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Councillors raise cancer fears over major offshore wind farm development

22 Jun 2023 3 minute read
Offshore wind farm and fishing boat

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

Denbighshire councillors have expressed fears underground cables and substations for a huge offshore wind farm could pose a cancer risk.

Members of the council’s planning committee expressed concerns over the proposed 107-turbine Mona Offshore Wind Farm, which is planned to be built off the coasts of Llanddulas and Abergele, where the underground cables will come to shore.

While the wind farms will be off the Conwy coast, the substation is planned at land south of Glascoed Road, Cefn Meiriadog – with a second option being agricultural land south of St Asaph Business Park and another further east of the city.

Although the final number of turbines is yet to be decided, 107 wind turbines with a height of 293m are proposed.

A second option also on the cards is for 68 turbines 324m in height.

Onshore infrastructure

Councillors were asked to comment on the plans that include onshore infrastructure to connect the wind turbine generators to each other and the National Grid.

Councillors fear the St Asaph area already has too many underground cables and wind-farm substations, in the shape of the Burbo Bank, Gwynt Y Mor, and pending Awel Y Mor facilities.

The committee feared that the cumulative effect, coupled with nearby overhead pylons, could expose residents living in St Asaph and the surrounding areas to dangerous levels of electric and magnetic fields.

Cllr James Elson said: “Although we accept renewable energy projects are something that are on the cards – and we support them totally – we just feel in Cefn Meiriadog that the scale of the project is enormous.

“When you bring into play the other issues, the Awel y Mor, which is progressing, we feel it is too much for one small community to bear.

“We are against the cumulative effect, rather than renewable energy itself.”

Cllr Merfyn Parry agreed, saying: “It is quite worrying for the residents, the impact that is coming in.

“There are a number of studies showing a possible link between exposure to magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia, and there are other possible cancers.”

Cllr Chris Evans also raised fears about exposure to magnetic fields leading to various cancers.

Council officers will now seek assurance from Mona Offshore Wind Farm Ltd as part of the planning process, raising questions about the impact on health.

Cumulative effect

Denbighshire Council will also ask that the various renewable energy companies take a “holistic approach”, working together whilst considering the cumulative effect that various substations and underground cables have on the area.

The plans, though, constitute a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project under the Planning Act 2008, requiring a Development Consent Order to be granted by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.

Such applications are formally submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for a decision whilst marine planning lies with the Welsh Government, and councils are asked for their comments as part of the planning process.

Mona Offshore Wind Farm Ltd intends to start construction in 2026 and be fully operational by 2030.

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Morris Dean
Morris Dean
9 months ago

Oh dear, this old chestnut. Totally debunked and still resurfacing like a zombie delayer to action on climate change.

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
9 months ago

Councillors need to be educated people…and these ones are clearly not. I say this with confidence (but then again I “say” everything with confidence), because a quick google will lead one very quickly to various articles and (more importantly) published research on the subject they are ignorantly spluttering about and any from any reputable publication or body informs us that, NO, there is no increase in cancer risks. However ” In 2018, a group of scientists studied all the results of 11 previous studies around the world. They found that there was no clear link between magnetic fields and a child’s… Read more »

Daniel Pitt
Daniel Pitt
9 months ago

Low-frequency magnetic fields, such as those generated by power lines, electrical appliances, and some electronic devices, have been extensively studied. The scientific consensus, based on a large body of research, is that exposure to these magnetic fields at typical levels found in homes and workplaces does not cause adverse health effects. This conclusion has been supported by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). However, there are certain occupations that may involve exposure to higher levels of magnetic fields, such as electrical power industry workers, welders, and MRI technicians. In… Read more »

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