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Revolt Newsletter 116


Text version

Revolt News 116   Text version

1. Although NGC claim (without giving evidence) that the overwhelming majority of landowners have reached agreement with them, the evidence suggests otherwise. In the message appended below evidence shows that most of the landowners who have not previously agreed permanent easements, but are subject to the compulsory wayleaves, have not agreed access arrangements.

2. A landowner from Tholthorpe, Charles Henley, reports that ADAS has advised NGC contractors to dig trenches on his land to drain away standing water into the subsoil, without the landowner's agreement. This looks like another devious attempt to side-step the dry weather condition. They were to start work on Saturday 23.2.02 but when Charles challenged NGC they backed off and entered negotiations. Another example of NGC's presumptuous approach to unwritten agreements!

3. In a letter to the Gills after NGC's aborted entry on 13.2.02, NGC's Charles Waite says that as questions of compensation ultimately have recourse to arbitration through the Lands Tribunal, it is not a reason for delaying or preventing works from proceeding. Landowners however feel that the Lands Tribunal only deals with agricultural matters and does not adequately deal with the effects of NGC's works, use of farm accesses or with property devaluation, and certainly not in the context of a privatised company pursuing its commercial interest.

4. The Daily Telegraph 15.2.02 gives a scathing "city comment" on the PIU Energy Review as "well-meant tosh" and "forming no coherent basis for en Energy White Paper".

5. The telecomms firm Energis, 30% owned by NGC, has almost completely collapsed. Its shares, once 800p, have fallen to 3p (Ceefax 23.2.02).

6. The Sunday Times 24.2.02 suggests that, as US predators have backed off after Sept 11th, German giants with protected home markets are picking off UK utilities. English electricity generation was privatised mainly into two companies, Powergen and National Power, back in 1995. They were required to "divest" themselves of some capacity. Then in 2000, National Power split into Innogy (for the domestic market) and International Power. Germany's biggest energy group, Eon, bought Powergen last year. Now another German giant, RWE, is bidding for Innogy.

7. Anne McIntosh MP has arranged a meeting 14.3.02 with the Energy Minister Brian Wilson in Westminster for a small group of constituents to discuss matters related to the Yorkshire line and related health matters. Professor Denis Henshaw and I will also attend.

8. Prof Henshaw reports he has been approached in connection with the appearance of a member of NRPB Scotland on behalf of Scottish Power to reassure her that powerlines near her home were safe. From what I have seen of the correspondence the advice given by the NRPB member shows an alarming level of ignorance of the facts, and misrepresents the scientific position to the advantage of Scottish Power. Prof Henshaw is taking the matter up with NRPB.

9. The Archbishop of York has confirmed his opposition to the pylons through the Vale of York, the highest of which will be a tad higher than York Minster, though we don't think that is the reason. People have asked questions about agreements to pylons on Church Commission land and the Archbishop is looking into this.

10. Fuel cell news selected by Angela Ovenston: 
(a) Fuel Cell Technologies Ltd. (FCT) has been awarded a contract to supply and install three solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power systems in a progressive residential development project in Stockholm, Sweden. FCT's installation will be part of a new residential district in Stockholm where the plan is to have up to 8,000 housing units, largely powered by renewable energies, including FCT's power systems fuelled by biogas. FCT also has signed a letter of understanding with Border States Electric Supply (BSE) to promote and distribute FCT's five-kilowatt (kW) SOFCs to customers in 15 U.S. states. FCT said its five-kW SOFC will be able to provide a mid-sized home with electricity, hot water and heat. Under the agreement, BSE will market, sell and distribute only FCT's product line of one- to 50-kW SOFCs. <http://www.fct.ca/31_01_02.html> <http://www.fct.ca/20_02_02.html

b) Petrobras, Brazil's oil, gas and energy company, will install a UTC PC25TM fuel cell power plant at its research and development center (CENPES) in Rio de Janeiro. The unit, which produces 200 kilowatts of electricity and 900,000 Btus per hour of useful heat, will provide assured power for the CENPES facility. <http://www.utcfuelcells.com/news/archive/021102.shtml>
(c) Synergy Technologies Corp. has successfully reformed each of the five major fossil fuels (natural gas, propane, gasoline, diesel and toluene) into the free hydrogen and other feeds commonly utilized as fuel for most types of fuel cells. Most significantly, the company obtained these results while achieving two industry milestones - eliminating the production of soot traditionally associated with heavy fossil fuels reforming, and reducing the power consumption of the reformer system to less than 5 percent. <http://www.synergytechnologies.com/docs/oilsfuelcell_2002_02_15.htm>

11. A pylon is under construction near Thirsk, beside the A19 where the flyover crosses the Dalton road out of Sowerby. There have been suspicions that some contractors' vehicles have tried to use the narrow and weak Blakey Bridge in Sowerby which they shouldn't.

12. A meeting of three Revolt members with North Yorks Police 5.3.02 discussed the access issue. Disputes on private land where there is a compulsory wayleave will continue to be treated as a civil matter and the police will not intervene, except if necessary to keep the peace. Police officers have been instructed to keep a written record of any incidents they attend, as they may be called as witnesses for either side at a civil court hearing if and when NGC seek an injunction. The police are there for the protection of the landowners just as much as for NGC. In the event of NGC having an injunction, it will be for the Under-Sheriff to enforce, not the police.

APPENDIX 1 Numbers of landowners who have not agreed access arrangements with NGC.

Landowners fall in the following potential categories (in each case the agreement may either be direct or through an agent):

(a) those who agreed permanent easements before an application for compulsory powers or before a wayleave hearing;
(b) those who agreed a permanent easement after a compulsory wayleave had been granted (the compulsory wayleave then ceases to apply);
(c) those subject to compulsory wayleaves who have agreed access arrangements in writing (possibly none are in this category);
(d) those subject to compulsory wayleaves who have agreed access arrangements verbally (this is open to great doubt);
(e) those subject to compulsory wayleaves who have not agreed access arrangements.

Revolt is concerned with the Picton - Shipton line, where the DTI decision letter of 26.3.98 listed 72 applications for compulsory wayleaves (66 granted, 6 refused). Since then all the outstanding wayleaves have been granted, but two at Rounton Gates failed the 100 metres planning condition and await the (now imminent) decision on NGC's amended applications. So, 72 cases fall into categories (b) to (e) while there were only a handful in (a). Certainly NGC has acquired more in category (b) since 1998, but most cases remain in (c) to (e).

NGC assure us that they are still eager to negotiate with landowners to get easements. However their approach to access is that they say they don't need the landowner's agreement and they don't make such agreements in writing. Probably none are in (c). NGC claim the overwhelming majority of landowners have reached agreement. They must think that many are in (d) and very few in (e). The evidence suggests the opposite. By relying on verbal agreements NGC are open to misunderstanding. They seem to use the uncertainty to push their way on to the land against the


Mike O'Carroll