REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 222

Revolt news 14/04/2007

Statements made by me as 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.

1. News@all-energy powers on with its wide-ranging news links for energy stories. The latest issue No. 85 brings little grid news. One item of general interest is headlined "The EU bloc must find 1.1 trillion Euros from its coffers over the next 14 years, if it is to fulfil ambitious climate change goals". No wonder there is so much hype. 

2. ITV featured Dermot Finnigan's plight in "Britain's unluckiest homes" at 8.00 p.m. on 31-3-07. From the pictures screened it certainly looked like a devastating impact from the pylon moved next to Dermot's property, or even trespassing across the boundary as he has claimed. While I have not heard all the evidence, from what I have heard this does seem like a case of antisocial behaviour by National Grid in relocating a pylon without consultation to maximise its impact on the Finnigans' home. In news202.8 we announced a People's ASBO (call it a PASBO) for National Grid, for being such a nasty neighbour. We have reported many of the complex features of this case over the past year and more, and the continuing saga more recently in news 202, 208, 214, 215, 216, 218 and 220. Why on earth can't they find a sensible conclusion? Do they prefer it to drag on?

3. Still more on the National Grid - Finnigan case. A case has been brought to the County Court to establish the location of the boundary. The court case has started this month and is expected to go on for months! The Finnigans are representing themselves, while NG has a senior legal team to drive its case.

4. Scottish farming and land organisations are calling for burying the proposed Beauly-Denny line. They are also objecting to approaches to landowners for wayleaves while the inquiry is in progress. (Appendix A).

5. The second stage of the 2007 report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) came out this month. It deals with the potential (social and economic) impact of climate change. As with the first stage (news219.5) on the scientific basis, what is published is just the SPM (Summary for Policy Makers) and not the scientific analysis. This second SPM shows the importance of "adaptation" to inevitable climate change, as distinct from the argument about how much is caused by man made activity. The reports can be accessed directly at the IPCC site 

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Pressure intensified yesterday on a power giant to consider burying cables as an alternative transmission method for part or all of its proposed replacement of the Beauly to Denny pylon line.

Scotland's two major land management organisations have made the plea in a submission to the multimillion-pound public inquiry which was triggered by Scottish and Southern Energy's refusal to underground cables despite thousands of objections to its plans to double the size of many pylons along the 137-mile route.

Scotland's farming union (NFUS) and the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA) insist that a detailed comparison between overhead pylons and underground cabling "must be made to address the impact an overhead line could have on the Scottish countryside".

Agreeing that additional transmission capacity is required to accommodate an expected influx of new energy - predominantly from onshore windfarms - NFUS vice-president Nigel Miller said: "Before we erect 600 pylons each around the height of the Scott Monument, every single alternative must be looked at.

"Unless we can see evidence that overhead lines are the only viable option, we can't support them and we haven't seen that evidence yet.

"We have real concerns at the impact on the countryside of the proposed line. This will be one of the largest industrial developments the Highlands has seen, so time needs to be taken to ensure a proper analysis of the options are done. Our members in areas the line is proposed to go through deserve nothing less."

He added: "We know underground cabling is more costly, but this cost needs to weighed against the potential blight in terms of planning and tourism that pylons could bring with them."

SRPBA policy director Jackie McCreery said: "SRPBA does not oppose an upgraded power line per se, and indeed supports the development of infrastructure to facilitate expansion of renewable energy generation.

"However, we do have serious reservations about the proposed mode of transmission and the impact on farmers and land managers that this line will have if it goes ahead in its proposed form in terms of visual impact, tourism, visitor numbers, property values and so on."

SSE spokesman Julian Reeves said: "During the consultations prior to the public inquiry, Highland Council, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage commissioned a study into the technical, financial and environmental issues pertaining to the undergrounding of extra high voltage (EHV) transmission lines.

Among other things, the study found that EHV underground cables (UGC) cost between six and 12 times more than overhead lines based on assumptions which are generally favourable to UGC.

"We have submitted to the public inquiry detailed evidence in support of our proposals for the replacement overhead transmission line, and this is now a matter for them to consider."

Last month, NFUS and SRPBA wrote to First Minister Jack McConnell expressing concern that meetings were being held with local landowners and farmers to arrange compulsory wayleave applications despite the fact the inquiry was still ongoing. The organisations echoed many objectors who feel the move pre-empted the outcome of the public inquiry and brought its integrity into question.

The inquiry, which is believed to be costing around 10million and which began in Perth in February, is due to resume next week after a short break.

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-- Mike O'Carroll




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