REVOLT News 164

27.6.04/

Revolt news164 of 27.6.04 
1. Guardian article suggests government officials hiding true
environmental pollution (Appendix 1).
2.  The House of Lords debate 15.6.04 on windfarms (Appendix 2) had the
government spokesman Lord Sainsbury making a gross mathematical error
while claiming a simple mathematical argument. He said "A little
mathematics applied to that will tell us that if it provides 20 per cent
of the generating capacity it will deal with 20 per cent of the
generating capacity problem".  Not so! As often is the case the
mathematics depends on definitions. The generating capacity problem is
about the capacity available at any time. Wind power is not available at
any time, only when the wind is blowing, and therefore contributes zero
to the generating capacity problem. No wonder Lord Sainsbury finds that
the State of the Nation 2004 report produced by the Institution of Civil
Engineers is "out of line" with the government, or should that be the
other way round, a matter of spin perhaps?
3.  Snips from news@all-energy of June 04 are at Appendix 3. Former
energy minister Brian Wilson says "the real debate could be between
imports and indigenous". About time! Now he needs to translate that to
apply to regions and regional balance of generation and demand.
4.  A human rights claim to the European Court regarding a windfarm, and
a further claim to the English High Court, reported in the Western
Morning News, may interest people whose homes are affected by
developments. (Appendix 4, forwarded by Country Guardian)
5.  The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution <www.rcep.org.uk>
has published a report into biomass as a renewable energy source. See
also news163.2 and its Appendix 2, which gives a third party article,
and Appendix 3 of this news (snips from news@all-energy). The RCEP
produced the influential report "Energy: the Changing Climate" in 2000
from which the government took its long term target of 60% reduction of
CO2 emissions by 2050. The new biomass report says the UK is
underdeveloped in this technology and calls for government steps largely
at the level of market controls and incentives. A key point is that
biomass is reliable and continuous, unlike wind, and can provide
efficient heat as well as electricity. To take just one paragraph from
the report's conclusions:
"5.15 Biomass energy should be considered positively in all new-build
and retrofit projects. The assumption should be in favour of biomass
energy in all projects; construction companies and councils should have
to justify any decision not to adopt this option."
6. There is increasing objection to the Beauly - Denny 400 kV line in
the Scottish Western Highlands. A local action group is called Highlands
Before Pylons. Revolt is putting enquirers in touch with each other. We
now hear that the undersea cable option has been rejected because of
cost. Brian Wilson when he was Energy Minister made great play, in
public announcements, of proposing an undersea cable from the Hebrides
through the Irish Sea to North Wales or Merseyside. If this has now been
rejected, the question should be asked whether it was a cynical and
dishonest ploy to promote wind farms in the Hebrides irresponsibly. Such
positive promotional statements as he made, together with such an early
rejction, just do not fit together and should be challenged.
*************************************************************
APPENDIX 1  Article from the Guardian Thursday May 27, 2004
Paul Brown - Environment correspondent
>
> http://politics.guardian.co.uk/green/story/0,9061,1225738,00.html
>
> Official figures showing sharp increases in gases responsible for
> climate change from air and freight transport were removed from the
> Office of National Statistics (ONS) report on the  environment last
> week after pressure from the Department for Transport.
>
> In a week when Tony Blair was insisting the issue of climate change
> was "very, very critical" and Margaret Beckett, the environment
> secretary, claimed the UK was a world leader in reducing emissions,
> official statistics would have shown an 85% increase in pollutants
> from the airline industry and 59% for freight transport since 1990.
>
> Instead, the announcement was withdrawn and another substituted which
> did not mention transport emissions at all.
>
> ONS officials were said to have been "livid" at the transport
> department's intervention. A footnote on all ONS releases says:
> "National Statistics are produced ... free from any political
> interference."
>
> The original unpublished release has been passed to the Guardian.
> Headlined "Rise in greenhouse gas emissions from transport", it says
> that while overall emissions dropped 10% between 1990 and 2002, the
> increase from the transport sector as a whole was 50%.
>
> The largest increase of 85% was from air transport, and even this
> figure would have risen to over 100% but for the slump in air travel
> as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Centre, the report said.
