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Revolt Newsletter 120


Text version

Revolt News 120   Text version

1. The merger of NG with Lattice/Transco was greeted by the Times business editorial comment of 23.4.02 "Few social occasions give more unalloyed pleasure than the wedding of two ugly people".

2. Energy Minister Brian Wilson is said to have a 20-year history of supporting disfiguring energy developments in the western highlands with links to the West Highland Free Press http://www.whfp.com/1564/frameset .html . Should he have declared an interest rather than campaign, as Minister, for huge windfarms on Lewis? He is said to have suggested that renewable generation would have avoided the pylons which now bring electricity to Skye, but of course windfarms are intermittent and require extra transmission for when they are on and when they are off, so they need more pylons not fewer. Self-sufficiency for power generation in the Hebrides would be good, but windfarms can't do it.

3. Angela Ovenston reports from Fuel Cell News May 2002.
(a) The world's first fuel cell/gas turbine hybrid power plant is now operating at the National Fuel Cell Research Center in Irvine, California. The system features a Siemens Westinghouse solid oxide fuel cell combined with an Ingersol Rand microturbine to produce approximately 190 kilowatts of electricity.
(b) Sulzer AG's Sulzer Hexis unit has contracts for the installation of 114 fuel cell systems in Germany and three German power companies have ordered systems.
(c) A new industry body, the Hydrogen Partnership, plans to make London a world leader in hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

4. Now here's a funny thing! If genuine it could do away with pylons and car exhaust fumes too. A new source of free energy is claimed in a reported US Patent # 6,362,718 of 26.3.02. It claims to tap into ubiquitous longitudinal (as distinct from the more familiar transverse) e-m waves which permeate free space. They call it "scalar energy". The patented device uses magnets and a vacuum but no moving parts, and should provide free energy with no fuel, no exhaust and little maintenance almost indefinitely! Called the Motionless Electromagnetic Generator (MEG), a 2.5kW unit is to be in production in about a year. Perhaps this is another in a long line of energy spoofs, but it is reported to have been granted a US patent so perhaps it is serious. Thanks to Hans Karow in Canada for passing this on. For more, see http://jnaudin.free.fr/html/meg.htm

5. There appears to be an attempt by NG to escape the nature conservancy conditions placed on their works. Conditions in NCIs (Areas of Nature Conservancy Interest) restrict working to the months of May to September, but we hear of attempts to renew permissions so as to allow work to continue through to the end of March next year. We are investigating.

6. Some landowners have been approached by a new NG Wayleave Officer, Mike Hudson from Middlesbrough, who is said to have taken over from Harold Carter.

7. Following the government's (PIU) Energy Review (see news115.8 etc), published in February, and following the meeting of Revolt members with Energy Minister Brian Wilson arranged by Anne McIntosh MP, a government consultation on energy policy has now been launched primarily by e-mail. Copies can be found on DTI's web site at http://www.dti.gov.uk/industries_energy.html 
Hard copies will also be available from Angie Parkinson, Department of Trade and Industry, Room 1105, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET. The response date is 13 September, and a White Paper is expected to follow around the turn of the year.

8. The last few weeks have seen complaints and conflicts over road works for NG at Kirby Sigston and at Welbury, with reported examples of lorries proceeding and turning beyond the agreed routes, claims and counter-claims of abusive behaviour, boxing in a milk tanker, holding up a school bus at length, and preventing access for a doctor. It is one thing for residents to complain about unreasonable disruption, and another for professional highway workers to respond with abuse. The road works in these areas are practically complete. The next stage will be building road accesses, that is the verge crossings with their large aprons on to the road. This stage involves working on private land, and is classed by NG as part of the construction phase. NG intend to proceed with this work in Kirby Sigston in June.

9. The Gills of Station Farm, Alne, report they have withdrawn the draconian undertakings (news119.8) required by NG under threat of expensive legal action. After various difficulties with contractors, the Gills say NG have broken their side of the understanding. In a letter of 22.5.02 from wayleave officer Ron Gilmour, NG has apologised for some of the problems (credit to Ron Gilmour for that), but still it has not moved from its bullying position with legal threats, demonstrably false allegations and draconian demands.

10. A key issue at the Gills' farm is biosecurity. NG's arrangements have been deficient. They seem to have blithely carried on without any biosecurity arrangements. That may be the case along much of the line. A Balfour Beatty contract worker had failed to lock a farm gate as required, to the Gills' field which is used for cattle, and discarded orange peel was found there. DEFRA confirmed to the Gills that
(a) gates must be kept locked,
(b) personnel must disinfect on entering and on leaving fields used for animals, (c) no food or mobile phones should be taken into such fields,
(d) working areas are to be double-fenced.

NG are now seeking to make such arrangements, but the Gills say they have failed to do so up to now and, further, are working in neighbouring sheep fields without biosecurity. This is a serious and potentially very damaging matter, in connection with which NG is understood to be in contact with DEFRA and has provided a statement from Miller Insurance Group Ltd confirming its General and Professional Liability cover to 5 million pounds.

11. NG has applied for planning permission from Stockton BC for a temporary access road (entrance E59, off A67 Yarm to Picton road). Objections should be made by 12 June. Revolt does not object in principle to the Lackenby - Picton line and therefore does not vet access applications in this area.

12. Following the incident at Alne on 13.2.02 (news114) NG's lawyers wrote 14.3.02 to the Gills making demonstrably false allegations. Referring to a video recording of a BBC broadcast, they say the video "shows the following:-" after which there are five bullet points. The fifth bullet point says: "Professor O'Carroll, with your approval, stood over the peg hole from which Mr J. B. Gill had removed the above peg, so that it could not be replaced, thereby preventing the continuation of the intended work." Knowing that this was false, I asked for a copy of the video and duly received one from NG. The video shows no such thing. The only shot of the ground shown in the video was of the peg being removed (to which I was not a party). After that (and there would be no peg hole before it) there were head-and-shoulders shots of people (not me) talking. I caught a glimpse of my shoulder as the camera followed Guy Bradbury (NG) as he turned away, but there was no other shot of me and no shot at all of the peg hole or the ground or feet nearby. I emailed both NG and their lawyers on 7.4.02 to seek a retraction, and again on 15.5.02 after speaking with their project manager. Neither NG nor its lawyers have made any response or retraction on these false allegations which were made in writing on 14.3.02. Coupled with NG's pending threat of legal action against me personally, this is another example of bullying, based on falsehood coupled with financial power. Rest assured, I shall not be intimidated!

Mike O'Carroll