REVOLT News 163

26/05/2005

Text Version 

1.  The off-shore wind farm proposed at Redcar is running into troubled
waters (Appendix 1). Like any single wind farm, it is small in its
generation capacity compared with conventional power stations. For
example the Redcar wind farm with 30 turbines would have a maximum
capacity up to 60 MW, of which only about a third would on average be
delivered, whereas the nearby gas-fired "Enron" Teesside Power Station
has 1840 MW capacity. That wind farm alone would not have much impact on
the transmission grid, but the accumulation of many windfarms further
north would.
2.  The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) has issued a
report calling for the UK to concentrate more on biofuels and CHP in its
renewables strategy. (Appendix 2)
3.  Betjeman's poem, "Bestride your hills in pylons / O age without a
soul", reports Angela Kelly of Country Guardian, has been posted on
www.wind-farm.org. This is very timely as 20th May is the twentieth
anniversary of the former Poet Laureate's death when members of the John
Betjeman Society will be gathering in the South West to celebrate the
Poet's life.
4.  From teletext 21.5.04: Richard Spring MP (Con.) opened the second
reading debate on the Town & Country Planning (Telecommunications Masts)
Bill, by calling for tighter controls because of health fears. He
dismissed suggestions that concerns were an "outbreak of mass hysteria".
5.  In a further reply (news162.5) to Anne McIntosh (Shadow Minister for
Transport and the Environment), the Minister for Energy Stephen Timms
says the bulk of grid development in England and Wales (resulting from
wind power) will use existing towers. He did not give the number of new
pylons, saying that will only be known when final engineering designs
are complete, just prior to the applications. Surely he could estimate
on the basis of new line-kilometres needed?
6. The cost of grid development (about which Minister Stephen Timms is
being shy, above, about the number of new pylons) was estimated last
year by Ofgem as 2 billion pounds (with a later estimate of half a
billion: news161.4), raised to 2.1 billion in a reply from Stephen Timms
(news162.5) and to 3 billion in a report from DTI (news162.3). Already
we hear of major new pylon routes in Scotland (news160.7). Whichever
estimate you believe, the billions of pounds' worth of grid development
will surely mean many new pylons throughout the UK. Can we not have a
broad plan setting out the overall scheme and an estimated number?
7.  Professor Ross Adey, leading researcher and authority on EMFs and
public health, died 20.5.04. As chairman of the NRCP (the US parallel to
the NRPB) working group, he produced a radical report in the 1990s which
NCRP still refuses to release, though its conclusions and
recommendations were leaked and call for a 0.2 microTesla exposure limit
for new developments. See Appendix 3 and <www.microwavenews.com>.
8. New research (Ritz et al, Nature vol. 429, 13.5.04) <www.nature.com>
on robins suggests that varying magnetic fields affect the orientation
of birds through a chemical effect rather than direct magnetic
detection. This appears to demonstrate a mechanism whereby artificial
EMFs, apart from affecting migrating birds, may be capable of previously
unconsidered biological effects through chemical change. The impact of
this is yet again to challenge the established denial of plausible
mechanisms. A report from the University of California, Irvine, web site
is at Appendix 4.  
<http://www.today.uci.edu/news/release_detail.asp?key=1151>
9. Remember the bogalanche? (news156.1, 158.6 etc.)  After the half a
million ton peat slide caused by wind farm works in County Galway, the
project was reported by news@all-energy (item 5.3 of issue 37, see
revolt news162 Appendix 3) as going ahead again, but Martin Collins
sends an update (Appendix 5) suggesting a sticky legal wicket.
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APPENDIX 1.   Article from THE  NORTHERN ECHO 11.5.04
Windfarm opponents are backed
CAMPAIGNERS opposing plans to build a windfarm off the North-East coast
have received
support from MPs and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
EDF Energy wants to build a windfarm half a mile off Coatham Sands,
Redcar, east Cleveland,
with 30 turbines capable of generating enough energy to power 72,000
homes.
Opponents to the proposal, which is being considered by planning
officers at the Department of
Trade and Industry, are being backed by four MPs.
The TUC has also lent its support for the campaign and is calling for