> The road freight industry has also increased emissions by 59%,
> according to the statistics.
>
> Both sets of figures reveal the government's most vulnerable areas on
> climate change policy. It is being heavily criticised by environment
> groups for its proposed building of new runways, expansion of regional
> airports and failure to shift sufficient freight onto the railways.
>
> The draft of the report containing the transport emissions figures
> were sent for comment to the Department for Environment, Food and
> Rural Affairs and the transport department. Senior officials at the
> environment department described the rapidly rising emissions "as
> somewhat sensitive" and prepared a briefing paper for ministers to
> field expected hostile questions by journalists. Officials at the
> Department for Transport actively attempted to stop publication of the
> release.
>
> Perry Francis, the statistician who compiled the figures at the ONS,
> said yesterday that transport department officials objected to the
> form in which the figures were presented. "I was told the Department
> for Transport did not think it was appropriate to publish them, they
> spoke to me several times, and in the end I withdraw the report and
> substituted another which did not mention transport at all."
>
> Mr Francis added: "I would not say I was subject to improper pressure.
> I just decided I would withdraw it."
>
> His new report published last Friday received no press coverage.
> However, he has placed the statistics on the ONS website "for the
> record."
>
> Yesterday the Department for Transport denied its intervention had
> been made for political reasons, and stressed there was no ministerial
> involvement. A spokesman said there had been differences between the
> way the department compiled its statistics, and the ONS methods.
> However, there was no suggestion that the ONS figures were inaccurate.
>
> Mr Blair, writing in this month's edition of the Parliamentary
> Monitor, said: "Climate change is probably, in the long term, the
> single most important issue we face as a global community - the issue
> is now very, very, critical indeed."
>
> Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, made a statement on May
> 18, two days before the proposed ONS report was withdrawn, that an
> attack by the Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, on the UK's
> climate change record was "absurd", adding: "Tony Blair is renowned
> and respected across the world for his leadership on international
> climate change."
*********************************************************
APPENDIX 2  House of Lords debate 15.6.04
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldhansrd/pdvn/lds04/te
xt/40615-01.htm#40615-01_star0
15 Jun 2004 : Column 617
House of Lords Tuesday, 15 June 2004.
The House met at half-past two of the clock: The
LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.
Prayers?Read by the Lord Bishop of Sheffield.
Baroness Falkner of Margravine
Kishwer Falkner, having been created Baroness Falkner of
Margravine, of Barons Court in the London Borough of
Hammersmith and Fulham, for life?Was, in her robes,
introduced between the Lord Wallace of Saltaire and the
Lord Dholakia, and made the solemn affirmation. 
Baroness Henig
Ruth Beatrice Henig, CBE, having been created Baroness
Henig, of Lancaster in the County of Lancashire, for
life?Was, in her robes, introduced between the Baroness
Farrington of Ribbleton and the Lord Goldsmith. 
Wind Power
2.49 p.m.
Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government: 
What their response is to the paper from the David Hume
Institute entitled Tilting at Windmills: the economics of wind
power. 
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State,
Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of
Turville): My Lords, the Tilting at Windmills report
questions whether wind energy justifies its role in the
Government's strategy. While the Government agree with
a few of its points, the report makes many inaccurate
statements; for example, that renewables are the
Government's key policy for reaching their target for
carbon reduction and that further investment in UK energy
is ruled out; and the exaggerated claim that wholesale
electricity prices will rise by 40 to 60 per cent over the
next five years as a result of reductions in carbon
emissions. It is not the Government who are tilting at
windmills but the author of the report. 
Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, I am grateful to my
noble friend for that response. Among other things with
which he may agree in Professor Simpson's report, does
he agree with his conclusion, which states: 
"Because of the cost of providing additional stand-by generating
capacity, it is unlikely that wind power will ever account for more
than 20% of electricity generation through the National Grid. That
being the case, its development can make no substantial
contribution to a reduction in carbon emissions from power
generation"? 
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I thought that that
was one of the more useless statements. A little 
15 Jun 2004 : Column 618
mathematics applied to that will tell us that if it provides 20
per cent of the generating capacity it will deal with 20 per
cent of the generating capacity problem. That is a
reasonable amount and worth doing. 
