REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 343

Revolt news 20/10/2011 Print (pdf) Version

1. An autumn newsletter from Stour Valley Underground (SVU) was issues 12 Oct. The headlines are at APPENDIX A below. “Stour Valley Underground enter their third year fitter, more positive and more convinced than ever, that future grid developments must be underground and undersea”.

2. SVU report an important precedent may have been made with the rejection, after appeal, of a substation proposal by Warwick Energy on 43 acres of farmland at Little Dunham near Swaffham in Norfolk. The company warned the decision could jeopardise the future of the £1.3bn Dudgeon offshore wind farm. The substation would include DC converters and 400kV national grid connection. Against the advice of its officers, Breckland Council rejected the plans after hearing villagers’ fears about the impact that the 15m-high buildings could have on the landscape. Warwick appealed and a planning inquiry was held earlier this year.

3. The decision letter for Little Dunham sets out the policy background and deems that the new Energy NPSs (published since the inquiry) does not raise further matters that would affect the decision. The key issue in the rejection comes in para 17. It is not principally landscape, but refers to the impact of “industrial character that would have a significant influence and scale” upon the village’s “rural ambience along with the intrinsic beauty of the landscape” in contravention of the approved local plan Core Strategy policies. Further (para 22) it was considered that “there is a possibility of locating an acceptable site elsewhere”. There will be lessons here for other projects in areas with an approved local plan - many areas do not have one.

4. We commended National grid on a small step forward on undergrounding (news331.4, 339.4-7) though that was followed by concerns about spin (news340). The SVU newsletter complains of more spin or “1984 style Doublespeak” over NG’s declared policy that “no transmission method is ruled out” contrasting with managers having “categorically ruled out undergrounding the whole route”. In corporate affairs these days it seems the shop window and the back room are different worlds. No wonder people are unwilling to trust the shop-window assertions.

5. “T-Pylon design wins competition for pylon of the future.” Winning Danish architects are interviewed in this short BBC clip of 14 Oct. It is claimed the winning design will be smaller and may start appearing in Britain in 2 or 3 years, though there is no commitment. The new design is said to be a more positive shape than the ‘grumpy old man’ form of traditional pylons; fair enough, but it is however still angular and alien to rural tranquility. See also news340.3 on pylon aesthetics.

6. Funny how they (e.g. the Mail) use strong-contrast photos of the old pylons, in contrast with the soft commercial pictures of new designs excessively back-lit to minimise visual impact! Yet in consultations for powerline proposals we are used to flattering pylon pictures and exaggerated underground cable impact. Is image-spin alive and well?

7. “Griff Rhys Jones in pylon protest”. Griff says the figures in NG’s claim that UGC costs 12 to 17 times more than overhead lines are “picked out of the air”. Protest group Bury Not Blight appears in this interesting short BBC Look East news clip.

8. Julianne McClay from SEAT reports that 500-plus objectors appeared at the 12 Oct PAC pre-inquiry meeting at the City Hotel, Armagh, regarding the NIE application for the 400kV Ireland interconnector (news342.9). “Due to the recent additional environmental submission from NIE, the public inquiry is now pushed back until 6th March.”

9. The State of Massachusetts is to investigate EMF health risks from transmission lines, according to Bill H.2901 sponsored by State Representative David Linsky (an attorney by profession).

10. And finally, the pylon design that sums it all up can be seen on p28 in the Mail on Sunday 16 October. The jaunty High-2 fingered salute design cheerfully assaults the landscape, not unlike a row of chubby bunnies. See it here


APPENDIX A Headlines from SVU autumn newsletter

  • Stour Valley Underground's public meeting
  • National Grid's 1984 style Doublespeek
  • Why all the rush? How unnecessary haste to reinforce the grid will lead to damaging outcomes
  • The IET underground transmission consultation - will it be independent?
  • Local Government Policy on pylons
  • The Consultation: Flawed from the outset and just getting worse
  • Strategic Optioneering:
    • The solutions we want to see explored
    • The 132kv line: it's not actually part of a corridor 2 solution - an odd thought but it's true
    • Sub Stations: alternative strategies that we think should be considered
  • National Grid are to trial Gas Insulated Lines - at last!
  • We finish this month with a joke... The Pylon Design Competition

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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