First ruling on EMFs in the context of a UK power line application for some years
National Grid had applied for Development Consent for a new power line to enable the connection of the proposed new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. The application was considered by the Planning Inspectorate who made a recommendation to the Secretary of State, and on 19 Jan 2016, the Secretary of State accepted that recommendation and granted Development Consent (subject to various conditions).
In the course of considering the application, EMFs were looked at in depth. National Grid provided information in its Environmental Statement, the Inspectorate asked several Written Questions, and EMFs were a major part of one of the issue Specific Hearings.
The conclusions of the Planning Inspectorate on health and wellbeing including EMFs was:
5.7.79 Subject to the recommendations made in this and other sections of the report, the Panel is satisfied that the proposed development would meet the aims of policy advice on health, well-being, and EMFs set out in national policy statements, the NPPF and local policy. This is so both in terms of individual and cumulative effects, and during construction, operation and decommissioning.
This was the first major application where EMFs were a particular issue to have been considered since the UK policy system of National Policy Statements and Codes of Practice was created. It seems to confirm that, provided the Codes of Practice are complied with and the right evidence produced of this, EMFs will not be considered a reason for refusing Consent or for requiring modifications – the combinaton of exposure limits and specified precautionary measures is considered to give the right level of protection for the public..