Lord Crickhowell: My Lords, bearing in mind the high cost
of this subsidised form of energy and the environmental
desecration to many of the most beautiful parts of the
British Isles, will the Minister respond positively to the
recommendation of the Government's Chief Scientific
Adviser, Sir David King, given to Sub-Committee D on 10
March that more money should be found for research and
that tidal and wave energy power could be a more
significant renewable source of energy than wind power
because wind power is intermittent and the moon rather
reliable? 
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, the situation is
not, as the author of this report implies, that we are
choosing wind power. Wind power has been chosen by the
industry because it thinks that it is the cheapest method of
achieving the renewables obligation. That is why it has
chosen wind. So, it is not in the Government's gift. 
As regards the comments of the Chief Scientific Adviser,
that is a question of timescale. What he says may be true
in the long term and it may be right that more money should
be spent on research. That matter will be considered as
part of the spending review, but as of now it is clear from
the industry's response that the most economic way to do
this is through wind power. 
Viscount Tenby: My Lords, has the Minister read the
report, as I am sure he must have done, that Denmark,
which for long has been at the forefront of wind farm
technology, has decided that the game is no longer worth
the candle?perhaps a slightly unfortunate metaphor in the
circumstances? Have her Majesty's Government any plans
to enter into discussion with our friends in Denmark to see
how we might benefit from their experience before too
much of our beautiful landscape becomes visually
impaired? I declare an interest as a Welshman. 
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I do not know
whether I can quote exact figures, but I think that the figure
in Demark is in the order of 20 to 30 per cent of power
from wind. That is a very substantial density for that small
country. That is why Denmark is now saying that it will
change direction and not significantly increase wind
farming. I doubt whether that has much implication for the
UK, where at this stage wind farms account for 2 or 3 per
cent at the most. 
Lord Tomlinson: My Lords, has my noble friend had the
opportunity to read The State of the Nation 2004 report
produced by the Institution of Civil Engineers and what it
says about the energy situation? It points out very clearly
that with the reduction in electricity generated by coal and
nuclear power, by the year 2010 
15 Jun 2004 : Column 619
the mix will be such that we have precious little time to
make up the energy gap from renewables. Is he happy with
that state of affairs, or is he going to rubbish that report in
the same way as he rubbished the one referred to by my
noble friend Lord Williams? 
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I did not rubbish
the report, I merely pointed out? 
Noble Lords: Oh! 
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, as the author of
the report suggested that the Government's policy was not
as ideal as he would like it to be, I simply pointed out that
he had made a few mistakes in his report. As far as
concerns the report of the Institution of Civil Engineers,
one has to compare its figures with those set out in the
energy White Paper. Noble Lords will see that they are
considerably out of line with what we think is the most
likely projection. 
Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I shall deal with
one or two items from the report. Does the Minister agree
that nuclear power causes no greenhouse gases, but that
at the same time, as a base-load generator, it contributes
well to the security of supply? Does he further agree and
accept that even considering decommissioning costs, a
matter which is in the report the noble Lord just mentioned,
nuclear power costs less overall than wind power and is
very much more secure because it does not depend on the
weather and the amount of wind at any one particular
time? 
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, of course nuclear
does not produce any greenhouse gases, but it has other
environmental impacts. I find it strange that in the report
there is a whole page which deals with the problems of
birds flying into wind turbines while the environmental
impact of nuclear power is dealt with in one line. We have
to be serious about this: there are serious environmental
issues associated with nuclear waste. We have to be able
to deal with those before we go any further. 
Nuclear costs were a matter of great debate. It is not at all
clear what the cost will be for the next generation of
nuclear power stations, not least because at this stage
few have been built. 
Lord Ezra: My Lords? 
Lord Howie of Troon: My Lords? 
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos):
My Lords, I think we should hear from the Liberal
Democrat Benches. 
Lord Ezra: My Lords, although I gather that the
Government disagree with most of what is contained in the
report, what are their views on the contention that
between now and 2010 emissions could increase, due 
15 Jun 2004 : Column 620
largely to increased usage of energy in the transport,
domestic and power station sectors? Do they have any
additional policies to deal with that situation? 