the Department of Trade
and Industry to reject the proposal.
Regional secretary Kevin Rowan said: "The proposal to develop the
Northern Offshore Wind
Farm off the coast of Redcar will create more environmental problems
than it will solve. There
is clear evidence that the majority of the local population oppose this
proposal, fearing the
damage it will do to tourism, the environment and local industries."
As the consultation process on the development continues, MP Ashok
Kumar, for
Middlesbrough South and east Cleveland, Stockton South MP Dari Taylor,
and Stockton North
MP Frank Cook, have joined Redcar MP Vera Baird to call for a rethink
over the plans.
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APPENDIX 2.  RCEP report
www.edie.net <http://www.edie.net>    14.05.2004 
UK should make more use of biomass to meet emissions reductions targets 
A report by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) has
said the
Government should make better use of biomass as a CHP fuel to meet its
Kyoto targets. Farm
and forestry waste, as well as 'energy crops' should be grown to provide
heat and power, the
report says. 
Biomass is largely carbon neutral, the report says, as the plants grown
for fuel absorb CO2 as
they grow. It could also transform the face of the countryside as the
report recommends
planting as much as seven million, of the 17 million hectares of
agricultural land available in the
UK, with biomass crops such as willow and poplar. Biomass can also make
use of farm waste
products such as straw. 
The Royal Commission claims that biomass has a natural advantage over
most other forms of
renewable energy in that it can be stored and used on demand. It is also
inherently flexible,
says the report, and can be used in small, localised scales for
producing heat, or in much
larger base-load power generation capacity whilst also producing heat,
in CHP plants. 
The report criticises Government policy for focusing capital grants
schemes for biomass
initiatives on high-tech approaches to electricity generation with a
view to export development,
rather than on reliable, proven technology. 
"We think the UK should focus on low-tech solutions with technology that
is known to work, as
they do in Europe," Rhian Enright, Policy Analyst at the RCEP told edie.
"Concentrating funds
only on new technology and demonstration plants restricts the sector and
only leads to
failures." 
Ms Enright highlighted the example of the Project ARBRE (Arable Biomass
Renewable
Energy) plant in Yorkshire. This used brand new technology and focused
on producing only
electricity rather than combined heat and power, and was crucially too
far from potential users
to be effective. 
She told edie that biomass CHP plants would be better on smaller, local
scales, for housing
projects and public buildings such as hospitals, and could easily serve
as an integral part of
John Prescott's "sustainable communities" programme. In this way they
could meet local
needs using local materials, benefiting both suppliers and users. 
The RCEP report calls for biomass fired CHP in all new-build
development; a new renewable
heat obligation that would encourage the use of renewable energy to
generate heat as well as
electricity; and the formation of a new government/industry biomass
forum. 
Speaking at the launch of the RCEP report, Commission Chair Tom
Blundell, said: "The use of
biomass has benefits not only for climate change but also offers new
opportunities for UK
agriculture and forestry and increases the security of the UK's energy
supply. Government
policies so far have failed to integrate the supply chain and support
viable technologies. I am
disappointed that energy from biomass has not developed as quickly in
the UK as elsewhere in
Europe." 
Friends of the Earth climate campaigner, Bryony Worthington said: "This
Government is failing
to promote the use of renewable biomass, has watered down plans to put
carbon dioxide
pollution caps on industry, is allowing road traffic to rise, and rubber
stamped plans for a
massive expansion in air travel. Little wonder that carbon dioxide
levels grew last year. Its time
the Government took this issue seriously and introduced effective
measures across the board
before it is too late." 
By David Hopkins 
(c) Faversham House Group Ltd 2004. edie news articles may be copied or
forwarded for
individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted
without prior written
consent.
*************************************************************
APPENDIX 3  Ross Adey died 20 May 2004.
 
