres of existing homes and schools and the same within 30 metres from 132 kV, 110 kV and 66 kV lines. The Inquiry also recommends that the Government consider the case for extending this distance to 200 metres for the highest voltage lines and pro-rata to lower voltages.

    Dr Howard Stoate MP, Chair of the Cross Party Inquiry into Childhood Leukaemia and Extremely Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields (ELF EMF) said: “This important Inquiry has led us to the conclusion that a moratorium on building close to high voltage power lines is absolutely necessary. We have taken evidence from a range of valid sources and we think that there is enough to warrant the immediate implementation of sound precautionary measures to protect the health of children. The most recent scientific research has indicated that there may be a link between childhood leukaemia and proximity to electricity pylons. It would be wrong to wait any longer before taking action. In representing my own constituents and the wider general public I think there is a duty to put children’s health at the top of the agenda where this issue is concerned.”

    The MPs hope that the Report will add to the work done by the SAGE First Interim Assessment (The Report of the Government’s Stakeholder Advisory Group on EMF) by identifying from a cross-party political perspective what action should be taken on the important issue of EMF and childhood leukaemia.

    Members of the Inquiry, all backbench parliamentarians, are Nick Hurd MP, Sandra Gidley MP, Dr Ian Gibson MP, Michael Connarty MP and Dr Howard Stoate MP (Chair). It was formed in 2006 following the publication of the Draper Report (BMJ, 2005), a Department of Health funded study which reported that children whose birth address was within 200 metres of a high voltage power line had a 70% increased risk of childhood leukaemia.

    The Inquiry has held five meetings at the Houses of Parliament during the last year and taken written and oral evidence from a broad range of witnesses on the scientific, legal and policy issues as well as the public’s view on the matter. The Inquiry has heard evidence on EMF and health from scientists, the electricity industry (National Grid and the Energy Networks Association), Ofgem, the Health Protection Agency, estate agents, RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), house builders, national and local campaign groups and legal experts.

    The MPs all have a particular interest in either health or environmental issues. Howard Stoate and Sandra Gidley are Health Select Committee members, Ian Gibson is past Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee and now chairs the APPG on Cancer, Michael Connarty has been involved in the debate on EMF since the 1980s and Nick Hurd is a member of the Environmental Audit Committee.

    Other recommendations of the Inquiry include: channel increased funds into research into the association between childhood leukaemia and EMF; immediately implement SAGE’s recommendation to provide more information to the public on the potential risks of EMF exposure; and consider the potential health risks of EMF exposure as part of the Government’s Energy Review.

    ENDS

    For more information, please call:
    Catherine Nestor
    Tel: 020 7930 3581 or 07919 065567 Email: catherinen@pallmallconsult.com or
    Emily Dearden
    Tel: 020 7930 3592 Email: emilyd@pallmallconsult.com

    NOTES TO EDITORS

    A full copy of the report is available on request.

    A media briefing to launch the report takes place on Wednesday 18th July at 10.30am in the Jubilee Room in the House of Commons. Please contact Catherine Nestor on 020 9730 3581 if you would like to attend.

    Members of the Inquiry

    Dr Howard Stoate MP is Chair of the Inquiry and a long serving member of the Health Select Committee. He is a practising GP as well as being the Labour Member for Dartford, where pylons are a major constituency issue.

    Michael Connarty MP is the Labour Member for Linlithgow & Falkirk East and has been active in the debate on EMF exposure and public health since 1981. He is also a Board Member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).

    Dr Ian Gibson MP (Labour Member for Norwich North) is former Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee and is now Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer.

    Sandra Gidley MP is the member for Romford and the Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Health. She is interested in a diverse range of health issues, from cancer to alcohol misuse.

    Nick Hurd MP, the Conservative Member for Ruislip-Northwood is a member of the Environmental Audit Committee and has a special interest in the application of the precautionary principle.

    CROSS-PARTY INQUIRY INTO CHILDHOOD LEUKAEMIA AND EXTREMELY LOW FREQUENCY ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC FIELDS (ELF EMF)

    Executive Summary

    The Cross-Party Inquiry into Childhood Leukaemia and EMF was set up to allow the five Members (Dr Howard Stoate MP, Michael Connarty MP, Dr Ian Gibson MP, Sandra Gidley MP and Nick Hurd MP) to consider in detail the evidence for an association between Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) from High Voltage Overhead Transmission Lines (HVOTL) and an increased risk of childhood leukaemia and determine what should be done. The members of the Inquiry held 5 meetings during 2006 and 2007, taking oral and written evidence from a broad range of witnesses. Having examined the case for taking precautionary action on exposure to EMF, we make the following recommendations for Government to consider.

    We recommend that Government:-

    1. Recognise the potential risks to children’s health caused by exposure to EMF and introduce a moratorium on the building of new homes and schools within at least 60 metres of existing High Voltage Overhead Transmission Lines (HVOTL) of 275 kV and 400 kV and on the building of new HVOTL within 60 metres of existing homes and schools and the same within 30 metres from 132 kV, 110 kV and 66 kV lines. The Inquiry also recommends that the Government consider the case for extending this distance to 200 metres for the highest voltage lines and pro-rata for lower voltages.

    2. Channel increased funds into research into the association between childhood leukaemia and EMF, to elucidate possible biological mechanisms by increasing the budget of the Department of Health’s Radiation Research Programme (managed by the Health Protection Agency).

    3. Immediately implement SAGE’s recommendation to provide more information to the public on the potential risks of EMF exposure, disseminate the SAGE report and the findings of the Cross-Party Inquiry widely in Parliament, enabling the relevant Select Committees (Health, Science and Technology and Trade and Industry) to decide whether to examine in detail Government policy on EMF exposure and public health. Communicate the
    findings and recommendations of SAGE and this Inquiry to devolved authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to help inform debate and policy making across the UK.

    4. Protect homeowners by allowing them access to information on either i) the
    proximity of a property (of 60 metres or less) to HVOTL or planned HVOTL or ii) EMF levels inside a property for sale and to implement the measures recommended by the SAGE Report to reduce EMF in the home from household wiring and appliances.

    5. Consider the potential health risks of EMF exposure as part of the Government’s Energy Review and give full consideration to alternative options, such as local generation, which could contribute to a reduced future
    need for new HVOTL.

    6. Introduce new conditions on licences for electricity transmission and distribution, (granted by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, GEMA) requiring new and current licence holders to take steps to protect the public from possible adverse health effects caused by EMF exposure.

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