REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 225

Revolt news 18/05/2007

1. While in Sale on Saturday 28 April I took the opportunity to visit Dermot Finnigan and to see for myself the nature of his problem with a 400 kV grid line (APPENDIX A).

2. News@all-energy issue 87 has little on grid matters. Item 3.3 reports E.ON UK intends to submit an application for planning permission to put the grid connection to the proposed Denshaw Moor Wind Farm underground 

3. The proposed new powerline across the Pyrenees has raised alarm in France (news175.1 back in 2004) and now from Spain (APPENDIX B). The respective campaign groups are "No a la MAT" in Catalonia (Spain) and the Collectif "Non à la THT" in France. In 2004 there was the beginning of the Fédération Européenne de Lutte contre les THT (European Federation Fighting against Extra High Voltage Power Lines). The link to the new Spanish campaign is 

4. Snips from the Defra magazine Energy (etc.) Management of May/June 2007: (page 6): The Government's Climate Change Bill makes the UK the first country to legislate for reducing carbon emissions. The closing date for comment is 12 June. . (page 16): The Government has decided to allow companies to compete with National Grid in building, owning and maintaining the transmission network for offshore wind farms. Contact <>. (also page 16): A consortium has been set up to develop a new mass- market domestic micro-CHP system. The size of a fridge, these products deliver domestic heat and electricity. 

5. DH informs us that the Public Health Minister has referred the SAGE report to the Health Protection Agency for their advice. The Minister has written to Sir William Stewart to ask HPA to give its considered view on the report and the implications of its recommendations for public health.

6. From a parliamentary release 16 May 2007: During his speech at the Confederation of British Industries annual dinner last night, Gordon Brown confirmed dates for the Planning White Paper and the Energy White Paper to be published. He said: "More immediately, an effective and efficient planning system is essential for investment, and following the reports by Kate Barker and Rod Eddington, we will next Monday publish our Planning and then next Wednesday Energy White Paper."

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APPENDIX A Site visit to Dermot Finnigan's home at Sale, Manchester.

My visit was in the best of the April weather, dry and sunny even in Manchester. The property is set in an open and low-lying grassed field surrounded on three sides by Sale Golf Club, which is also on low-lying ground alongside the Mersey. On the fourth side there is a smooth high ridge, raised substantially above the low-lying area of the property itself. The 400 kV line was pre-existing, running roughly along this ridge, but with the pylons set back and away from the farm so the visual intrusion was not so severe.

The movement of one pylon by about 100 yards has brought it into an elevated position on the high ridge and quite dominating the skyline overlooking his home, whereas previously it had been further over the ridge and further away. It is an angle tower of heavier than usual appearance. The visual intrusion is clearly now extreme. The impact of a large pylon on highly elevated ground looking down over a home seems so much more overbearing than one on the same level. Dermot claims that there was no consultation in the movement of the pylon with such damaging effect on him. Sadly, it is one of the injustices of the legal system for powerlines that such a fate can befall anyone.

This case is complicated by a boundary dispute in which Dermot claims the line passes over his land, at least when in swing from the wind, and further imposes safety restrictions on his use of the land close to the line. I saw the boundary, which involves a line of trees and does not appear clear to the inch, but could be within inches horizontally of the conductors of the power line. Because of the lack of precise clarity on the ground, the case might be argued either way as to whether the line over-sails the land or not.

The boundary dispute is presently before the courts. Hopefully that may establish the position of the boundary more precisely, sufficient to say whether the line over-sails the land in still air or when allowing for swing in the wind. In either of those two cases, National Grid should require a wayleave and then compensation for loss of property value may be negotiable. In the third case, of restriction of Dermot's use of his land because of NG's safety requirements, it seems unresolved in principle as to whether a wayleave should be required; that is a situation needing policy and legal consideration and resolution.

Of course, NG might have avoided this boundary conflict by choosing the new pylon position, and/or that of the next pylon along, so that the line avoided over-sail of Dermot's property by a clear margin, say another metre or two. The presence of an isolated pair of semi-detached houses on the ridge, close to the new pylon position, may have been a constraining factor. I did not inspect the detailed positions in that regard, but it seems likely that the original objective (of enabling a prospective rail extension) could have been achieved without the line coming quite so close to the boundary.

The present (new) position of the pylon is now very close to the pair of semi-detached houses, which the conductors directly over-sail. Previously the conductors followed the same line over those houses, but without the pylon so close, so exposure of the houses to EMFs has not been worsened; but it is alarming, especially if small children live there.

Revolt news has reported many times on the developments of this dispute and the policy issues it raises. A quick search reveals items starting from news160.6 of 21.3.04 and running through: 160.6, 177.4, 178.1, 182.7, 191.4, 194.6, 198.9, 199.5, 201.2, 202.2/3/8, 208.8, 214.2, 215.4, 216.2, 218.7, 220.1, 222.2/3.

Back at news202.8 a People's ASBO (a PASBO) was issued for National Grid, for being such a nasty neighbour and placing their giant power lines so close to the boundaries of powerless neighbours. Here's what NG should do. First, avoid wherever possible positioning any new or moved line close to a neighbour's boundary. When a line must unavoidably pass near to neighbouring land, with the nearest conductor likely to be within a short distance, say 10 metres, of the boundary horizontally, they should at the very least consult the landowner and occupier directly, and offer the usual wayleave terms as for an oversail. That would cover any doubts or questions not only of crossing the boundary but also of swing and safety distances. It's not much, but it is better than imposing safety problems involuntarily on entirely uncompensated and disempowered neighbours.

It still applies!

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APPENDIX B Call for help from Catalonia.

Dear friends,

The Platform "No a la MAT" in Catalonia (Spain) and the Collectif Non à la THT in France are launching a Campaign of signatures through Internet to stop the project of high tension (HT) line between France and Spain. This project, with a clear economical purpose based on the sale of the electricity generated by French nuclear power stations, has been rejected by more than 180 municipalities at both sides of the border, but is backed by the Spanish and French governments with the support of the EU.

We need your help to stop the HT line -called MAT in Spain and THT in France-, to help us to prevent an enormous and irreversible damage in a region of a great ecological value and to put in place a new culture of energy in the European Union.

Enter at our web ( or click on 

and send the letter included to the Spanish and French Ministers of Industry and Energy.


Many thanks Communications Commission 

***** *****

-- Mike O'Carroll




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