The Government gave their response to the SAGE First Interim Assessment on 16 October 2009. We give more details of the SAGE Assessment and the Government Response. On this page, we summarise how different organisations have reacted to it.
Children with Leukaemia
"Government refuses to protect young lives, says leading children's cancer charity
Today the charity has condemned the Government for failing to act on recommendations and advice from leading scientists, professionals and MPs in their call for action to protect children from the potentially harmful effects of living close to high voltage overhead power lines.
A building moratorium on new homes and schools close to high voltage overhead power lines was identified as the "best available option" for obtaining a significant reduction in exposure to extremely low frequency EMFs by SAGE, the Government's own Stakeholder Advisory Group, in its report published in April 2007. Following that announcement, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) called on the Government to legislate to restrict the building of new homes and schools next to existing power lines.
The Government will not introduce the ban, instead relying on lesser recommendations such as working with the HPA to deliver public messages and supporting the optimal phasing of overhead power lines, which the charity says will do nothing to reduce public exposure to EMF"
Note: this is our extract from a much longer press release. As of 2013 the full version is no longer available on Children with Cancer's website.
"This Government response effectively managed to turn down, or sidestep, almost all of the practical advice produced by SAGE. It is yet another example of the UK Government asking for expert advice and then ignoring it and following their own opinions as usual...
SAGE members had spent 2.5 years (from 2004) and many weeks of actual work each working hard (often with no pay) to produce well considered advice that could be taken forward positively by Government. Powerwatch was a member of SAGE. It was a good balance, produced by a mix or industry, academic, NGO and some individual members. It was far from extreme...
The latest (and two years overdue!) response from the DH is, in many ways, even more depressing: It is very clear that there is no intention to adopt any of the measures suggested by SAGE in any form of governmental policy. Not only that, but their recommendations imply a misunderstanding of the science behind the recommendations. Adherence to ICNIRP "as all that was necessary" was never endorsed by SAGE - indeed, all of the SAGE recommendations were based on a nominal figure of 0.4 microtesla (the level associated with a doubling of childhood leukaemia), some 400 times lower than ICNIRP's 100 microtesla figure...
These factors mean that it is pointless to continue with such dialogue as it will result in no meaningful change in protection."
This is our extract from a longer full response which you can read on Powerwatch's website here
Revolt Newsletter number 283 includes the following:
"6. The government response to the 2007 SAGE report was issued 15th October. On the one hand it recognises the case for precautionary reduction of EMF exposures, at low or no cost, but on the other hand this seems to be fudged by get-outs and reversion to the much criticised 1990s ICNIRP standards.
7. In particular, the 60-metre corridor is dismissed, saying it is not supported by SAGE’s cost-benefit analysis. In fact SAGE had two views, and two cost-benefit analyses, depending on whether impacts other than childhood leukaemia were allowed or excluded. The establishment view (which excludes other impacts even when based on scientific evidence) seems to be taken by government as SAGE’s only view – so much for the alleged mutual respect!
8. SAGE continues to address other sources of exposure, but representatives of public concern will be asking if it is worth their continued time and expense. The rejection of the 60 metre corridor is not so much the issue as the manner of it. It offers “low or no” prospect of either us or the wider scientific evidence being taken seriously."