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<Commission>{PETI}Committee on PetitionsCommission>



Petition 0628/2006 by Krzysztof Kuklinski (Polish) on the public health hazard caused by radiation from a high-tension overhead power line in Kamioniki in western Poland

1. Summary of petition

<TEXTE>The petitioner expresses concern at a projected high-tension power line 70 metres above the ground in Kamioniki near Poznan in western Poland, indicating that the local populace will be exposed to radiation likely to cause various forms of cancer, including leukaemia among children. He indicates that the high-tension overhead power line in question will carry voltages of 2 x 440 kV and 2 x 220 kV and that the distances to the nearest homes will be between 30 and 370 metres. The petitioner argues that this infringes the relevant EU legislation and is accordingly seeking action by the European Parliament to ensure that the residents of Kamioniki are not exposed to dangerous and carcinogenic radiation.TEXTE>
2. Admissibility

Declared admissible on 19 December 2006. Information requested from the Commission under Rule 192(4).

3. Commission reply, received on 7 May 2007.

The European Commission (EC) is aware of the public concern concerning the issue of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF). The EC has for long been monitoring the potential health effects of EMF, requesting the review of scientific literature, financing research, disseminating information and contributing to the establishment of a legal framework for the protection of workers and citizens.

This legal framework includes recommended limits to the exposure to EMF of the general public in the Member States (Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC 1), established limits to the exposure of workers to EMF (Directive 2004/40/EC 2) and established limits concerning EMF originating from products placed or put into service on the EU market (Directive 1999/5/EC3). Directive 2004/40/EC obliges Member States to comply by 30 April 2008 at the latest. It aims to protect workers from risks arising from electromagnetic fields and has therefore a limited scope of application.

The Council adopted Recommendation 1999/519/EC on 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz) based on the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) as endorsed by the Scientific Steering Committee advising the European Commission on multi-disciplinary scientific issues. This text recommends that Member States, in order to provide for a high level of public health protection, should adopt a framework of basic restrictions and reference levels4. The recommendations on limitation of exposure have been based on established effects on human health.

As regards the application of protective measures in particular circumstances, such as those mentioned for power lines (e.g. in the vicinity of schools, hospitals, residential areas), the implementation of protection measures is a matter for national measures to address, using where appropriate the European Recommendation referred to above as a basis.
When reference levels are exceeded, it is recommended that national authorities carry out an assessment of the exposure situation and take appropriate follow-up actions, such as provision of information to the public exposed, changes in the installation or design of the source of radiation or in the way it is operated.

In this respect, the petitioner may wish to contact the competent Polish authorities to ask them to perform the necessary measurements on site and to compare them with current Polish standards and/or binding limits and also with the reference levels of Recommendation 1999/519/EC.5

As recommendations (such as the above mentioned Recommendation 1999/519/EC) are not binding, the Commission does not have the power to start infringement proceedings in this case. If the petitioner wishes to pursue the matter further, it is suggested that he informs himself about the position of the Polish law and about related measures at national level.

However, the European Court of Justice has held (judgement in the case C-322/88, point 186) that recommendations cannot be regarded as having no legal effect. The national courts are bound to take recommendations into consideration in order to decide disputes submitted to them, in particular where they cast light on the interpretation of national measures adopted in order to implement a given recommendation or where recommendations are designed to supplement binding Community provisions.

In view of the substantial quantity of new scientific information that has become available since 2001, the Commission has asked its Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)1 to update the opinion of the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE)2 of 30 October 20013 on possible health effects of electromagnetic fields, radio frequency fields and microwave radiation on human health. The recently adopted preliminary opinion4 of SCENIHR on possible effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on human health was under public consultation during the last quarter of 2006. The SCENIHR has considered the comments and information received and has produced a final opinion that will soon be published on the Internet5.

1 OJ L 199, 30.7.1999

2 OJ L 184, 24.5.2004

3 OJ L 91, 7.4.1999

4 Further to the issue, assessment should be based on emitted field levels and not on definition of general “safe distances”. The use of such a surrogate would not be adequate because the fields depend on the voltage, on the electric current flow and on several other parameters such as the design of the masts, the clearance of the live lines, the number of systems, the dimension and number of phase lines, etc. More at .

5 In reply to a questionnaire from the Commission, the situation of Member States with regard to implementation of the Recommendation was summarised in a report in 2002 (see







PE 390.329v01-00


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