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Electricity: Health Hazards

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he and his Ministerial colleagues have to hold discussions with stakeholders on the implementation of the Health Protection Agency’s advice to Government on the SAGE First Interim Assessment on power lines and property, wiring in homes and electrical equipment in homes; (185059)

(2) what steps have been taken since 27 November 2007 to implement the Health Protection Agency’s guidance to Government on the SAGE First Interim Assessment on power lines and property, wiring in homes and electrical equipment in homes; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what the timing of the current round of consultation on the SAGE First Interim Assessment on power lines and property, wiring in homes, and electrical equipment in homes is; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what (a) meetings and (b) other contacts there have been between officials from his Department and other Departments and devolved Administrations on the implementation of the Health Protection Agency’s guidance to Government on the SAGE First Interim Assessment on power lines and property, wiring in homes, and electrical equipment in homes;

(5) if he will take steps to reduce the exposure of children to electromagnetic radiation.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) advice to Government on the “Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAGE) on Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields (ELF EMF) Precautionary approaches to ELF EMFs First Interim Assessment Power Lines and Property, Wiring in Homes And Electrical Equipment in Homes” is available in the Library and also on the HPA website at:

www.hpa.org.uk/radiation/understand/radiation_topics/emf/hpa_response__statement_sage.htm

The HPA advice supports precautionary measures that have a convincing evidence base to show that they will be successful in reducing exposure, are effective in providing reassurance to the public, and where the overall benefits outweigh the fiscal and social costs.

Since November, officials in the key Government Departments have been in contact with agencies, industry and trade associations to seek initial views on the practicalities of implementing the SAGE recommendations in the light of HPA advice. After exchanges of correspondence, some exploratory meetings have taken place. When these initial soundings have been completed, a work plan will be drawn up for detailed consideration and discussion will be held with officials in the devolved Administrations.