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, obviously, one
reason we disagree with the report is that it assumes that
there is no government policy regarding energy efficiency.
As the noble Lord knows, because he has asked questions
about it, there is a considerable policy programme on
improving energy efficiency. I am afraid I do not have the
figures on how that relates to the increased emissions that
will result from increasing economic activity, but I shall
write to the noble Lord and let him have what figures we
have. 
Lord Monro of Langholm: My Lords? 
Lord Howie of Troon: My Lords? 
Baroness Amos: My Lords, I think we should move to the
next Question.
*****************************************************************
APPENDIX 3   Snips from news@all-energy June 04.
1.10.What the real argument should be about
"Instead of arguing about the relevant merits of different energy
sources, the real debate could be between imports and indigenous" - the
view of former Energy Minister, Brian Wilson MP http://news.scotsman.com
/columnists.cfm?id=658262004 Mr Wilson was the after dinner speaker at
the All-Energy Opportunities 2004 Dinner, his speech will be on the
website at www.all-energy.co.uk shortly
3.3.ScottishPower's 400m plan
ScottishPower announced a 400m plan to upgrade high-voltage
transmission lines as part of the Government's initiative to rewire the
UK for renewable energy www.scottishpower.com/pages/news_article?documen
t=267ff3_fcb7c36813_-7fdc0a026462 
3.6.Upgrade route nearly there
Scottish and Southern Energy is just days away from finalising its route
for a 200 million power line upgrade. http://icstirlingshire.icnetwork.
co.uk/news/localnews/stirlingnews/stirlingnews/tm_objectid=14323282&meth
od=full&siteid=92391&headline=new-route-planned-in-power-line-
controversy-name_page.html
7.5.The RCEP biomass report
The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution published a special
report - 'Biomass as a Renewable Energy Source', which urges a range of
actions to boost biomass www.rcep.org.uk/bioreport.htm.  "I am
disappointed that energy from biomass has not developed as quickly in
the UK as elsewhere in Europe" - Tom Blundell the RCEP's chair
www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/government_failing_on_biom_1105200
4.html
*********************************************************************
APPENDIX 4    Human Rights case
Western Morning News
 
HUMAN RIGHTS CLAIM AGAINST TURBINE PLANS 
11:00 - 24 June 2004 
The fight against a recently-approved windfarm has been taken to Europe
after residents living
near the proposed site claimed their human rights had been affected.
A court in Strasbourg will decide whether a couple living near the land
designated for three
266ft turbines in North Devon should be paid compensation.
The claim is being made against the landowners of the site at Higher
Darracott, near
Torrington, the Secretary of State who approved the plans at appeal in
May and Torridge
District Council.
It has been lodged by Pat and Arthur Paulton, who live just 500 metres
from the site and
argued against the proposal at a public inquiry. The couple, who run a
car breaker's yard at
Huntshaw, are believed to be basing their claim on Article One of the
Human Rights Act, which
protects property rights.
Legal experts say the European court could take "years" to make a
decision, but if successful
it could open the way for campaigners elsewhere to take similar action -
and possibly deter
energy companies from building windfarms.
A spokesman for Torridge District Council said yesterday: "The Paultons
have made a claim to
the European Court of Human Rights against the landowners, the Secretary
of State, and
Torridge District Council. At this time the details are not fully known
and for legal reasons we
cannot release any more information."
The spokesman added that because Torridge District Council turned down
the original
application for the windfarm, it was not threatened with a financial
claim, and was in fact "an
also ran".
Mr and Mrs Paulton yesterday refused to comment on the claim. But
speaking to the WMN in
May, after the proposals were approved, the couple warned they "would be
looking at the
human rights question".
Legal experts say the Paulton's claim could be based on the
"inevitability" of a negative impact
on their lifestyle when the turbines are built, or the belief that the
decision to approve the plans
was itself a violation of human rights.
The landowners, Sara and Perry George, yesterday said they were unaware
of the claim, as
did the firm wanting to build the turbines, West Coast Energy. A
spokesman for the Office of
the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott's department which handled the
planning application
appeal, said for legal reasons it too was unable to comment.
Mr George said: "I have not heard anything or received any letters. As
far as I'm aware it is full
steam ahead."
