Thursday, 19 April 2007

New group to assess health impact of pylons

Residents in the Boyle and Croghan areas concerned over the possible health implications associated with overhead power lines and pylons are expected to mount a campaign of opposition to the erection of pylons in the north Roscommon area in the coming weeks.
Concerned residents in Boyle and Croghan have been invited to attend a meeting this week to set up a new group to oppose plans to erect overhead power lines in the area, as part of the new ESB power line from Flagford, County Roscommon to Srananagh, County Sligo.
The group is being set up in support of a number of concerned landowners in the Boyle area, who have vigorously resisted the ESB plans for the last seven years and who will not permit pylons to be erected on their land.
Pylons range in height from 78-177 feet and a total of 46 tower bases are proposed along the Croghan to Boyle part of the power line.
“We hope to form a committee to pull together other concerned residents in the Boyle, Croghan and Ballymote areas and it is being set up in support of the landowners who are directly affected, and who are opposed, to the power line,” Mary Horan of Coach Road, Lisserdrea, Boyle explained.
“This new group hopes to highlight the health implications of living close to power lines and pylons and we intend to carry out a survey to find out how many people along this power line will be affected. In particular, we are concerned over the links between power lines and the incidence of Leukaemia and we would hope to do a headcount of all of the children under the age of 10 living along the line, in order to establish the level of risk to children,” Mary added.
Mary explained that health was among the primary concerns of those living in close proximity to the planned power line but that the potential devaluation of property was also very much a live issue.
“A lot of people are getting concerned now that they see the pylons that have been erected in the past six months in areas such as Croghan and Ballinultha. It is only now since these pylons have been erected that people have begun to question the possible impacts on health and on the environment. Health would be our primary concern but there are also issues relating to the potential devaluation of property,” Mary said.
A mother of three, Mary harbours concerns over the possible impact on the health of her children given that some research has shown a strong link between pylons and power lines and the incidence of Leukaemia.
She said that the meeting this week would hope to garner the support of other concerned residents in the area with a view to launching a petition against the power line plans.
Meanwhile in recent weeks, the ESB confirmed to the Roscommon Herald that a “fair amount of progress” had been made on the completion of the power line, which it stated was “vital for the economic development of the region”.
A spokesperson confirmed that over 120 of the 220 Kv tower bases were already erected with 50 remaining to be completed this year.
Another 70 tower bases for the 110 Kv network have been erected with 170 remaining to be complete this year. The transformer station at Srananagh in Sligo has been completed.
“We have made a fair amount of progress on this project and expect to complete it this year and have it in service providing the consequent benefits to domestic, industrial/commercial and agricultural customers,” a spokesperson for ESB said.
The ESB previously dismissed any concerns over the possible impacts on the health of those living in close proximity to power lines.
Maresa Fagan
© Roscommon Herald

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