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Revolt Newsletter 75

14/02/2001

1. Another helpful meeting was held 9.2.01 between Revolt and North Yorkshire Police senior officers. NY Police confirmed that they will not enforce access by NGC or contractors on to land where the owner or occupier does not agree it. Like Revolt, the Police have taken legal advice which confirms that NGC's compulsory wayleaves do NOT give them the right to enter the land without the landowner's and occupier's permission. The Parliamentary reply by Minister Nick Raynsford (quoted in our guidance notes) makes clear the presumption is in favour of the landowner, not the contractor.

2. The police will, for the sake of clarity and everyone knowing where they stand, seek written confirmation from landowners/occupiers of their position - do they permit the contractors to enter the land or not. That does not mean landowners/occupiers must give permission. It does not even mean that landowners/occupiers have to commit themselves in writing one way or the other. They might have legal advice to say nothing.

3. Landowners or occupiers, through their agents or otherwise, will be entitled to refuse entry as long as NGC has not agreed all arrangements to the landowner's and occupier's satisfaction. Ultimately, NGC will be entitled to "such access as is reasonably necessary", and in the absence of agreement NGC may seek a court order (when the landowner and occupier should also be able to put their case). Only when NGC has a court order will the police enforce their entry. Prior to that the police will recognise that NGC is NOT entitled to entry, and will regard it as a civil matter between the landowner and occupier and NGC.

4. The police have also reaffirmed that they are prepared to facilitate safe and lawful protest. Likewise, Revolt is concerned to see that protest is effective, lawful and safe, with minimum inconvenience to the public and to protesters, and to avoid protesters putting themselves in danger of arrest. Protest on private land, with the owner's agreement, is not a problem. Revolt advises protesters not to trespass, and not to protest on private land without the landowner's agreement.

5. Revolt is to meet the police next on 23 March.

6. At the Raskelf meeting, Balfour Beatty eventually revealed that virtually all HGV would be driven by subcontractors on a "payment by load basis", i.e. the quicker they get there and back the more loads they get and the more money they get - an incentive to speed and take short cuts. (source http://www.w4u.co.uk/raskelf/ ) This is a part of the infamous Balfour Beatty, criticised for the Hatfield train crash.

7. PC Richard Bentley, the traffic manager for the area, confirmed police had no problem with the Raskelf residents' alternative proposals. So what's stopping them? (source http://www.w4u.co.uk/raskelf/ )

8. The small NGC compound half way between West Rounton and East Harlsey has been showing i/d for some weeks now. A polite notice says Houseman and Falshaw working for NGC and gives contact 0800 833490. This is NGC's number for the grid line project. It should get you through to their PR service run by Stewart Grant. I have not noticed any activity at the compound recently until today a couple of light vehicles were there. The minor road from East Rounton and the road onwards to the pylon access sites just east of Welbury have been "repaired" recently, but the jobs were so shoddy that the flimsy layer of tarmac has crumbled away and has left patches and pot holes. The road edges were not reinforced and just spread vast amounts of mud onto the roads.

- Mike O'Carroll

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