opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development
REVOLT Newsletter 228
Revolt news 8/6/2007
1. More on the Beauly-Denny inquiry as it reopened in Inverness is at APPENDIX A, courtesy of Country Guardian. Objectors are calling for it to be abandoned and the project dropped.
2. The charity Children with Leukaemia, co-funders of SAGE, reports on a parliamentary question and answer (APPENDIX B).
3. The meeting held at Armagh City Hotel on 6th June was packed with over 500 local people concerned about the proposed Tyrone - Cavan 400 kV interconnector. Both Roger Coghill and I gave invited talks followed by an open question-and-answer session which lasted something like two hours. The meeting had been arranged by John Woods, clearly a very well respected local businessman and principal director of Linwoods, a leading dairy, bakery and health foods firm. While the developers have not yet made a formal application, there is very keen concern in Armagh so that substantial objection might be expected. In my assessment, it is very likely that some interconnector will go ahead, and in principle this would be helpful to the electricity system across Ireland, but the emerging proposal may not be the best way of doing it. It would be good to see funding for full undergrounding for this project of practical and political timeliness and importance.
4. The WHO has been developing its framework for precaution for the uncertain health effects from electric and magnetic fields (EMFs), following a key draft last year. However, its somewhat prejudiced underlying assumptions are revealed in a statement on its web site, to which Professor Denis Henshaw has eloquently responded (APPENDIX C).
5. This week's hoo-ha about the logo for the London 2012 Olympics is a reminder of the possibility of what I call "information effects", where flashing light of certain frequencies can trigger epilepsy (APPENDIX D). The possibility of effects on human health from fields from powerlines, from mobile phones and masts, or from wind farm flicker, does not require dangerous levels of energy transmission. If an exposure or signal can be detected, it can have an effect, especially upon a complex human systems with their multiple control and amplification functions. Only the tiny amounts of energy to transmit the signal, or information, are necessary.
6. BBC news reports: Europe's seas are in serious decline as a result of coastal development, fishing and pollution, warn scientists. Full story: http://tinyurl.com/2du72s I mention this only as a hint that all the global warming and electro- pollution concerns are symptoms of a wider problem ultimately stemming from over-population, which one day the civilised world may have to address or face the consequences.
7. Mobile phones and wi-fi are one thing, reflecting information transmission as in item 5 above, but wireless energy and power transmission is another and on a much bigger scale. http://tinyurl.com/yplmrz The magnetic fields involved have been estimated to exceed even ICNIRP guidelines some twenty-fold, which of course would be far above levels of concern from powerline fields. Go carefully in this technology!
APPENDIX A Beauly-Denny power line inquiry restarts
A MULTI-MILLION pound inquiry into plans to double electricity pylon sizes from Beauly to Denny restarted in Inverness yesterday, as the Executive considered proposals to abandon it altogether.
Campaign groups against proposals to build 600 towers, some almost 200ft high, have already made three legal submissions claiming major flaws have surfaced in Scottish and Southern Energy's case and calling for a halt to the inquiry.
But 11 weeks after those submissions were made at the £10 million public inquiry during its -strategic session- in Perth, ministers have yet to consider the documents and decide on their relevance.
The senior inquiry reporter put part of the delay down to the elections but insisted ministers in the new executive would be considering the documents 'as a priority'.
Among the first exchanges at the Thistle Hotel in Inverness yesterday, lawyers representing angry campaigners described the delay as 'not acceptable' or 'responsible'.
John Campbell QC, representing Eilean Aigas estate, Lovat Estates, and Aigas Estates, said, 'It is necessary to have a decision on this matter sooner rather than later. It's not acceptable and frankly it's not responsible for the matter to have dragged on for as long as it has.'
He was supported by Eddie Hughes, chairman of Scotland Before Pylons, who said, 'It is 11 weeks since the legal documents were submitted. This is an unsatisfactory length of time for matters of this impact to be left.'
In addition, submissions have been made by the Beauly Denny Landscape Group (BDLG) -made up of organisations including the John Muir Trust and the National Trust for Scotland.
