New research work in Finland and the UK indicating potentially serious health issues associated with overhead pylons will be revealed by Professor Denis Henshaw of Bristol University at a public meeting on the pylon issue being organised by Independent MEP Marian Harkin in Trim on Monday next, February 10th.
The meeting will focus on health issues and the possibility of undergrounding cables in response to public calls to amend the current plans for delivering the €3.2 billion Grid 25 project
Marian Harkin said: “While Minister Pat Rabbitte and EirGrid have sought to diminish possible adverse effects from electric-magnetic fields associated with high voltage overhead cables the public at this time have significant concerns. My personal concerns on this issue arise from the current view of the EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) and if the precautionary principle it recommends is endorsed by new information from Finland and the UK the health issue must assume even higher significance.
“I and others have reservations about the process initiated by Minister Rabbitte which will have the recently announced expert panel examining the comparative studies to be undertaken by EirGrid. In the matter of health issues it will not assuage the fears of the public if the expert panel merely considers a report compiled by EirGrid.
“I have the height of respect for the integrity of the members of the expert panel but if they are not to evaluate all three proposed routes on a similar basis the process will lack validity. It is inconceivable that the planning application for the cross border interconnector should proceed and perhaps conclude, before the expert panel reports on the other two projects.
“However, ultimately, the only meaningful study having regard to health, environmental, and economic issues is one which will examine in detail the entire Grid 25 project on a cost benefit basis. The least the public deserves is full justification for the future energy policy they will be required to pay for”, Ms. Harkin concluded.