REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 237

Revolt news 4/10/2007

1. The Revolt 2007 Chairman's Report is at APPENDIX A.

2. Snips from news@all-energy 98 are at APPENDIX B. Note especially the reports on the Beauly-Denny line. Scottish government minister and Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford is calling for the Bioinitiative Report (revolt news234) "A rationale for a Biologically-based Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Radiation" to be admitted to the inquiry, since it was published after the inquiry deadline for generic (strategy) items.

3. Sensational news from Richard Johnson in Canada (APPENDIX C). The Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) has scrapped scandal-plagued hearings into a proposed 500 kV line between Edmonton and Calgary, setting aside its decision that need had been established, following admissions of eavesdropping on objecting landowners and loss of public confidence. Dirty tricks do happen, and sometimes get found out.

4. A new web site has been launched by powerline protesters SAFE (safe alternative for electricity) in Ireland. Well worth a visit, it charts the problems of ESB proposals for 35 miles of 220kV line in Roscommon and Sligo. There is a collection of articles and a good photo gallery. 

5. A draft new Revolt FAQ document is circulating to industry, government and protest groups for comment. It focuses on powerlines and associated works like substations, and the range of enquiries which come through the Revolt web site. A list of questions is at APPENDIX D.

***** *****

APPENDIX A Chairman's Report 2007

UK grid developments this year have been driven by rapid growth of planned remote wind farms. Many more such developments, both long- distance and local, will be needed to sustain government energy policy for wind farms.

The public inquiry into the proposed 400 kV Beauly-Denny line (220 km long with 600 pylons) in Scotland opened in February with the generic "strategy" issues and is now proceeding with local issues. A wide range of objections has been heard, including important new evidence from European contractors about undergrounding and its costs. Prof. Denis Henshaw and I gave evidence on health issues as witnesses for Stirling Before Pylons.

An 85 km 400 kV cross-border Tyrone-Cavan interconnector in Ireland is intended to be operational by 2012, although the formal application has been delayed. Roger Coghill and I each gave talks at a crowded meeting of objectors in Armagh in June.

The Department of Health stakeholder advisory group (SAGE) on health issues from EMFs eventually reported in April its "First Interim Assessment", which recommended very-low-cost precautionary measures both for powerlines and internal wiring. It identified a "best available option" for reducing fields from powerlines, in brief to restrict new high-voltage lines and homes by a 60 metre separation, but was unable to agree this as a recommendation because of cost.

DH referred the SAGE report to the HPA for advice, which Ministers will see when Parliament resumes. A government response may therefore not be imminent, especially with a possible General Election looming. Meanwhile SAGE has been in abeyance, having organisational difficulties, apart from a very small process group appointed by the funders. Having given a great deal of time to SAGE over the past couple of years, I have little confidence in its future under its existing management.

Revolt calls for selective burial of existing overhead lines on a priority basis, on criteria including health and visual impact, and is compiling its own list of deserving cases.

Evidence on EMF health issues continues to grow, alongside that on mobile phones and on hypersensitivity. Public authorities tend to "fragment-and-dismiss" it, criticising studies in isolation while failing properly to aggregate evidence. Prof. Henshaw and I have published various notes in scientific journals as well as a summative report on the Bristol website.

Revolt's web site receives some 5,000 unique visitors per month, 400 ordinary page views per day and around 1,000 robot page views per day. Over the last year, 22 issues of Revolt email news were circulated. In the last few years I have responded to over 140 different people from several countries with diverse enquiries via the revolt web site, e.g. on EMFs, wayleaves, planning, loss of business, etc., and so am building a FAQ and list of sources in other countries.

Mike O'Carroll, Chairman ***** *****

APPENDIX B Snips from news@all-energy 98

2.1.1bn ETI to be at Loughborough Headquarters for a new hi-tech institute will be set up at Loughborough University to help the UK reduce its carbon footprint. Science and Innovation Minister, Ian Pearson, announced that Loughborough will host the new Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), as part of a Midlands Consortium  The appointment of Dr David Clarke as chief executive of the Institute was also announced.

