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Revolt News 126

24/09/2002

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Revolt News 126

This news is a short, quick report of today's events at Home Farm, Tollerton Rd, Huby Burn, Huby. Where Mrs Rosalind Craven with good reason refused to grant access to NG to her land.

She had raised questions in writing at length with NG which they have ignored or side-stepped. In particular she raises deep questions about constitutional rights and the abuse of power.

NG had stated their intention to enter her land in any case at a time from 9.00 to 9.30 a.m. this morning. They arrived in force at 9.30, with a survey team from Balfour Beatty and Project Manager David Mercer from the NG Leeds office and company solicitor Angela Quinn from the NG head office in Coventry. All were kitted out in fluorescent jackets and hard hats, creating quite a presence as they advanced along the road to the gateway in question.

Earlier about a dozen media reporters had assembled to speak to Rosalind and to film the events. Rosalind was supported by about a dozen neighbours, mostly ladies. In addition, Mike Barr and I had answered her request to be there, and Revolt webmaster Rik Royall was there to take pictures (which are on revolt.co.uk).

NG were on their best behaviour, very different from occasions when their physically large and forceful wayleave officers led the charge. So it was a civilised event, notwithstanding the intimidating presence of such a uniformed group. What chance would Rosalind have had on her own?

David Mercer spoke for NG, pointing out that they had brought their own camcorder and would let Mrs Craven have a copy of the tape. He asserted the company's rights, as claimed, and Rosalind replied by reading out a 3-page statement setting out why they did not have those rights. I said that NG were bound by the reasonableness condition yet they were not being reasonable in failing to address the interesting points raised in Rosalind's letters. They had simply given a bland reply saying it made no difference.

David Mercer said the company had dealt with Mrs Craven for over two years and now needed to take access to her land. He suggested the points had been gone over before, but that isn't so. The points on constitutional rights are new, deep and interesting, and deserve a proper, considered reply, in writing to Mrs Craven. Until she gets that, she would seem to be acting reasonably in refusing entry, because if she is right then NG would not be entitled to entry, and perhaps the Electricity Act itself is fundamentally flawed in respect of constitutional rights.

The gathering was brought to an end after David Mercer asked Mrs Craven if she would ask the assembled people to stand aside so their survey team could enter the land. Mrs Craven said she would not, just as she had written to state her refusal, and that should not be construed as obstruction. NG then withdrew saying they may take the issue to court.

Post script: Although the police were requested to attend by Mrs Craven for her protection under intimidation, and although the police attended elsewhere at NG's request and have said they would equally attend at a landowner's request, it is disappointing that they did not do so. We do not yet know why. 

The incident featured on Look North and a report appears on the BBC website at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/england/2278088.stm 

-- Mike O'Carroll

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