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Burning Pylon logoA G M 5th October 2000 Thirsk Town Hall

AGM  Report

About 170 people attended last night's successful AGM. Messages of support were reported from MEP/MPs and others who couldn't attend. Special guests Peter Edmonds (Northallerton NFU), Superintendent David Short (NY Police), Greg Stone (Lib Dem PPC) and Vic Pulleyn (Countryside Alliance chairman) were welcomed.

The Minutes, Treasurer's and Chairman's reports were approved and the auditors re-appointed and committee re-elected.

The outline strategy was discussed at length, and approved with additional points taken on board.

The health issue had a new significance in the light of entirely new epidemiological evidence from Dr Alan Preece at Bristol supporting the physics research of Professor Dennis Henshaw on the way powerlines cause contaminated airborne particles to intensify and attach to people. Peter Edmonds, who said from the farmers' perspective the NGC were like the Gestapo, brought us up to date in the light of the recent Radio 4 Costing the Earth programme to which he contributed centrally. Evidence suggested powerlines could be responsible for 3000 premature deaths per year. He called for a national moratorium on new powerlines in the light of this developing evidence.

Corporate liability, and directors' pesonal liability, were highlighted as points to press upon the NGG Board through shareholder lobbying. Greg Stone offered to use his contact with the National Association of Pension Funds to raise awareness of the issue among corporate investors.

A 4-page green sheet of Guidance for Protesters was issued and discussed. It emphasises our strong legal basis for physical protest by turning up and standing in NGC's way. We will work with the advice and support of our London solicitors Leigh Day & Co and in regular consultation with the police. David Short outlined the positive approach of the police, which, while impartial, will facilitate lawful protest. He said he saw no serious objection to our Guidance.

Landowners are in a very strong position, as confirmed by the Parliamentary statement copied in the green Guidance sheet. The wayleave does not allow NGC to go on their land without their express permission. Reasons for refusing access included: soil not in a dry state, compensation not satisfactorily agreed, concern of potential health risk, inconvenience for the landowner (eg access route or working area or times), need to disinfect vehicles before entry. Refusing access because of concern about the new health evidence could provide a useful test case, with the onus on NGC to make its case.

Full Minutes will be issued in due course.

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