These claim regulator Ofgem is legally obliged to consider the environmental effects of alternatives to the pylon upgrade and the sustainability of the development but there is 'no evidence' Ofgem carried out its statutory duties.
Davie Black, of the Ramblers Association, also part of the BDLG, said, 'We believe the application can no longer succeed and to pursue it would be a waste of time and public money. The inquiry should be brought to an end now.'
The documents also claim there was a failure to consider the cumulative, secondary effects of the proposals on areas outwith the stretch between Beauly and Denny, but crucial to power transmission.
Mr Black added, 'It's a waste of time and public money. They should be addressing the strategic issues in the first instance. It could go all the way to December, then it could fall down because of legal technicalities. We are calling for them to stop it now to address the issues. If it's found that it needs to continue, that's all well and good.'
Speaking on the first day of a session expected to last five weeks, senior inquiry reporter Timothy Brian said, 'We are advised the new ministers will want to consider the legal matters as a priority. Beyond that, I can't help you further.'
A spokesman for the Executive said, 'The legal submissions are under consideration.'
The Inverness leg of the inquiry is the first of four sessions to be held to assess the impact the pylon plans will have at a local level.
Three executive reporters will hear about the impact on land and residents between Beauly and the border of the Cairngorm National Park, before moving on to Newtonmore, Perth and Stirling.
Among those expected to give evidence in Inverness over the next few weeks are Sir John Lister-Kaye, of Eilean Aigas estate, the Lord Lovat Simon Fraser and leading ornithologist Roy Dennis.
SSE insists the proposed line is essential and it would cost 'demonstrably' more to bury the cables than the estimated £320 million for its favoured overhead option.
The hearing runs from 10am every day. An updated timetable of those giving evidence is available at www.beaulydenny.co.uk
Email the Editor with your views http://tinyurl.com/yop52p
AND MORE ...
Scotsman, 30 May 07 ... letters ...
Power line inquiry must be halted to address issues of national importance
We, as directors of the environmental organisations opposing the Beauly to Denny power line proposal, agree with the comments and conclusions of the senior industry figures in their letter (25 May).
We find it disappointing that important evidence relevant to a proper understanding of any need for the Beauly to Denny power line was not allowed to be heard. It is of national importance and in the public interest for all proper arguments to be debated.
In addition, we regret the fact that, as yet, there has been no response to the legal submissions that were lodged against the way the proposal was developed: on the lack of a strategic environmental assessment for the project; and that Ofgem had failed to take proper account of the environmental and sustainable development consequences of the proposal before allowing the developer to proceed.
We call for the Scottish Executive to stop proceedings now, as the format of the inquiry is unable to deal effectively with these issues. Continuing with sessions on the local issues before the strategic issues have been fully addressed would be a massive waste of time and public money.
BILL WRIGHT, Director, Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland NIGEL HAWKINS, Director, John Muir Trust MARK ADDERLEY, Chief executive, National Trust for Scotland DAVE MORRIS, Director, Ramblers' Association Scotland ALISTAIR CANT, Co-ordinator, Scottish Wild Land Group
I am astonished to hear that the inquiry into the proposed 137- mile "mega-pylon" has gone to its second stage when what is being proposed is madness and would represent an engineering folly of gigantic proportions.
When alternative technology exists to bury the line and make the supply much more reliable, it seems outrageous that we are hearing of this proposal to stretch high-voltage cables on giant pylons all the way from the Highlands to the central belt.
We should instead be looking at forming a national underground power cable system, aiming to remove all pylons in Scotland and having the landscape returned to its natural appearance.
DENNIS GRATTAN, Mugiemoss Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen
APPENDIX B Dods Monitoring / Children with Leukaemia
House of Commons - Written Answers Date published: 05 June 2007 Electric Cables: Planning Permission
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to issue planning guidance on (a) the building of new homes and schools within 60 metres of high voltage power lines and (b) the building of new power lines within 60 metres of homes. 
Government have sought advice from the Health Protection Agency on the recently published report by the Stakeholder Advisory Group on Extremely Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields. Government are considering the implications of the report's conclusions and recommendations and will respond in due course.
