3
Jun
2005

CAMPAIGNING GRAN'S POWER LINE DEMAND

This is for those of us that were at the NEC meeting with the NRPB, remember how the NRPB held an extraordinary meeting in the corridor, and then made threats to Maureen over her cluster map, telling her she could not show it to anyone.


Best Phil Watts


CAMPAIGNING GRAN'S POWER LINE DEMAND

RICHARD AULT

12:00 - 03 June 2005

A Campaigner who has led a national fight against high voltage power cables is demanding action after a study revealed children born near overhead lines are 70 per cent more likely to get cancer. A long-awaited survey published today in the British Medical Journal (BJM) reveals children born within 200m of power lines run a much higher risk of suffering leukaemia than those who live more than 600m away.

Now campaigner Maureen Asbury, from Trentham, is calling on Prime Minister Tony Blair to introduce new planning guidelines forbidding new homes and schools from being built near to power lines, and the phasing out of existing lines in residential zones.

Mrs Asbury is president of the Trentham Environmental Action Campaign, which has led the national fight against power cables for the past eight-years.

She says she is too frightened to let her two grandchildren, George, aged 10, and Maisie, aged five, stay at her home in Earlsbrook Drive, which is directly beneath a power line.

Mrs Asbury, aged 64, said: "This is just the tip of the iceberg, we could be talking about many more cases. This is what we have been telling the Government for years.

"We conducted our own survey in Trentham with the help of Staffordshire University.

"We found excess depression, headaches, even five suicides which this community has experienced were people living near to power lines.

"The most startling was that we found there had been 11 miscarriages within 25m of the power lines and just one further away than 150m.

"How long is this Government going to bury its head in the sand and pretend there isn't a problem?"

The study by the Oxford-based Childhood Cancer Research Group was originally due to be released last year.

Dr Gerald Draper and his team analysed and compared 33 years of data, which covered 29,000 children with cancer, including 9,700 with leukaemia, who were compared with an individually matched control group.

Mrs Asbury has welcomed the findings, saying they confirm longstanding concerns over high-voltage cables and their possible link to childhood leukaemia.

"The first thing the Government should do is legislate so homes are built well beyond 100 metres from these power lines in future," she said.

"Then they should phase out the existing lines."

The report published in today's BMJ stated: "Children living close to high voltage overhead power lines at birth may be at an increased risk of leukaemia."

It added: "But the authors emphasise that these results may be due to chance and further research is needed to find out whether there really is a link."

The report claimed about five of the 400 to 420 cases of childhood leukaemia that occur annually in England and Wales may be associated with power lines.

No excess risk was found for other childhood cancers.

richard.ault@thesentinel.co.uk

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