REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 3

Revolt news 30/08/2011 Print (pdf) Version

1. Peter “Rusty-Pylon” Hillam from Halifax reports continuing conflict over National Grid access and maintenance work, specifically on tree cutting. Peter says that contractors Fountains Forestry expected free access to fell trees on his land, whereas he had to engage a solicitor (which NG paid for) to require NG to identify and agree which trees were to be trimmed and what extent was necessary. Even then, after it was agreed to trim just one specific tree, yearly, contractors arrived and were going to cut down another large tree, and were uninformed about what was agreed. He refused them access and, after a “Mexican stand-off”, they left. Such reports suggest landowners need to be vigilant, and should have a precise agreement about such works.

2. Hearing suggestions of increasing the height of existing pylons on the line from Elland to Bradford, Peter Hillam asks: is this for tele-communications?

3. Agencies Property Compensation Consultants (PCC) and the official-sounding Electricity Compensation Bureau Ltd had approached Peter Hillam, but he suspects involvement by ex-NG personnel. Waite & Co is run by Charles Waite, well known to some Yorkshire landowners (e.g. news77 of 26-2-01) as NG wayleave officer in the 1990s / 2000s and the subject of complaint. It is located at Cut Throat Lane (!) near Harrogate. There is also a “long-established” estate agents Waite & Co As a matter of general policy, Revolt does not recommend specific commercial services ( ).

4. The PCC website offers a no-win-no-fee service and says: “On completion our fee is charged at 20% of the compensation settlement achieved for you. VAT is also payable on the fee.” Landowners should be legally entitled to a full settlement without using any such agency. It seems regrettable that NG operates in such a way that legal entitlements to compensation are eroded by private agencies. NG should be able to provide fair compensation without cloak-and-dagger secrecy and insider negotiation (down Cut Throat Lane!). As a general principle in human affairs, lack of transparency invites corruption.

5. To its credit, therefore, PCC discloses amounts of compensation for a dozen examples on its web page for “settled claims”, together with photos of the properties. Amounts range from £4200 to £10,300 for 3-bed semis to over £50,000 for rural or farm properties. As always, such claims require the powerline to be on or over the property with a wayleave (express or implied), which is then replaced by a permanent easement.

6. The Times 27-8-11 reports “Every household in Britain has been overcharged an estimated £120 in utility bills as a result of an environmental initiative that is not working, an investigation by The Times has found. Energy companies such as Scottish Power, EDF Energy and Centrica, the owner of British Gas, have pocketed about £9 billion in free windfall profits by manipulating a carbon trading scheme. The extra costs have come when energy prices are at a record high, but, according to the climate change group Sandbag, the total carbon emissions saved by the scheme are roughly equivalent to every person in Europe replacing two old incandescent lightbulbs with energy-efficient alternatives, costing about £3 each.” Compare that overcharge of £120 with the cost of just £4.70 per year per home for undergrounding all proposed new transmission lines (news337.10) according to the National Grid Brunswick WTP survey.

7. Prof Olle Johannsen reports from Sweden that a new and very important ruling has now been given by the Swedish Environmental Supreme Court (SESC). “The ban on the Swedish utility power plant "Affärsverket" to have power lines closer to properties in Helsingborg than 65 meters has been determined. The electromagnetic radiation is too high. Two of the four members would, however, rather lift the ban.” (google translation)

8. Daily Mail 28-8-11 reports Defence Secretary Liam Fox “attacks government over countryside blight of 150ft pylons … in a letter to Environment Secretary Chris Huhne”, and urges that new power cables are buried, saying that the choice of pylons is “short-termism of the worst sort”. Fox makes the point that lifetime costs, as distinct from short-term capital costs, may be halved by opting for buried cables.

9. Daily Telegraph 27-8-11 reports “Thousands more wind turbines can now be built across Britain after energy companies struck behind-the-scenes deals to overcome military objections to wind farms”. Alasdair Philips (Powerwatch) comments “This article is most alarming to me, not for the wind farm part, but for the fact that private energy companies / corporations / multinationals (often owned by foreign nationals now!) are purchasing the latest Radar systems for the British Military as part of their normal "facilitating their business" practice.”

10. A public inquiry is to be held into the Northern Ireland part of the 400kV Irish Interconnector, under the auspices of the Planning Appeals Commission (PACNI). Key dates are: objectors to return questionnaire by 16-9-11; pre-inquiry meeting 12-10-11; Statements of Case by 20-12-11; Rebuttals by 6-1-12; inquiry opens 31-1-12.

11. There were problems with the announcement of the application, and with access to the Environmental Statements, during the limited time for initial response in Jan-Feb 2010 (news292). There may be more problems relating to the requirements of the EU EIA Directive, by which the impact of the Interconnector should be assessed as a whole and not piecemeal.

12. Following the PLACE – CNP – Ofgem meeting in June, there is a suggestion of a Landscape Forum to bring Ofgem and landscape bodies together. Revolt has expressed an interest.

Statements made by the editor or by other parties and quoted for information do not necessarily represent the views of Revolt. Criticism of government and industry, and grievances from members of the public, are in the nature of Revolt's work, though we try to give credit where it is due. Revolt is strictly non-party-political and regrets any offence which may be inadvertently caused.




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