HC Deb 04 June 2007 c182W
APENDIX C Response to WHO from Prof Denis Henshaw
My attention has been drawn to a statement on the WHO website: http://www.who.int/peh-emf/research/en/
Research Extensive research has been conducted into possible health effects of exposure to many parts of the frequency spectrum. All reviews conducted so far have indicated that exposures below the limits recommended in the ICNIRP (1998) EMF guidelines, covering the full frequency range from 0-300 GHz, do not produce any known adverse health effect. However, there are gaps in knowledge still needing to be filled before better health risk assessments can be made.
I fear that the phrase "do not produce any known adverse health effect" may constitute misrepresentation for two reasons. First, it does not give due credit to the weight of epidemiological evidence of adverse health effects of ELF fields, and second it gives no credit to the considerable advances in mechanistic understanding as to how these effects may occur. In fact, the science is advancing so quickly that I think we have reached the point of no return and we now have serious hypotheses concerning ELF EMF health effects.
I may get in touch with you again in the coming weeks to expand on these points.
APPENDIX D Epileptics force Olympic logo offline as public's alternative designs pour in
From The Times June 6, 2007 Ben Hoyle and Ian Evans
On Monday it was unveiled to a torrent of criticism for being, well, a mess. Yesterday it was being blamed for causing epileptic fits. Life's never dull for Olympic logo makers.
Twenty-four hours after its launch, an epilepsy expert claimed that part of the animated footage of the London 2012 Olympic emblem had caused a number of fits, forcing organisers to remove part of the film.
Graham Harding, an epilepsy photosensitivity expert, told BBC London News last night: "We now know of eight cases in which seizures have occurred. What it appears has happened is that the flash rate of the diving sequence contravenes the Ofcom guidelines."
He said that susceptibility was particularly prevalent among people aged between 7 and 19 and that three quarters of those who suffered from photosensitivity would do so for life.
The removal will be an embarrassment for Lord Coe, the organising committee chairman, who lauded the £400,000 logo's dynamism. A London 2012 spokeswoman said: "We have just been notified of the problem and we have taken immediate steps to remove the animation from the website. We will now reedit the film. This concerns a short piece of animation which we used as part of the logo launch event and not the actual logo." Describing the footage, she said: "It was a diver diving into a pool which had multi-colour ripple effects."
She added that the organising committee was "absolutely" happy with the logo and had no intention of going back to the drawing board. "It's launched a creative explosion across the country. It's fantastic," she said.
While the committee stands by its creation, it seems that almost everyone else in Britain thinks that he or she could have done better. Designs from graphic artists and desktop doodlers have been pouring in to The Times, while the BBC website has organised a competition to pick the best logo from viewers' suggestions. Some are the work of a few idle lunchbreak moments while others are clearly the product of more effort than the artists? employers might appreciate.
All cost exactly £400,000 less than the actual logo, which the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games commissioned from the brand consultancy Wolff Olins.
Stephen Low, of the Ordnance Survey in Southampton, was the first reader to offer an alternative to The Times. He arranged the Olympic rings in a circle intersecting the word London, using the two Os in the host city's name as two of the rings. "The design was inspired by the London Eye, London Underground and the Olympic Games," he wrote.
Peter Forman, of Horsted Keynes, West Sussex, was more satirical. "Here is a sketch of my suggestion for a logo for the Olympics," he wrote. "It is the Olympic rings going down the drain."
Several professional designers submitted rough sketches of possible alternative logos, including Neville Brody, Atelier Works, The Partners and Jonathan Barnbrook, who will shortly have a retrospective of his work at the Design Museum.
Bookmakers are already accepting bets on the logo surviving the year, with William Hill offering odds of 10-1 for it to be replaced by the end of the year.
The committee spokeswoman denied that Lord Coe's colour-blindness had had anything to do with the logo's striking shades of pink, blue, orange and green. "That's a ridiculous suggestion and he's only partially colour-blind anyway."
-- Mike O'Carroll
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