SP Energy Networks and North Wales Police have announced a new partnership at this year’s Anglesey Show, urging farmers and farm workers in North Wales to stay safe when working near overhead electric power lines following a recent spate of incidents in the area.
SP Energy Networks, which manages more than 10,000km of cables and over 30,000 substations across its network, will partner with North Wales Police to raise awareness of its safety message at the Anglesey Show as well as offering safety advice to the local agricultural community.
Over the two days of the show, which will take place on the 11 and 12 August near Holyhead, SP Energy Networks will host a series of dramatic pyrotechnic displays which will highlight the potentially devastating consequences of machinery colliding with an overhead power line.
Last year, there were 89 incidents on agricultural land in North Wales and Merseyside, and over the past five years there have been more than 800 incidents in the same area. The majority of these incidents are caused by power lines falling as a result of adverse weather conditions, but can also be caused by accidental contact with overhead power lines.
In July, the SP Energy Networks team attended an incident in Wrexham after a farmer clipped an 11,000 volt power line with machinery. The incident resulted in a power cut for 17 nearby properties, as well as causing damage to the overhead line. Fortunately no fatalities or injuries occurred, however, direct contact with live electrical equipment, even at the lowest voltage, can be fatal - overhead power lines can carry electricity at up to 400,000 volts.
Accidental contact with power lines can be caused by operating machinery too close to the power line, but there are other risks in rural areas too: a jet of water or slurry can cause discharge of electricity, or poor weather conditions can cause damage to lines or make them lower than usual.
Even when power lines are brought down they can remain live, and SP Energy Networks is encouraging farmers to be aware of ways to minimise risk and to know the precautions to take in the event of a power emergency. It is vital that they know to keep people and livestock away and contact SP Energy Networks via the 24-hour telephone number when there is an emergency.
Stephen Stewart, Director at SP Energy Networks said: “Our partnership with North Wales Police at this year’s Anglesey Show highlights the importance of our safety message. As we approach harvest, and farmers are out on their land, it is crucial for them to be aware of the hazards that working in close proximity to overhead lines can present. By showcasing the risks, through our pyrotechnics display, we hope we can help workers be informed and to stay safe.”
Sergeant Rob Taylor from North Wales Police Rural Crime Team added: “We work closely with the rural communities across North Wales and are proud to be supporting SP Energy Networks’ awareness campaign.”
Guidance on working safely near overhead power lines can be found on: http://www.spenergynetworks.co.uk/pages/safety.asp
For more information please contact Jen Ward or Georgia Lea at Stripe Communications on 0131 561 8670 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
ScottishPower Energy Networks owns and operates the electricity transmission and distribution network in the south of Scotland and the distribution network in Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales. As the network operator it maintains and repairs the electrical equipment and network assets that transport electricity to around 3.5 million homes and businesses.
Guidance on working safely near overhead power lines can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais8.htm