1. Several reports describe highways works and information inadequacies. The road "improvements between Knayton and Northallerton have left "quite a mess on the verges and of course mud everywhere". The road from the A19 to Raskelf and on to Tholthorpe was "repaired" for NGC but as the work was so shoddy the road is now "buggered". The road from the A19 to Huby is "a disgrace". The closure notice for Upsall Lane, South Kilvington was wrongly worded, stating unambiguously that it would prohibit any vehicle from 24 Feb to 2 Sept inclusive, and further we have confirmation that the parishes most affected were not even notified (possibly only the one containing the works, not the others mostly affected). Then we have the Raskelf cross roads safety fiasco.
2. These problems point to serious inadequacy of the statutory processes, which may be designed for insignificant minor works but do not cope with major schemes affecting several parishes. The processes seem designed to keep most people in the dark, by giving only minimal notice through highly restricted channels; a more enlightened process would aim to inform all the people affected in good time and then to monitor achievement of that aim. The information age ought to make solutions possible. I will encourage NYCC to take a lead!
3. Where you see poor road repairs, mud on road, contractors without i/d, you are encouraged to "MAKE IT SNAPPY" - that is capture it on camera. Our friends at NYCC recommended this for before and after shots where work is due, for example on green lanes. OK, it's a nuisance and you won't have your camera handy at the right moment, and it's always raining, but IF you get chance, do MAKE IT SNAPPY. Just let me know when you have some shots. See www.w4u.co.uk/raskelf for lots of pics.
4. Radio 4 Costing the Earth (the same series which covered the pylons health problem for Yorkshire farmers recently) reported 8.2.00 on the two sides of the global warming debate. "Climate change" is the in- phrase for global warming. Climate change sceptics note that, although there is a growing body of evidence that the earth was warming very slightly over the last century, and the pace was more than usual, the amount is small and we are still a long way short of hotter periods in recorded history even within the last millennium. They also argue that the carbon doixide (CO2) greenhouse effect, on which the climate change case depends, is small compared with changes due to solar activity and water vapour effects. They "decouple" the CO2 and temperature changes.
5. Fair enough, the climate change theory is not certain. What is most striking, however, is the recent (last century) rise of atmospheric CO2 levels, way beyond the fairly regular and well recorded (through ice cores etc) 100,000 year long cycles. Suddenly CO2 is some 50% above historic mean and 25% above previous peak levels and rising fast. Figure 2-V in the Royal Commission report Cm 4749, "Energy - the Changing Climate", shows the CO2 surge convincingly. That IS cause for concern, as the excess CO2, linked to pollution, is already well outside natural experience and rapidly getting worse.
6. Andrew Stobart, a key Revolt witness to the 1992 inquiries and Director of Resource Conservation plc, emphasised then the danger (and toxicity) of excessive CO2, never mind potential global warming. In my view, the further growth of CO2 is best resisted. It is likely to increase global warming, even if it should be only a minor cause, and in any case it is likely to be a bad thing in itself. So energy waste, through remote power stations and bulk transmission, is to be avoided.
7. Planning Minister Nick Raynsford sends a correction (letter 4.2.01) to the Sunday Times piece (28.1.01, see news71.5) saying it is "unlawful" for Sec of State to decide planning appeals (it arose over phone masts). Nick Raynsford says the High Court has not ruled it unlawful, but the Divisional Court has given judgement on four test cases, concluding in each case that the appeal processes were not compatible with Article 6(1) of the Human Rights Convention. The government is appealing to the House of Lords. The government also accepted the precautionary approach recommended in the Stewart Report on mobile phones. Nice to have it right, but a rose by any other name ...
8. Late news on Raskelf today - a near accident with a police car! Photo on www.w4u.co.uk/raskelf (and in forwarded email). It obviously is a very dangerous and badly formed highways plan, but maybe you ain't seen nothing yet. National Grid'S stunning circuitous route for heavy traffic around single track lanes for 10 kilometres around Kirby Sigston might yet beat their Raskelf plans for brazen stupidity. It's not yet approved, but if it ever should be ... watch this space.
- Mike O'Carroll