4.GRID, TRANSMISSION AND NETWORK ISSUES 4.1.Salmond anger at grid 'tax' on green power In a robust attack on the regulatory system, Alex Salmond hit out at what has been labelled as a "tax on geography" and a threat to an industry which could create 30,000 jobs in Scotland 

4.2.Power companies 'fail on climate' The major UK power companies are still failing to meet the challenge of climate change, wildlife charity WWF has claimed 

4.3.Lost In Transmission - the role of Ofgem Energy market regulation in the UK needs to be overhauled to meet the challenges of carbon reduction and renewables targets, according to the Sustainable Development Commission 

4.4.Beauly-Denny line 

A Scottish Parliament debate is to hear that concerns over controversial plans for a 137-mile (220km) power line are going unheard

The Highlands planning chief has called for a summit involving all participants in the Beauly-Denny pylon hearing to thrash out ways of improving the efficiency and fairness of future public inquiries 

A Scottish Government minister has called for the inquiry into the Beauly to Denny power line upgrade to accept new data on potential health risks 

4.5.ENA's regular newsletter 

7.2.Approval for Orkney wave farm Plans for the biggest wave energy project in the world - ScottishPower has been granted planning permission by Scottish ministers for the wave farm in the seas off Orkney 

12.2.World's largest solar plant Avanzalia Solar launched the world's largest solar power plant. It consists of 70,000 modules and produces 13.8MW of energy to be increased to 25 MW 

***** *****

APPENDIX C News from Canada on the proposed 500 kV Edmonton-Calgary line.  EDMONTON - The Energy and Utilities Board has scrapped its scandal- plagued hearings into the proposed 500-kilovolt power transmission line between Edmonton and Calgary.

In the surprise announcement today, board chairman William Tilleman stated: "This EUB decision is the equivalent of a mistrial. Albertans must be confident that this board acts fairly, responsibly and in the public interest.

"Mistakes have been made on this file, and I believe the only way to re- establish public confidence is to go back to square one on this process."

The EUB has been rocked by controversy following revelations that it hired private investigators to spy on landowners opposing the power line.

Tilleman was appointed EUB chairman in September, as a result of the scandal. Under his direction it has already scrapped the two-person security unit that hired the private investigators.

The board isn't just cancelling the hearings, it's setting aside a decision it made last year that the transmission line was needed. When new applications for the line are filed, a public hearing will be held and a new EUB panel will decide whether the line is needed, the press release says.

The hearings into the proposal to construct and operate the power line were held between March and August this year.

Alberta's privacy commissioner and a former judge have criticized the spying in separate reports. The EUB hired plainclothes investigators to monitor concerned citizens at regulatory hearings this spring in Rimbey and Redwater. One investigator also listened in on a landowners' conference call.

The Liberals released documents recently that show the government agency spent $22,879 for undercover security at the hearings.

Landowners opposed to the Calgary-to-Edmonton power line had planned to ask a judge to quash the EUB's hearing at Rimbey, arguing that its spying activities suggest a bias against them.

EUB employees were grabbed and pushed at one of the central Alberta power-line hearings, which led the board to hire undercover staff to gauge the landowners' potential for more violence.

(c) Edmonton Journal 2007

***** *****

APPENDIX D List of FAQ questions (answers will be posted on the web site)

1. What is Revolt's position on .... ?

2. Can you help on masts, wind farms, electro-sensitivity and so on?

3. What can I do about a proposed powerline development near my home?

4. Will it do any good contacting the electricity company proposing a line?

5. What are the key stages and timescale for objectors to a powerline proposal?

6. What are allowable grounds for objection to a powerline proposal?

7. What chance is there of succeeding with objections to a powerline proposal?

8. What chance is there of getting a (proposed or existing) powerline buried?

9. What is a safe distance from powerlines?

10. Do we have to have these pylons / powerlines / poles / substation on our land?

11. Is the powerline / substation near me one I should worry about?

12. How can I find out the electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) in my home and from the powerline or substation near me?

13. How can I make my home safe from EMFs?

***** *****

-- Mike O'Carroll




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