NEPPC call for Government action on EMF report

December 1, 2013

NEPPC call for Government action on EMF report (Download in Word)

Government’s own Expert Group said ‘power lines link to cancer cannot be excluded’

The government has failed to act on any of the recommendations of a major report on radiation caused by high power electricity lines, drawn up by a high powered committee of international experts, the North East Pylon Pressure campaign has pointed out.

The report, from the Expert Group on Health Effects of Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF) – has been gathering dust on the desk of Environment Minister Phil Hogan TD. The Expert Group involved leading experts from Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden and Britain.

The experts told the government that ‘the possibility cannot be excluded that Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF) cause cancer’. They said the limited scientific evidence in support of this conclusion ‘should not be discounted’. Accordingly, the experts recommended that ‘As a precautionary measure, future power lines and power installations should be sited away from heavily populated areas to keep exposures to people low. Where major new power lines are to be constructed, there should be stakeholder input on the routing.’

The Expert Group criticised the lack of focus and co-ordination among state agencies on the issue of EMF radiation. The government, the experts said, should ‘take a more proactive role in providing health advice in relation to EMF’ and they recommended that there should be a single government agency managing the issue. The Report recommended that government expand the scope and increase the funding of the existing Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland to give it the necessary powers to become the single agency managing EMF issues. In addition, overall responsibility for EMF should be given to the Department of the Environment.

The Expert Report recommended that the EMF Agency be backed up by a high- powered Scientific Advisory Committee, an EMF Safety Users Group and a Policy Coordination Committee on Health Effects of EMF. More money should also be made available for scientific research in Ireland into the health effects of exposure to EMF.

Commenting on the government’s failure to act on the Report’s recommendations, Aimée Treacy, Spokesperson for NEPPC said: ‘The Expert Report on EMF underlines the alarming policy and regulation vacuum regarding this major public health issue. There is no Irish baseline data on exposure to EMF. There is no Irish scientific research into the effects of EMF. Six years after this report was produced, the Government has still not set up the specialised agency recommended. In the absence of a proper policy and regulatory regime how can EirGrid be allowed press ahead with a proposal to string hundreds of kilometres of high power electricity lines across many counties in Ireland.’

‘The absence of any baseline EMF exposure data in Ireland and the potential of overhead lines to cause cancer is yet further justification for placing any new high voltage lines underground, thereby eliminating a major health risk to the public.’, Aimée Treacy said.

‘In a recent ‘Prime Time’ debate on Tuesday 20th November Mike and Paula Sheridan outlined their serious health concerns related to living under a 400,000  volt overhead transmission line for the last 30 years (

At the moment there is no baseline data reference or no responsible agency that they can turn to for help, advice or interpretation of their recent medical findings. This is not an acceptable situation, in a country which plans to roll-out a €3.2Billion upgrade of the electricity grid’ she stated.

NEPPC has called on the Government to act immediately to implement the full recommendations of the Expert Group. The campaign has written to Minister Phil Hogan outlining the need for urgent action. The campaign is also seeking the support of Opposition Spokespeople to raise the issue in the Dáil – through Parliamentary Questions and a Private Members’ Motion.

NEPPC is the overall representative group for the people of the North East who advocate that high power electric cables should go underground. We have active, local committees in more than thirty towns, villages or parishes, representing more than 45,000 people potentially affected.

Filed under: Health Issues,News & Events,Press Releases 2013

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NEPP is the overall representative group for the people of Ireland's North East who advocate that high power electric cables should go underground.

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