Article One, Protocol One of the European Convention of Human Rights
protects "the peaceful
enjoyment of a person's possessions". The size of the compensation claim
is not known and
the court does not have the power to overturn the planning decision.
Several other sites have been targeted for similar wind turbines up to
360ft high. There are
plans for 18 turbines at Week St Mary in North Cornwall, 20 at
Fullabrook Down in North
Devon, three at Bradworthy, which have been approved on appeal, and two
at Cucklington,
South Somerset, which were rejected and may go to appeal.
The Western Morning News is giving readers the opportunity to voice
their opposition to the
erection of giant wind turbines in Devon and Cornwall. This newspaper
has been campaigning
for local people's views to be given more weight when applications for
these turbines are
considered. 
During recent months, the WMN has profiled a number of people living
near wind turbines,
many of whom claim the structures have been detrimental to human health.
People living in areas earmarked for wind turbine development are
increasingly concerned that
Government pressure to generate electricity from renewable resources is
overshadowing
genuine concerns about its impact.
Add your voice to the growing call for a drastic rethink and we will
deliver your petitions direct
to the Energy Minister, Stephen Timms.
http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=143632&command=displ
ayContent&sourceNode=142719&contentPK=10423058
<
http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=143632&amp;command=d
isplayContent&amp;sourceNode=142719&amp;contentPK=10423058
>
Western Morning News
 
HIGH COURT BATTLE TO BLOCK WINDFARM PLAN 
11:00 - 25 June 2004 
Opponents of a controversial windfarm plan have launched a High Court
bid to derail the
development.
London-based solicitor Susan Ring has applied to try and quash plans for
three 266ft turbines
at Higher Darracott, near Torrington, North Devon. Ms Ring is acting for
Pat and Arthur
Paulton, who live 500 metres from the site designated for the windfarm.
Ms Ring, who works for the legal firm Richard Buxton, said: "If the
Government builds roads it
compensates people who fall within the development area, so why should
people who live near
turbines not be treated the same?
"My clients simply feel that if landowners want to let their land be
used for wind turbines they
should be built near their homes, not other people's."
The windfarm proposals were given approval by a Government-appointed
planning inspector
after appeal in May.
But the Paultons' legal advisers have now filed an application under
Section 288 of the Town
and Country Planning Act 1990, claiming the value of their home will be
directly affected.
The grounds for the action are that "the planning inspector erred in
law, in failing to determine
the impact of the development on the value of the claimant's property".
The legal action invokes Article One, Protocol One of the European
Convention of Human
Rights, which is incorporated into UK law under the auspices of the
Human Rights Act.
Ms Ring said the aim of the action was to have the plans thrown out, but
she also believes it is
a "test case" which could force the Government to introduce a
compensation scheme for
people who live near windfarms. She said: "Why should my clients bear
the brunt of something
done in the public's interest without compensation?
"We are talking about the development of public infrastructure but there
is no compensation
scheme in place at all."
Ms Ring added that the landowners had been notified, as had Environment
Secretary and
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who approved the plans at appeal in
May, and Torridge
District Council, the local planning authority.
Mr and Mrs Paulton, who run a car breaker's yard at Huntshaw, refused to
comment on the
High Court action yesterday, saying only that the whole situation has
been a "stressful time".
The landowners, Sara and Perry George, said they were unaware of the
legal move, as did the
firm bidding to build the turbines, West Coast Energy. Both said that as
far as they were
concerned, it was "full steam ahead".
Several sites as well as Higher Darracott have been targeted for
turbines, some as high as
360ft. These include plans for 18 turbines at Week St Mary in North
Cornwall, 20 at Fullabrook
Down in North Devon, three at Bradworthy, which have been approved on
appeal, and two at
Cucklington, South Somerset.
A public inquiry in March heard that if windfarm plans for Higher
Darracott were blocked then
"nowhere" else in the Westcountry would be suitable.
Planning inspector David Cullingford upheld the appeal, saying he did
not find that the scheme
would "seriously impair" the landscape.
An outcome from the new legal move is expected within six months. "They
will fight this all the
way," Ms Ring said.
pandrews@westernmorningnews.co.uk
***********************************************************************
-- Mike O'Carroll