Home near substation sparks health concerns

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, explains the issues to consider when buying a home close to an electricity substation
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© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)
Question: My fiancee and I have found the perfect home - almost. It has an electrical substation in a fenced-off area just behind the house. The place has been on the market for quite a while and I think the substation is putting buyers off.

The thing is, we want to start a family and wonder if we should have any health concerns about being so close to a substation, not so much for us but for a baby. Do you think we are worrying unnecessarily? Have you come across this before?

Answer: People often worry about the proximity of a property to an electricity substation. And, yes, sometimes a house right next to one can prove quite difficult to sell.

Substations are part of the electricity supply network and their size may vary depending on whether they are built to supply homes or industry.

The one you describe sounds like the type often found in residential areas and I expect it has a large yellow danger sign somewhere on the fencing that warns the public about the risk of getting electric shocks.

Because it is a substation, it is not hazardous in itself, but will be surrounded by an electromagnetic field. Ask the sellers for more details about the substation and contact the electricity supplier, not just for information about the substation but for the whereabouts of the cables and the level of the electromagnetic field.

It is possible for meter readings to be taken of both electric and magnetic fields so that you can make an informed decision whether or not to buy.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP www.thrings.com.

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