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Friday, 16 February, 2001, 04:34 GMT
Power cable safety drive
Electricity pylon
Firms would have to keep a "risk register"
New measures are being proposed to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by electricity lines and cables.

The government is suggesting an increase in the height of overhead lines over roads and driveways.

Latest figures show 425 people were hurt and 18 were killed last year in accidents involving the electricity supply network.

Most involved overhead power lines.

The government says that power lines over roads, lanes and driveways should be increased in height from 5.8 to 7.3 metres.

Campaign logo
The industry runs a public safety campaign
Electricity firms will also be required to maintain a "risk register", including details of vandalism or other incidents at substations.

Energy Minister Peter Hain said: "These root and branch reforms will provide people with stronger protection from the hazards of electricity.

"There must be greater co-operation between all participants in the electricity market."

The government aims to have new regulations in force in October.

The Electricity Association, which represents the major companies in the industry, has been running a public safety campaign with the slogan "Look out, look up".

These are some of the incidents cited by the association:

  • One person was killed when an aluminium flag pole was erected directly underneath an overhead power line

  • A farmer was killed when he raised the boom of a crop sprayer while he was under a power line

  • A fisherman was killed when he raised a carbon fibre rod into a power line directly above where he was fishing

  • A tipper lorry tipped under a power line and as the tipper was raised the banksman who was touching the lorry at the time was killed.

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