A COUPLE in Radcliffe are hoping research published today will vindicate their seven-year fight to prove a link between electricity pylons and serious health problems.

The Government's radiation watchdog, the National Radiological Protection Board, was expected to announce today that there is a link between high voltage cables and cancer.

The report, by Sir Richard Doll, is also expected to conclude that children living near power lines are at an increased risk from leukaemia.

The report will mark the first time a Government body has accepted any link.

It may also lead to a resurgence by local campaigners calling for power lines to moved away from residential areas or buried underground. Former licensees Bill and Margaret Singleton told the BEN that news of a link would vindicate their unsuccessful campaign over power lines.

The couple formerly ran The Sparking Clog pub in Radcliffe. In 1995 they lost a legal battle against their employers, after opposing the renewal of the pub's licence over concerns about their health due to strong electro-magnetic fields emitted from the pylons.

The couple were forced to quit their jobs at the pub in 1994 after suffering four years of sickness.

Mrs Singleton, aged 57, said: "We had a pylon directly above our bedroom and one on either side, so it was like being in a corridor of them.

"Soon after moving in we both fell ill with headaches and sickness which we put down to pressures of work, but as the illnesses continued we knew there had to be another link."

The news will also be welcomed by Little Lever couple Ray and Denise Studholme, who lost their 13-year-old son Simon to leukaemia within three years of buying a house close to an electricity meter emitting strong electromagnetic fields.

Mr Singleton now hopes the report will herald new legislation over where pylons and sub-stations can be built.

"Planners have admitted to us in the past that they are powerless to block an application to build houses close to one of these things," he said. "They could not raise health concerns because until now there was no direct link, but hopefully this will now change.

"At the very least there should be a law which tells the housebuilder to warn prospective buyers about the nearby pylons and then people can make their own decisions."