1. Following reports of the underground section in news71, other landowner reports describe local difficulties, mainly with getting contractors to keep to the local agreements, even after being told a number of times. Great persistence has been needed to get National Grid to make its contractors keep to agreements. For example, contractors have used farm roads instead of laying their own road along the swathe, they have started noisy work at 7.30 am when 8.00 am was agreed, they have used turning areas for parking plant and machinery at night and weekends, they have also used the turning areas for dumping soil from elsewhere and even dumping the muck from the road sweeping lorries. Work is organised for the contractors' convenience not the landowners'.
2. Security problems are reported on the underground section. Plant left overnight has brought break-ins to the area. One house nearby had four actual or attempted break-ins. The main compound at Poole roundabout has had several thefts. NG has eventually woken up and is going to patrol.
3. Aluminium trackway has been used for Northern Electric work near the underground section. A huge crane was used to unload tracks from wagons. Big ruts were made where vehicles go off the track to turn around. Expensive wooden track is now being used for some NGC work.
4. Interesting point about compensation payments being taxable: payment for a voluntary agreement may be viewed as a sale or capital gain and hence taxable, whereas compensation for damage or for compulsory powers may be argued as not a capital gain, though this seems to be unclear.
5. From the Times 1.2.01: the Conservatives are to make mobile phone masts an election issue. There are 20,000 masts across UK and rising demand (the new generation of mobiles) means there could be 100,000. Health concerns for children exposed to phones microwaves have been confirmed in the Independent Expert Group report last year. Our view: there is an equally good case for concerns about pylons and health. NGC has over 7,000 route kilometres of overhead lines (around 20,000 pylons) and the regional electricity companies have many more. There is a case for comparable compensation - local examples of small masts pay eg 4,000 pounds per annum compensation against 80 pounds for a large pylon! All political parties would do well to develop policies to control both pylons and masts, and to require better compensation.
6. Independent on Sunday 28.1.01 page 4 carries an article by Jonathan Thompson on the fuel cell development by Regenesys. They are to build an "electricity warehouse" able to hold 120 MWh (MegaWatt hours) and costing 15 million pounds. That would supply a town like Basingstoke for a day. It could also supplement a small windfarm, by providing power on low-wind or stormy days (when the windfarm is not generating) and being topped up on good windfarm days. A small windfarm of installed capacity 12 MW (of which only about 4 MW would be on average available) could provide the fuel cell "battery" with enough power to output 4 MW continuously, less losses in the charging/discharging processes which might bring it down to, say, 3 MW net continuous output. (These are my calculations and I don't know the precise rate of these losses.) The value of this would be that windpower could, when backed up by a fuel cell system, provide locally useful power and thereby avoid extra transmission. Instead of large remote windfarms, which have many faults, turbines distributed to serve local demand would be beneficial, both for remote settlements and for the net demand areas in the south of England.
7. "Raskelf is revolting" is the title of Raskelf village's press release last week. They have had enough of the continual deception and worsening of the impacts of NGC's project, now they face 2,480 heavy lorries and 5,000 other heavy vehicles transiting their very dangerous crossroads. See http://www.w4u.co.uk/raskelf/ . They show photos handiwork in building "passing points" so HGV's can pass each other.
8. Reports also say that the road into Raskelf, which was recently "improved" for the NGC project, is a complete mess, and needs repairing again even before the project starts!
- Mike O'Carroll