Energy policy

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Government purchase of homes under high-voltage power cables

In 2017 central government will be launching a scheme to purchase homes located directly under high-voltage power lines. Eligible homeowners will be able to sell their homes to the government at a price determined by an independent valuer.

The scheme

Eligible homeowners will be able to sell their homes to the government. The scheme will be voluntary; nobody will be forced to move house. Homeowners will qualify if:

  • their homes are located directly beneath 220 or 380 kV high-voltage power lines;
  • their homes are located directly beneath 50, 110, or 150 kV high-voltage power lines and outside a residential cluster.

During the past year, central government and the municipalities have examined which homes will qualify under the scheme. Almost all of the eligible homes have now been identified.

Under the scheme the government will purchase homes from private homeowners, using central government funds. Following the transaction, the property can no longer be used for residential purposes; as an alternative to non-residential use, it may be demolished. The scheme will run for five years from 2017 until 2021.

Residents whose homes are eligible have received a letter from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Only owners of residential properties will qualify. If both a residence and a business are based at a certain address, only the residential unit will qualify for purchase.

Why are these homes being purchased?

The Netherlands is densely populated and the electricity-distribution network is finely meshed. Before 2005, the position of high-voltage power lines played less of a role when housing was being developed. Since then, system operator Tennet has taken the distance from homes into account when deciding on the route for high-voltage power networks.

This change of approach means that older high-voltage power lines are closer to residential properties than newer lines. To reduce this disparity, some of the power lines are being moved underground.

The purchase scheme will apply where that is not an option. There is no danger to the public anywhere in the Netherlands. Agreements have been reached on magnetic field strengths at EU level to prevent people from being exposed to excessive levels of radiation, and these agreements are complied with in all publicly accessible parts of the Netherlands, including in the vicinity of existing high-voltage power lines.