Children with Cancer UK was one of three management partners in the UK Government’s Stakeholder Advisory Group for Extremely Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields (SAGE).
More than 40 partners worked together over the course of five years, from 2004. They produced two well-debated Official Reports for Government on various aspects of the health risks from magnetic fields and power lines
. The Group particularly considered the options for alleviating public exposure. SAGE 1: First interim assessment 2007 SAGE 1: Supporting documents 2007 SAGE 2: Second interim assessment 2010
In addition to childhood leukaemia, a number of other adverse health outcomes are also associated with magnetic field exposure. These include leukaemia and brain tumours in adults, miscarriage, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Taking account of all of these health outcomes, SAGE concluded that in terms of cost-benefit it would be advantageous to place any new high voltage power lines underground. Government formally responded only to the SAGE First Interim Report, which restricted the health considerations to childhood leukaemia. SAGE 1: Government response to First interim assessment 2009
At present National Grid does try to avoid erecting power lines within 100 metres of existing houses. A much greater problem, which still remains, is the converse situation – the building of new houses near existing overhead powerlines.