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REVOLT Powerline Concerns Health Hazards Need UK Energy Policy

Chairman’s Report September 1998

After hopes were raised last year by the incoming government, the public feel let down by the decision of 26.3.98 to consent most of the Lackenby-Picton-Shipton line. REVOLT profoundly disagrees with the decision for strong reasons set out in Appendix 1. The decision still leaves many matters unresolved.

The local authorities responded by pursuing a judicial review of the decision, with REVOLT’s support, but had to withdraw on legal advice. The scope of the legal process is very limited. Withdrawal does not mean that our case is not sound, only that judicial review does not cater for it. The time allowed for further legal challenge of the consent decision has now passed, so legal processes are exhausted except for possible appeals through Europe which are being investigated. There will also be objections to the remaining unresolved matters, which are considerable.

NGC intends to proceed with surveying and soil sampling this autumn and construction next year. Their surveyors have already been in the area and encountered opposition. Appendix 2 sets out what we expect to happen next. Direct action seems inevitable.

The 26.3.98 decision, quite outrageous in its bungling use of crucial misinformation and its conflict with government energy policy, has galvanised the public into raising the campaign profile. A new website displays regular press releases, submissions to government, a downloadable CD protest song and other items. Publicity initiatives include novel and striking displays along the pylon route, a high quality mobile exhibition and the ubiquitous car stickers. While several project ideas have not yet been put into practice, significant media coverage has been achieved.

Membership of REVOLT has surged. Many new volunteers have come forward and active local groups formed. Support has come from such diverse sources as Arthur Scargill and the Archbishop of York, with generous donations from the Countryside Alliance and CPRE, and staunch support from local authorities, MPs and MEPs. A group of members dominated National Grid’s AGM in July, and secured a promise of a private meeting with objectors on which they now seem to be reneging, though we will pursue it.

REVOLT’s updated strategy and policy of non-co-operation are set out in Appendices 3 and 4. The special position of the Lackenby-Picton section and the 275 kV line in Teesside is recognised in Appendix 5.

Last year I said that the American NCI study changed the overall picture on adverse health effects of powerlines from one shade of grey to another. Well, this year’s important NIEHS findings in America changed it back again. They accept the possibility that exposure might cause cancer. It continues to be a relevant issue, though only for those living very close to the lines.

My most grateful thanks go to our committee and to the many volunteers who have made such an impact this year. We were very sad at Joan Maynard’s death on the 26th March, the very day of the fateful decision. Two others who have served the committee well through the years will not seek re-election, while wishing us well. New blood is needed for the difficult period ahead. Nominations would be welcome in advance to our secretary Geoff Sharp on 01609 882 372.

Mike O’Carroll, Chairman

Please come to the AGM at Thirsk Town Hall, 7.30 p.m. Tuesday 24 September 1998, if you can.

Appendix 1: Why do we still disagree with Secretary of State?
Appendix 2: What will happen next?
Appendix 3: REVOLT's Outline Strategy, updated to September 1998
Appendix 4: Pylons Policy of Non-co-operation (September 1998)
Appendix 5: The 275 kV Lackenby-Crathorne-Norton line and the proposed Lackenby-Picton line.

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