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Evidence Gathers on Health Hazards of Power Lines
[Rachel's Introduction: "The fact that the evidence has amalgamated over the last three or four years has certainly shifted my view to see there is sufficient evidence now to say we should probably apply the precautionary principle in order to save lives."]
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An influential Holyrood committee is urging a precautionary approach towards possible health hazards caused by long-term exposure to high- voltage electricity lines.

The long-term dangers of exposure to electromagnetic fields generated by overhead power lines was compared to passive smoking.

Richard Simpson, Labour MSP [Member of the Scottish Parliament] for Mid Scotland and Fife, said when he and SNP [Scottish National Party] MSP Kenny Gibson moved a member's bill to ban smoking in 2001, the evidence about the dangers of passive smoking was not at all great. But that changed and the Scottish Parliament banned smoking in enclosed public places.

Mr Simpson told the public petitions committee that a Commons cross- party inquiry into childhood leukaemia has found that children living within 200 metres of overhead power lines had an increased risk of getting the disease.

Recently there has been anecdotal evidence of a link to Alzheimer's, he said.

Mr Simpson conceded that the numbers were small and the condition rare, but added: "The fact that the evidence has amalgamated over the last three or four years has certainly shifted my view to see there is sufficient evidence now to say we should probably apply the precautionary principle in order to save lives."

Mr Simpson made his claim in support of an ongoing petition from Stirling Before Pylons, urging the Scottish Government to introduce planning regulations to safeguard public health.

The committee heard that the government should take into account the very latest scientific evidence when it considers the reporter's recommendation on the public inquiry into whether the Beauly-Denny power line should be upgraded.

It was claimed 14,000 people signed a petition against the upgrade of the line on health grounds alone.

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