News

Andrew RT Davies doesn’t want a substation built in Cardiff due to electromagnetic ’emissions’

18 Aug 2021 4 minutes Read
Andrew RT Davies

Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives doesn’t want a substation built in Cardiff due to concern about electromagnetic fields.

The MS for South Wales Central objected to a recent planning application for a small building housing a proposed substation.

While Western Power Distribution doesn’t need planning permission to build substations – of which there are many across Cardiff -developers wanted to build a small hut to contain it.

But the application for the hut sparked concerns from local residents that electromagnetic fields emitted from the substation could cause cancer.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are emitted wherever electricity is used, including in homes and from equipment which makes up electricity infrastructure, like substations. Scientists have investigated the link between EMF and diseases for decades, including cancer.

According to the Energy Networks Association, small electricity substations produce very small amounts of EMFs. These fields “fall rapidly with distance, and within one to two metres are usually indistinguishable from other fields present in homes”.

A small number of scientists claim there could be a possible link between childhood leukemia and living very close to high voltage overhead power lines, but there is no consensus on this, and these power lines emit far more EMFs than small substations.

However, local residents objected to the planning application on health and safety fears. 53 petitioners called on Cardiff council to reject the plans for the substation in Pontcanna. They were supported by local councillors and Andrew RT Davies, as a local Senedd Member.

Writing to the council, the Tory leader said: “I have been contracted by constituents expressing concern about the electricity substation application. They have raised several concerns including … the safety of emissions from the substation.”

‘We need substations’

Other concerns included losing open space and low frequency noise.

The substation would be built behind a controversial development of apartments on the corner of Cathedral Road and Talbot Street, for which planning permission was granted last summer. Developers said the substation was needed to provide electricity to the flats.

Councillors on the planning committee at Cardiff council granted permission for the small hut to be built around the proposed substation, at a meeting on Wednesday, August 18.

Matthew Morris, who lives nearby, told councillors on the planning committee he might be forced to move house if EMF readings were higher after the substation is installed.

He said: “My main concern is the potential health effects to my family and my neighbours. Increased levels of EMFs emitted by a substation can cause headaches, migraines, insomnia and other neurological effects.

“More worryingly for me there is a link between EMFs and childhood leukemia. I have two small children who regularly play in the garden which is maybe three metres away from the proposed substation.

“Neurological studies have found a statistical correlation between increased EMF levels and childhood leukemia. I will take EMF readings prior and post the building of the substation, and if they’re significantly higher I’ll need to decide whether to move from my family home or place potential risk to my children’s health.”

Responding to these concerns, Councillor Mike Jones-Pritchard said EMFs come from “everything around us” and substations are needed for society to function.

He said: “Childhood leukemia connection with EMF relates to high voltage overhead power lines, and not to local small substations. EMFs come from microwaves, phones and everything else around us.

“We’re looking at a building that’s going to hold a substation, but the substation could be put there without the building. There are quite a few locations where substations are adjoining front or rear gardens of properties. We need substations to operate the society we live in and to have all the facilities that we have.”

The planning committee voted to grant approval for the small hut enclosing the substation, with one councillor abstaining from the vote.

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defaid
defaid
1 month ago

Good to see Artie encouraging flat-earther ignorance. There’s a lack of science there. Putting the working parts of the substation inside a building will reduce the associated field outside. A metal building will reduce it to zero and is the ideal solution for the frightened and the misled but, given that approval for the hut has already been agreed, the locals will have to shift to get their request in before it’s too late. Matthew Morris, the chap who’s thinking of moving his family away, will also have to ban his children from using mobile phones, VR headsets, PCs, wifi,… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by defaid
Llewelyn
Llewelyn
1 month ago
Reply to  defaid

You will get down arrowed for common sense on this site…..pob lwc.

defaid
defaid
1 month ago
Reply to  Llewelyn

Lol. I’m expecting it, simply because pretty well everything trumps engineering and good science.

Certainly not because of “this site”: I’m usually in agreement with most posters on most subjects.

I do hope the locals have the sense to request the metal building but… pretty well everything etc.

Last edited 1 month ago by defaid
Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  defaid

Thank you for saving me the trouble of trying to debunk this nonsense! Simply incredible to see a leader of one of the main political parties giving credence to this stuff. I still remember (almost 60 years ago) connecting a crystal radio set’s output to an ammeter and being fascinated that it produced a detectable electric current purely from the energy of radio waves in the air around us! It seemed like magic but now I see my phone charging, without a wire, from a green disc it’s sitting on. These people, including Artie, clearly want to take us back… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Huw Davies
hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

Tory refuses to follow the science ! Not news anymore. They are doing it all the time. Works a treat for them, create a fib and inhale it, deeply.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

I once knew someone who was freaked out by the pylons across the field behind her house so she built a framework to fit her window, covered it in clear plastic sheet then attached a wire leading to a skewer in her garden. I didn’t bother explaining the folly of “earthing” a plastic sheet and neither did I point out that two fields away in the opposite direction was BT earth station Madley where the microwave dishes fried pigeons on the wing. Mind you she wasn’t hoping to run the Welsh education and health services like that utter berk pictured… Read more »

Erisian
Erisian
1 month ago

Well he’s proven himself to be the ignorant fool I always suspected he was.
This perfectly demonstrates why he should shut the **** up.
He knows that he knows nothing about physics, electricity, magnetism etc but still feels entitled (as a Tory – of course he is) to open his mouth and spout utter nonsense.
Did it not occur to him to even Google this – or better yet consult an expert before pitching in to support a bunch of NIMBYs looking for a reason to object.
He’d have done better importing some endangered newts under cover of darkness.
Idiot.

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