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Elektromagnetische Felder

Comparison of European policies of low frequency (power frequency for high-voltage power lines) electric and magnetic fields

Glossary Entry Electric field

Force field forming between electrically charged bodies. According to the size of its electric charge a force acts on a body in the electric field. The measure for strength and direction of this force is the electric field strength E given in Volt per metre (V/m).

Glossary EntryMagnetic field

State of the space which manifests itself in force action on magnetic dipoles (magnetic needles). Force field caused among others by moved electric charges. Magnetic fields occur in the vicinity of conductors flown through by current and permanent magnets. In the case of permanent magnets fluxes inside the atom of the moving electrons are the cause of the magnetic field. The magnetic field strength H marks strength and direction of the magnetic field, its measure is Ampere per metre (A/m). Besides the magnetic field strength also the magnetic flux density B describes the strength of the magnetic field, the measure is Tesla (T). 1 T = 1 Vs/m², the measure Microtesla (µT) is common. The following applies to the conversion of magnetic flux density into magnetic field intensity in the air or in biological tissue: 1 µT corresponds to 0.8 A/m.

In 1999, the Council of the European Union published the Recommendation on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz) (1999/519/EC). This recommendation is based on the Guidelines for limiting exposure to time-varying electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields (up to 300 GHz) of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

According to this recommendation the reference values for high-voltage power lines (50 Hertz) are

Within the European Union the European countries handle the "Recommendation" concerning these reference levels in different ways:

Group 1

The "Recommendation" is implemented in national regulations. The reference values defined by the European Union are obligatory. Some European countries postulate additional restrictions.

Group 1
CountryReference value electric field (kV/m)Reference value magnetic field (µT)Implementation / regulations
Estonia5100Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation
Greece5100Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation
Malta5100Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation
Austria5100Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation
(implemented in ÖNORM (Prestandard) S1119)
Portugal5100Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation
Romania5100Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation
Slovakia5100Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation
Czech Republic5100Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation
(State regulation No 480/2000-Protection against non-ionizing radiation)
Hungary5100Referenzwerte wie EU-Ratsempfehlung
(State regulation No 480/2000-Protection against non-ionizing radiation)
Cyprus5100Referenzwerte wie EU-Ratsempfehlung
(State regulation No 480/2000-Protection against non-ionizing radiation)
Additional limitations
Germany5100

The 26th Ordinance for the implementation of the Federal Immission Protection Act applies (reference values according to EU Council Recommendation)

For certain power supply and railway installations, it applies that

  • Reference values must not be exceeded under maximum load
  • short-term (5 per cent of the day) and small-scale exceedances by twice the reference value, remain out of consideration

Precautionary measures:
Emissions are to be minimised.

No exceedance of reference values in the vicinity of

  • flats,
  • hospitals, schools,
  • kindergartens,
  • day nurseries,
  • playgrounds or similar institutions

When constructing new maximum voltage transmission lines (>220 kV, 50 Hz): no construction of power lines over buildings and parts of buildings designed for permanent stay.

Belgium (Brussels)5100short-term oversteppings up to 1000 µT allowed
Belgium10OMEN (= places with sensible use)
Belgium (Wallonia)5/7/10-residential areas/roads/other places
Belgium (Flanders)0,2 10-indoors
Finland5100

Reference values according to EU Council

Recommendation:

  • Keep electric and magnetic fields near humans as low as possible
  • short-term oversteppings up to 15 kV/m and 500 µT allowed
France5100Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation
Apply only to new or, respectively, modified installations
Croatia

5

2

100

40

Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation

OMEN

Luxembourg5100

Reference values according to EU Council Recommendation

Regulations related to the distance of new installations:

  • for 65 kilovolt power lines at least 20 metres,
  • for 100 or, respectively, 220 kilovolt power lines at least 30 metres

Group 2

The "Recommendation" of the Council of the European Union is not implemented. There are either higher limits in comparison to the reference values recommended by the European Union, other regulations or no regulations.

Group 2
CountryReference value electric field (kV/m)Reference value magnetic field (µT)Implementation / regulations
Bulgaria--

No legal regulations

Regulations related to the distance of lines in residential development areas depend on respective operating voltages

Great Britain9360

No legal regulations

National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) recomends5 kV/m (field strength) for the electrical field and 100 microteslas (µT) for the magnetic field.

Ireland--No legal regulations
Latvia--No legal regulations
Sweden--

No legal regulations

Environmental Code and 1998 legislation

If magnetic fields from existing installations differ substantially from the natural background value (0,1 per cent of the EU Council Recommendation’s reference value), they must be reduced at reasonable cost and consequences

new installations: consider reduction of exposure already during planning and construction

Spain--Prohibition of the installation of new high-voltage lines in the vicinity of residential development areas, schools and public places.

Group 3

National regulations are stricter in respect to the "Recommendation". They rely on the precautionary principle or they were applied due to requirements of the public for stricter regulations.

Group 3
CountryReference value electric field (kV/m)Reference value magnetic field (µT)Implementation / regulations
Denmark--

No legal regulations

Utilities measure magnetic fields at new installations: The annual average is not supposed to exceed 0.4 microteslas (µT)

no kindergartens or new buildings in the vicinity of a high-voltage line

Italy5100

Decree of 8 July 2003 (electric and magnetic fields of power lines):

  • Intervention level 10 microteslas (µT) for existing installations at playgrounds, flats, schools and areas where people stay 4 hours per day or more.
  • Quality objective = 3 microteslas (µT) for new lines and for plannings.
  • more stringent guidelines in three regions: 0,2 microteslas (µT)

OMEN

Liechtenstein-1

Environmental Protection Act of 29 May 2008 (or, respectively, the version amended in 2010)
A distinction is made between old installations (built before 2010) and new ones.

installation reference value: 1 microtesla (µT); to be exceeded by not more than 1.5 times on a maximum of five days a year; systematic and periodic exceedances are not permitted
sensitive areas must be declared separately
Old installations also have to comply with reference values or be refurbished within five years

Lithuania0,5/110/20
  • in flats: 0.5 kilovolts per metre (kV/m) and 10 microteslas (µT) that is, 10 per cent of the EU Council Recommendation’s reference value.
  • out of flats: 1 kilovolts per metre (kV/m) and 20 microteslas (µT), i. e., 20 per cent of the EU Council Recommendation’s reference value
Netherlands5/80,4/100/120/200

ICNIRP reference values (U-629/EvR/RA/559-C).

Since 2005 recommendation of the "Gezondheitsraad" for newly constructed power lines in sensitive areas:

  • Based on an assumed 30 per cent saturation of a line (annual average), 0,4 microteslas (µT) must not be exceeded.

adaption of existing lines: regulation does not apply (no new line)

Poland175

reference values lower than in EU Council Recommendation:

for flats and sensitive areas

Switzerland-/51/100

Act on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection Act (NISV) (1 February 2000) immission limits identical to 26th BImSch.
There are precautionary limit values. Distinction between new and old installations:

OMEN: Installations built after 1 February are termed "new" and have precautionary emission limits (installation limits).

  • installation limit for magnetic fields: 1 microtesla (µT)
  • electric field strength: no installation limit in the NISV
Slovenia10/0,5100/10

OMEN: new and modified installations in the vicinity of flats, schools, kindergartens, hospitals, sanatoriums, playgrounds, parks, areas for recreation, public buildings and places of excursions:

  • 0.5 kilovolts per metre (kV/m) and
  • 10 microteslas (µT)

that is, 10 per cent of the EU Council Recommendation’s reference value

State of 2017.07.19

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