Electric and Magnetic Fields
The question of whether electric and magnetic fields are linked in any way to ill-health is a long standing one which still has no conclusive answer.
ENA and the rest of the energy sector is committed to providing all members of the public and the industry’s employees with full and up-to-date information on the issue.
ENA takes any suggestion of a risk to health extremely seriously. ENA believes that the final decision about what constitutes a safe level of exposure should be made by the Government, advised by the Health Protection Agency.
In 2004, the electricity industry initiated discussions on possible precautionary measures for EMFs. For example it considered possible restrictions on building homes close to power lines - no such restrictions currently exist. These discussions gave rise to the Stakeholder Advisory Group on Extremely Low Frequency EMFs, (SAGE) which included citizen groups alongside industry and Government.
Stakeholder Advisory Group on ELF EMFs (SAGE) Precautionary approaches to ELF EMFs
- ENA ER G92 Issue 1 - Guidelines for Best Practice in relation to Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMFs) in the Design and Management of Low Voltage Distribution Networks
First Interim Assessment: Power Lines and Property, Wiring in Homes, and Electrical Equipment in Homes
(date of issue: 27th April 2007)
(This document is available for unrestricted use and distribution as long as the source is referenced)
EMF Awareness in Distribution Networks
Following the Second Interim Assessment of SAGE, which dealt with distribution networks, the industry committed to Government to implement the SAGE recommendation of producing training material designed to increase awareness of EMF issues among those staff who interact with the public. The thinking was that reports of EMF issues can sometimes be useful indicators of network problems but that when members of the public try to report EMF issues, they sometimes talk to staff who are not aware of this. The DNO staff concerned will vary from company to company, depending on whether EMF issues are dealt with by call-centre staff, general engineers, or a smaller team. Through discussions and iterations, ENA's EMF Strategy Committee has come to a view that the best approach is to provide a slide pack, which DNOs can either use as it stands, or can select from to tailor a training presentation appropriate to the needs of the specific staff they intend to use it with. In the spirit of openness the pack has been shared with SAGE stakeholders and is available on the ENA website.
All UK electricity systems comply with the exposure limits in force in the UK, and, as an additional precautionary measure, with a policy of optimum phasing. The details of these are set out in three Codes of Practice agreed with Government and can be found on the DECC website here.
The industry also publishes detailed evidence of compliance with the exposure limits.
ENA is committed to supporting high-quality independent research to help get closer to a final answer on the EMF issue.
For details of ENA-funded EMF research, please see: