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Power Stations: Health Hazards

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to issue guidance on any known effects on humans of prolonged residence in proximity to power stations to families who live near such installations; and if he will make a statement. (244213)

The Environment Agency regulates emissions from power stations, which have an important influence on air pollution levels but do not alone lead to local breaches of the air quality objectives in the Air Quality Strategy. There has been no specific study of the health of people living around power stations but the health benefits of reductions in emissions from power stations overall (locally and nationally) have been assessed in reports available on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/airquality/publications/stratreview-analysis/index.htm

Guidance on the health effects of air pollution in general is available on the website of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants:

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/comeap/statementsreports/healtheffects.htm.

There have been studies of the incidence of childhood cancer undertaken around nuclear power stations in particular and these have been reviewed by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE). In its 10th report, it concluded that there was no evidence of excess numbers of cases in any local 25 km area around any of the nuclear power stations:

http://www.comare.org.uk/press_releases/comare_pr10.htm