Opinion polls conducted by Ipsos MORI on power lines and EMFs

At two or, latterly, three year intervals from 1997 to 2017, Ipsos MORI interviewed approximately 2000 adults (chosen as a nationally representative quota), paid for by National Grid.

This summary gives, where possible, the figure for any mention of overhead power lines, pylons, substations, or EMFs.  In the earlier surveys this was not always extracted as an aggregate figure so the figure for either “pylons and power lines” or just “pylons” is given, as indicated in the table.  The figures for substations have always been lower than for pylons/overhead power lines and tend to make only a marginal difference to the totals. Further questions, phrased differently in different years, have addressed views about the strength of the scientific evidence etc, but are not presented here.

The 2009 survey was conducted at a time of some concern about swine flu, which seems to have reduced the level of concern shown about all other health issues in that year.

 Question

1997

1999

2001

2003

2006

2009

2011

2014

2017

1

What issues, if any, to do with industry, public health and the environment in Britain concern you most these days?[1]

[no prompts]

1%

1%

1%

1%

2%

3%

3%

4%

4%

any mention

pylons

pylons / power lines

any mention

2

Which of the following have you heard anything about recently in the industrial environment context/context of human health issues?[2]

[prompted with list]

35%

34%

48%

38%

39%

18%

21%

14%

12%

any mention

pylons / power lines

any mention

3

Which, if any, particularly concern you these days (because of these health issues)?[3]

[prompted with list]

9%

10%

13%

10%

10%

5%

7%

5%

5%

any mention

pylons / power lines

any mention

For comparison, from the 2017 results, the pylon/power line/substation scores compared to some other issues were:

 Question2017
1

What issues, if any, to do with industry and the environment in Britain concern you most these days?

[no prompts]
Pollution 37%
Global warming/climate change 26%
Waste disposal/litter 23%
Traffic congestion 22%
Fracking 12%
GM foods 9%
Nuclear power stations 8%
Pylons/power lines/substations 4%
Mobile telephones 4%
2

Which of the following have you heard anything about recently in the context of human health issues?

[prompted with list]
Air/vehicle pollution 44%
Fracking 36%
GM crops 23%
Nuclear power stations 21%
Mobile telephones 17%
Pylons/power lines/substations 12%
3

Which, if any, particularly concern you these days because of these health issues?

[prompted with list]
Air/vehicle pollution 33%
Fracking 17%
GM crops 13%
Nuclear power stations 11%
Mobile telephones 7%
Pylons/power lines/substations 5%
These are just selected issues, to see the full findings download the tables on the right.

The 2017 survey involved face-to-face interviews with a sample of 2058 adults representative of the population of Great Britain. Fieldwork took place in the period 30 June - 10 July 2017.

In accordance with National Grid's contract with Ipsos MORI, this summary of the results has been approved by Ipsos MORI as a fair summary.


[1] Wording up to 2003 was:  "What issues, if any, to do with industry and the environment in Britain concern you most these days?"

[2] Wording was "context of human health" from 2001 onwards

[3] "because of these health issues" added from 2003

See also:

How these polls were conducted

These polls are funded by National Grid.

National Grid indicated the type of information it wished to obtain.  The questions themselves were worded by Ipsos MORI and the poll administered and analysed by them.  Ipsos MORI were told to find out the genuine extent of awareness and concern among the public without biasing the answer either way by the way the questions were phrased.

The full results tables

Here, you can download the full set of results tables from the most recent surveys.

ProjectField 2017 tables

ProjectField 2011 tables

ProjectField 2009_tables