National Grid's policy on supporting research
This web site is maintained by National Grid. On most pages, we try to give straightforward factual information. On this page, however, we set out our approach to requests to support research by making data available on the high-voltage transmission network that we own and operate in England and Wales.
We pride ourselves on having as open an approach as possible. As part of this, data on the locations of our power lines are available on National Grid's main website. They are provided principally for the benefit of people undertaking work near power lines, but you are welcome to use them, for example for epidemiological research, if you want to. You don't have to ask us first.
Some studies need more than just the data on locations of power lines, they need further data - perhaps on historical loads - which have to be specially extracted from records, or they need our active involvement because of our expertise in assessing exposures. Two factors then come into play. One is that we don't have the resources to get involved in an active collaboration with everybody who approaches us. The other is that we believe strongly that only really good-quality research should be performed. We therefore look for some form of external peer-review (e.g. from the Department of Health, the Health Protection Agency, a research council or a major charity) of proposals before deciding to get involved.
We will do our best to support every research project that has appropriate peer-review endorsement. Examples of studies we have supported in the past include:
- The United Kingdom Childhood Cancer Study
- The CCRG study into childhood cancer
- The SAHSU study into adult cancer
- A study into social deprivation conducted at Glasgow
- A study into suicide rates in a part of south Wales
If we work with you on a study, we understand that you will be concerned that your research is not thereby compromised. In fact, we will insist on a contract similar to this one that guarantees your independence and integrity and requires the results, whatever they may be, to be published in the peer-reviewed literature.
Power lines at 132 kV and below are owned by Distribution Network Operators, not by National Grid, and they may have different approaches to data on power lines. Similarly, different approaches may apply to National Grid power lines in the USA.