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Government must proceed with cost-benefit analysis on undergrounding of power lines – Carthy

4 February, 2014 - by Matt Carthy MEP

The Sinn Féin EU candidate for the Midlands North West constituency, Matt Carthy, has called on the government to proceed with an independent cost-benefit analysis on the undergrounding of pylons without delay.

Carthy said that communities remain significantly concerned about the effects that the proposed overhead pylons could have on health, tourism and the economy.

The EU candidate made his comments after an EU report published today stated that the authors failed to find evidence of a major health threat from the power lines despite leaving the door open for further research.

Carthy said:

“Significant concerns remain for the communities affected by the proposed pylon-supported power lines, not least in the area of health but also on tourism, agriculture and the economy.

“All of these concerns have been validated by international research.

“For example, a significant body of research by Professor Draper of Oxford University in 2005 found that living within 200 metres of high-voltage power-lines increases a child’s chance of getting cancer by 69% and within 600 metres it was increased by an average of 20%.  Previous studies have found cancer clusters associated with high-voltage power-lines.  Those living in the vicinity have been found to have a higher chance of suffering from lung cancer and leukemia.  

“While there is even a chance that these risks exist it should surely be the policy of government to err on the side of caution.

“I am calling on the government to proceed with a full independent cost-benefit analysis that would compare the actual cost of underground versus overground power lines over the lifetime of each of the proposed routes.

“I am also calling on the government to include the proposed North-South Interconnector in the terms of reference for the inquiry panel announced last week. EirGrid should also be told to refrain from submitting planning applications for the Interconnector until the panel has concluded its work.

 “This weekend at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis I will host a fringe meeting on this issue which will hear from representatives of campaigning groups north and south. I look forward to listening to what they have to say and to continue playing a part in pushing for the undergrounding of power lines.”

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