Buying a house is a big decision, and there are many factors to consider before making a purchase. One of the considerations that you may come across while house hunting is the proximity to overhead power lines. Some people may believe that living near power lines can be dangerous, while others may not think much of it. So, what is the truth? Is it safe to buy a house near overhead power lines in the UK? Let’s explore this topic further.
What are Overhead Power Lines?
Overhead power lines are cables that are suspended above the ground and are used to transmit electricity from power stations to homes and businesses. These power lines are typically made of aluminium or copper and are coated with a layer of insulation to prevent electrical leaks. Overhead power lines are found in many areas in the UK, including residential neighbourhoods, commercial districts, and industrial areas.
Are Overhead Power Lines Dangerous?
Overhead power lines do emit an electromagnetic field (EMF), which is a type of radiation. There have been concerns that prolonged exposure to EMF can increase the risk of cancer, particularly leukaemia in children. However, the evidence is inconclusive, and there is no clear consensus among scientists and health authorities.
The UK government, through its regulatory body, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), sets limits on the levels of EMF exposure that are deemed safe.
These limits are based on the recommendations of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which is an independent organisation that provides guidance on EMF exposure. The HSE states that exposure to EMF from overhead power lines is unlikely to cause adverse health effects, as long as it is below the recommended levels.
Do I Need an EMF Survey?
If you are considering buying a house near overhead power lines, it is important to get an EMF survey done on the property. An EMF survey will measure the levels of electromagnetic radiation in and around the house. The survey will provide you with an accurate reading of the EMF levels and help you determine whether they are within the recommended safety limits.
It is important to note that EMF levels can vary depending on several factors, such as the proximity of the power lines to the house, the voltage of the power lines, and the number of power lines in the area. Therefore, it is essential to get an EMF survey done by a qualified and experienced professional who knows how to interpret the results.
If the EMF levels in the property are higher than the recommended safety limits, you may want to reconsider your decision to buy the house. Alternatively, you can take steps to reduce your exposure to EMF, such as installing shielding materials or moving furniture away from the areas with higher EMF levels.
What Are the Other Risks of Living Near Power Lines?
While EMF exposure is a concern for some people, there are other risks associated with living near power lines. For example, if the power lines are damaged, they can pose a risk of electrocution. If a tree falls on a power line, it can cause a power outage or even start a fire. It is also possible for power lines to fall down during severe weather conditions such as storms or high winds.
Another risk associated with living near power lines is reduced property value. Some people may be hesitant to buy a house near power lines, which can make it difficult to sell the property in the future. Therefore, it is important to consider the potential impact on property value when making a decision to buy a house near power lines.
What Are the Benefits of Living Near Power Lines?
While there are risks associated with living near power lines, there are also some benefits. One of the benefits is that properties near power lines may be less expensive than similar properties further away. This can be an advantage for buyers who are looking for a more affordable property in a desirable location. Additionally, living near power lines may mean that you have a reliable and consistent source of electricity. Power outages are less likely in areas with overhead power lines, as they are typically the first to be restored after an outage.
How Can I Minimise the Risks of Living Near Power Lines?
If you have decided to buy a house near overhead power lines, there are steps you can take to minimise the risks. Here are some tips:
- Get an EMF survey: As mentioned earlier, getting an EMF survey done on the property is crucial. This will give you an accurate reading of the EMF levels and help you determine if they are within safe limits.
- Install shielding materials: If the EMF levels in the property are higher than recommended, you can install shielding materials to reduce your exposure. Some common shielding materials include metal sheets, foil, and conductive paint.
- Move furniture: Moving your furniture away from areas with higher EMF levels can also help reduce your exposure.
- Inspect the power lines: It is important to inspect the power lines regularly to ensure that they are not damaged or posing a risk of electrocution.
- Prepare for power outages: While power outages are less likely in areas with overhead power lines, they can still occur. It is a good idea to have a backup generator or alternative sources of power, such as solar panels or batteries.
Buying a house near overhead power lines is a personal decision, and there are both risks and benefits to consider. While there is no clear consensus on the health effects of prolonged exposure to EMF, it is important to get an EMF survey done on the property to ensure that the levels are within safe limits. Additionally, there are other risks associated with living near power lines, such as electrocution and reduced property value. However, there are steps you can take to minimise these risks, such as installing shielding materials and inspecting the power lines regularly. Ultimately, it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide if living near power lines is the right choice for you.