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Couple leave 'forever home' over fear of health threat from magnetic fields

PUBLISHED: 09:22 20 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:33 04 November 2019

Ray and Diane Pearce moved because of concerns over electric and magnetic fields from cables from two huge offshore windfarm projects, which are scheduled to cross underground at Reepham. Picture: Ian Burt

Ray and Diane Pearce moved because of concerns over electric and magnetic fields from cables from two huge offshore windfarm projects, which are scheduled to cross underground at Reepham. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

A couple have moved out of their "forever home" because of fear of harm from electric and magnetic fields (EMFs).

The two routes for new cable corridors for offshore windfarms across Norfolk. Image: ArchantThe two routes for new cable corridors for offshore windfarms across Norfolk. Image: Archant

Ray and Diane Pearce lived at Salle, near Reepham, just metres from the path where cables of two huge offshore wind farm projects are scheduled to cross underground.

But they made the difficult decision to move earlier this year due to concerns over what the cables could mean for their health.

Mr Pearce, 63, said their former barn conversion was near where cables connecting Ørsted's planned Hornsea 3 windfarm would intersect with cables from Vattenfall's planned Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas wind farms.

"We didn't want to live near such a large EMF," he said.

On the property at Salle, close to where Ray and Diane Pearce lived. Picture: Ian BurtOn the property at Salle, close to where Ray and Diane Pearce lived. Picture: Ian Burt

"The peak power from Hornsea 3 and the two Vattenfall projects is six gigawatts, whereas the maximum output from Sizewell B is 1.2 gigawatts. So that would have given us five times the output of a nuclear power station in the ground 80 metres from our front door."

He said they now ran the barn conversion as a holiday let.

"We'd be static and it could have had a chronic effect on us. There's research saying living near a strong magnetic field is not helpful." Mr Pearce said. "Whereas with holiday lets, visitors would be there no more than a week or two and it would be transient to them."

Before they relocated to a rental property in the village of Heydon, they had lived in the house at Salle since 1996.

"That was our forever home," Mr Pearce said.

He added that concerns over lorries and other works traffic being constantly on nearby roads during the laying of the cables was another factor behind their move.

A spokesman from Ørsted said that while EMFs were present wherever electricity is used, the UK had a "carefully thought-out" set of policies for dealing with them, guided by Public Health England.

The spokesman said: "We jointly commissioned an independent study which calculated the EMFs that could occur where several power cables cross one another. This report concluded that the projects would be compliant and would be well within UK exposure limits."

And Graham Davey, project manager for Norfolk Boreas, said there was no evidence of a risk to humans or animals exposed to direct-current magnetic fields.

Mr Davey added: "The potential strengths of the magnetic fields for the projects are well within the maximum public exposure limit recommendations set by health agencies."

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