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Revolt Newsletter 121

24/06/2002

Text version


Revolt News 121   Text version

1. Energy Minister Brian Wilson is criticised by anti-windfarm group Country Guardian for vetoing a public inquiry on the huge Cefn Croes project to put Europe's largest windfarm in mid Wales. ( http://www.cefncroes.org.uk ) Brian Wilson is reported as saying: "If we are serious about renewables, and wind power in particular, then we have to get some of these projects going and having Public Inquiries about every one of them serves simply to delay development of renewables" (BBC 2, Dragon's Eye, 24 January 2002). The project was backed by Enron. Patricia Hewitt, now Trade Secretary, was head of research for Andersen Consulting from 1994-97 (Enron-linked) and has made the final decision.

2. NYCC announced 24.5.02 temporary prohibition orders applying from 10.6.02 to 9.12.02 for NG to stop pedestrians using footpaths in West Rounton, Welbury, East Harlsey, West Harlsey, Kirby Sigston, Sowerby under Cotcliffe, Thirsk, Sowerby, Sessay, Easingwold and Huby parishes. Closures are expected to be for up to 7 days and with diversions available, though this is subject to NG health & safety requirements.

3. The Gills of Station Farm, Alne, continue in dispute with NG over bio-security requirements. They say they have withdrawn the draconian undertakings which NG extracted from them under pressure, as NG has not behaved reasonably. They are engaging the NFU solicitors, Jacksons.

4. An interesting article by Robinson and Hutchinson (JPL, November 2001, 1247-1259) highlights differences in compulsory power legislation for the various privatised utilities. Wayleave powers for pylons are unusually strong in binding successors in title. The powers should be there more as a backdrop for negotiation and rarely invoked directly. With telecoms, compulsion is a last resort, but with water it seems to be the norm. Also there is no allowance for appeal with water, whereas there is with electricity. The article draws on the Final Report of CPPRAG (the government's Compulsory Purchase Policy Review Advisory Group) of July 2000. The DTLR proposals Compulsory Purchase and Compensation, part of the 2001 planning green paper package, aims "to replace the current plethora of, sometimes conflicting, case law" by a unified principles-based system, including unified inquiry rules. We await the white paper at the end of this year. See also news118.

5. There has been further delay at Kirby Sigston. Work was to have started in June on the accesses, but this is deferred to July. There are problems over faulty highways work causing flooding and over NG's unwillingness to give indemnity over health risks. If, as they maintain, the lines are safe, why cannot they give indemnity? Landowners at Kirby Sigston are insisting they won't sign an agreement, and if NG take entry it is without their agreement. This preserves the landowners' position if anything goes wrong, such as health effects.

6. Darlington & Stockton Times 14.6.02 carried a report that the Rountons wayleaves had finally been granted. The affected landowners have not been informed directly, but had to read it in the papers! The hearings were 29.11.01 and the result was expected Jan/Feb. In his report (dated 5.4.02) Inspector Butler declines to comment on the generic evidence on need and health, regarding that as outside his brief, as he said at the hearings. He did however, "in the interests of natural justice", hear generic evidence which objectors claimed was new, and he did "respectfully request the Secretary of State to note" the generic evidence on need and on health, and "to decide what weight, if any, to give it before she reaches her final decisions".

7. Snippets from Microwave News May/June 2002:
(a) Dr Paul Villeneuve of University of Ottawa reports [I.J.Epidemiology 31, 210-217, 2002] up to 12 times higher odds of grade III and IV astrocymas (aggressive types of brain tumours) among Canadian men exposed at work to average magnetic fields of 0.6 microTesla, a statistically significant result.
(b) Dr Franz Adlkofer of the Verum Foundation in Munich reported [COST281 meeting, Rome, May 2002; http://www.cost281.org ] interim results showing a genotoxic effect of ELF EMF on primary cell cultures of human fibroblasts at exposures of 70 microTesla (uT). While this is higher than powerline fields (NG's figures state a maximum of 40 uT directly under 400 kV lines), it does show that there are such effects at the low frequency of powerlines, contrary to NRPB advice.
(c) A Minnesota judge ordered the town of Sunfish Lake to approve Xcel Energy's planned upgrade of a 115 kV power line. See news119.5. The local campaign group is to appeal.

8. NG's AGM is to be held 23 July in Birmingham, together with an EGM to approve the merger with Lattice Group to form National Grid Transco. National Grid's Annual Review 2001/02 has the nerve to claim "we take a pro-active approach to the management of both existing and future environmental risks"! Our experience of NG is the opposite, with their wilful dismissal of the health risks of power lines, hiding behind the NRPB which has failed to address the question of precaution in the face of increasing evidence of risk.

Mike O'Carroll