A POWER LINE designed to run from Black Point power station to Tseung Kwan O should be diverted to minimise impact on residents, even if it damages the environment, it was decided yesterday. At a joint meeting of the health and environment panels yesterday, Legislative Councillors voiced concerns about the impact of the power line on the health and property values of affected households and recommended that China Light and Power (CLP) find an alternative route. The route favoured by residents runs through neighbouring Ma On Shan Country Park. Friends of the Earth said re-routing the power lines through the country park was not the solution. 'Obviously we sympathise with residents' concern about the visual impact [of the line] and other worries, but this is a not-in-my-backyard solution,' the spokesman said. Legislators also warned CLP compensation payments should be extended to anyone affected by the pylons, rather than restricted to those whose properties fall within a 50-metre strip along the line. Chairman of the joint panel, Dr Leong Che-hung, told CLP representatives Legco did 'see problems with the current route which would affect an avoidable number of people'. But Legco can do nothing to stop CLP building. The power line will run 52 kilometres with more than 152 pylons. Residents told Legco yesterday that in one case a pylon would be constructed just three metres from a house. Spokesman for Yick Yuen residents' group, Chan Wai-leung, said he did not think CLP had chosen the best route to minimise the impact on residents. 'Residents will be affected both psychologically and physically,' he said. He said there was some evidence that living within the electro-magnetic field of a power line could cause leukaemia and tumours. Government Town Planner Bosco Fung Chee-keung told Legco the transmission route had been selected after considering the impact on residents, the environment and safety considerations. The potential for putting the power line underground was limited, he said, by the prohibitive cost and the need to construct large power stations along the way. However, the residents' country park route was an area designated as being 'of scientific interest'. The chief operating officer of CLP, Keith Stott, agreed to review the route but warned it would be difficult to start again because of the need to work on the line as soon as possible. Chairman of the Black Point Routing Objection Association Jim Shea said they were happy with the Legco decision, calling it 'a step in the right direction'. 'Basically it is a choice of cutting down a few trees or wasting lives,' he said.