W. Ross Adey died on May 20th at the age of 82 after a long battle
against a
series of bronchial infections. Adey, a medical doctor, was a towering
figure in the EMF community, who was equally at ease talking about the
most
recent papers in the biological and medical literature or dissecting the
arcane engineering details of an experimental setup. He is perhaps best
known for discovering, with Suzanne Bawin, the first non-thermal effect
of
electromagnetic radiation during the 1970s: They showed how ELF-
modulated
RF signals can lead to the release of calcium ions from cells. While at
the
Brain Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles,
he
worked with the Department of Defense on Project Pandora, the super-
secret
program that sought a way to use electromagnetic radiation for mind
control.
In the late 1970s, Adey set up a new lab at the VA Hospital in Loma
Linda,
CA, where he carried out studies on the role of power frequency EMFs in
the
promotion of cancer and later, on the potential cancer risks following
exposure to cell phone radiation. As the chair of a committee of the
National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP)
investigating ELF health effects, Adey made waves by recommending strong
action to curb public exposures. He endorsed a 2 mG exposure standard
for
50/60 Hz EMFs (see MWN, J/A95). This was too radical for the NCRP
leadership
and today, close to ten years later, the council continues to refuse to
release his report. Adey prompted another stir when his studies of long-
term
exposure to cell phone radiation pointed to what appeared to be a
protective
effect -that is, exposed mice developed fewer tumors (see MWN, M/J96,
J/A96
and S/O99). Motorola, which paid for Adey's experiments, repudiated this
finding and soon afterwards stopped supporting his lab. It closed down a
short time later. In an interview with Fortune magazine in October 2000,
Adey urged that research continue: "There is a big task ahead to define
what
the lowest level of safe exposure could be," he said, predicting that,
"Wherever we go we will be immersed in a sea of low-level pulsed
microwave
signals." A memorial service will be held in a few weeks in the Los
Angeles
area.
******************************************************
APPENDIX 4   EMFs and chemistry of migrating birds (University of
California, Irvine)
Chemical reaction in birds provides sense of direction during migratory
flights 
Study could help identify mechanism of magnetoreception in animals and
humans 
Irvine, Calif. , May 12, 2004 
Migrating birds stay on track because of chemical reactions in their
bodies that are influenced by the Earth's magnetic field, a UC Irvine-
led team of researchers has found.
The birds are sensitive even to rapidly fluctuating artificial magnetic
fields. These fields had no effect on magnetic materials such as
magnetite, indicating that the birds do not rely on simple chunks of
magnetic material in their beaks or brains to determine direction, as
experts had previously suggested.
The results are reported in the May 13 issue of Nature. The study is the
first to reveal the mechanism underlying magnetoreception - the ability
to detect fluctuations in magnetic fields - in migratory birds.
In the study, Thorsten Ritz, assistant professor of physics and
astronomy, and colleagues exposed 12 European robins to artificial,
oscillating magnetic fields and monitored the orientation chosen by
these birds. The stimuli were specially designed to allow for responses
that could differ depending on whether birds used small magnetic
particles on their bodies or a magnetically sensitive photochemical
reaction to detect the magnetic field.
"We found that the birds faced in the usual direction for their
migration when the artificial field was parallel to the Earth's natural
magnetic field, but were confused when the artificial field was applied
in a different direction," said Ritz, the lead author of the paper.
"Since the artificial field's oscillations were too rapid to influence
magnetic materials like magnetite, it suggests that the most likely
mechanism for magnetic orientation in these birds involves tiny changes
to magnetically sensitive chemical reactions, possibly occurring in the
eyes of the birds - we are not sure."
In the experiments, the robins could walk and flutter in their cages but
could not fly. The birds oriented well in the Earth's magnetic field
alone, but were disoriented in the presence of a broad-band (0.1-10
megahertz) and 7 megahertz oscillating field, aligned at a 24 or 48
degree angle to the Earth's magnetic field. When the same 7 megahertz
oscillating field was aligned parallel to the Earth's magnetic field,
the robins showed normal migratory orientation again.
"Unlike our senses involving vision, hearing, smell and touch, we do not
know what receptors underlie magnetoreception," Ritz said. "Migratory
birds have long been known to possess a magnetic compass that helps them
find the correct direction during their migratory flights. It has
remained unknown, however, how birds can detect the direction of the
Earth's magnetic field.
"Now, our study points to what we need to look for a molecular substrate
for certain chemical reactions. That is, we can rule out magnetic
materials in birds' beaks and elsewhere as being possible candidates.
Magnetite in the beaks, however, may play a role in detecting the
strength but not the direction of the Earth's magnetic field."
The experiments on the birds were conducted in a six-week period in 2003
in Frankfurt, Germany, in the laboratory of Wolfgang and Roswitha
Wiltschko, co-authors of the paper, who developed the behavioral
experimental setup used in the study for testing magnetic orientation in
birds. During migratory unrest, the birds could move in their cages.
Each cage was funnel-shaped, lined with coated paper and measured
approximately 1.5 feet in diameter. When the birds moved in the cages,
they left scratch marks that were counted subsequently by the
researchers and analyzed.
To produce artificial oscillating fields, the researchers fed high-
frequency currents from a signal generator into a coil that surrounded
four test cages. The coil, with a diameter of approximately two meters,
could be moved to change the alignment of the oscillating field. Each
bird was tested once a day during dusk for a period of approximately 75
minutes.
Besides the Wiltschkos of J. W. Goethe-Universitšt, Germany, Ritz was
joined in the study by John B. Phillips of Virginia Tech and Peter
Thalau of J. W. Goethe-Universitšt.
The research was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the
Fetzer Institute.
About the University of California, Irvine: The University of
California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to
research, scholarship and community. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the
fastest-growing University of California campuses, with approximately
24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,300 faculty
members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI
contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion.
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APPENDIX  5    Bogalanche update from Martin Collins  25.5.04
The latest on our situation is that the original
owners of the windfarm site Coillte (the state forestry company)
indicated that they intended to
start work "clearfelling" or deforesting 650 acres of trees which covers
the 850 acre site.  We
informed Coillte and Hibernian Wind Power that no work was to proceed on
the site until such
a time as we had an opportunity to view and independently assess the
work plans which were
based on the recommendations from the reports.  Also if we were forced
to get a Court
injunction to stop the work we would do so.  Recently it has come to our
attention that in
Ireland any area of deforestation over 70 hectares (172 acres) requires
a mandatory
Environmental Impact Assessment according to the EIA Directive 97/11/EC.
As far as we can
ascertain no such assessment was produced.  A Felling Licence is also
required.  This was
applied for and received by Coillte from the Forest Service.
 
We have handed over the case to our Solicitor and he is communicating
with all the relevant
parties on our behalf.  So at this stage it looks as if the Courts will
decide the final outcome. 
The Shannon Regional Fisheries Board recently confirmed that due to
substantial damage to
the Fishery they "have issued legal proceedings against Hibernian Wind
Power Ltd and
others".
************************************************************
-- Mike O'Carroll

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