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Revolt Newsletter 82

25/03/2001


1. NGG Chairman James Ross replies 8.3.01 to Anne McIntosh MP about the traffic at Raskelf resulting from the depot at Tholthorpe. He says "They have arranged that the majority of the heavy construction materials will go direct to the pylon locations and not via the depot. Additionally they are actively looking at a number of additional routes to access the depot, which will have the further effect of reducing volumes of traffic through Raskelf."

2. Good to see Tom Bell's large painted tank spruced up (opposite Mount Grace Priory on the north bound A19). It now reads "PYLONS KILL".

3. Meeting with NY Police 23.3.01 acknowledged that works and protests were on hold because of the foot and mouth outbreak. The incident of unlawful NGC entry at Pintail Nest was discussed. The police steer clear of involvement in civil cases, and do not have power to evict just for civil trespass. Revolt will draft a form of words for landowners to use so that their position is clear for legal purposes. We are in no doubt that landowners are entitled to refuse entry unless all arrangements have been agreed with them. We shall set out reasonable means of evicting NGC, should they try again to enter over locked gates against the express wish of the landowner.

4. The full report of the Pintail Nest incident has been put to NGC and to Northern Archaeological Associates, the joint culprits in unlawful entry and refusal to leave when asked by the police. A formal complaint has been made to NGC.

5. Revolt is asking Anne McIntosh MP to seek assurances from MAFF that NGC will not be allowed to resume its work while the foot and mouth outbreak persists.

6. "Perverse economics" are causing problems in the privatised gas market. The privatised utility markets were supposed to bring the benefits of competition to consumers - fine in principle but difficult with regulated monopolies (like NGC) where there is not a free market. The new Bacton (Norfolk) - Zeebrugge interconnector pipeline was supposed to increase competition and bring the benefits of continental gas to the UK, but perversely it has brought higher continental prices backwards up the pipeline as our gas has gone out to their markets. The UK gas price has doubled in 6 months, though domestic consumers won't notice it for a while as they are supplied via long term contracts. The TPL power station was in difficulty a year or two ago, as it was tied to long term gas prices higher than those then emerging in UK, but now I guess it may get some protection from the rise in UK prices - double perverse economics?

7. A similar "perverse economics" has had dramatic effect in California, where electricity was deregulated only in 1998. Power shortages and blackouts this January caused chaos and threaten the core electronics industry. Only emergency measures and gas imports from Canada rescued them. President Bush looks to open up gas from Alaska as a longer term measure. Rising gas demand and prices, which doubled over the last year, are at the root of the problem. The US has a march for gas (not quite a dash; coal still dominates), which gained momentum last year when gas was cheap. The deregulated electricity generators have put their prices up beyond what the regulated electricity companies can afford to pay, reversing the intended benefits of competition. Perverse indeed! [see Guardian 15.3.01 p.24 and 19.1.01 p.3]

8. Rosalind Craven wrote a 23 page letter, richly reinforced with historical and political references, to David Jones, NGC Chief Exec, parodying NGC's web of sleaze and spin. She also wrote more pointedly to Tony Blair 1.3.01, asking for his personal consideration. She says "I would also urge you to distance yourself from the DTI if that is at all possible". On the question of landowners' refusal of access, she says "I believe that NG officials and/or Balfour Beatty will just walk in if our gateway is not protected. I do not believe any of us should be put in the position of having to stand guard in our own gateways". Poignant, in the light of the incident at Pintail Nest!

9. Some quotes from Rosalind Craven's letter to David Jones: "I find the Grantors' Charter very disturbing - sort of Soviet-like. ... forced-to- be-grantors up here are not dead, we have not been abolished ... Whichever way you look at it, these grantors are subsidising the cost of electricity ...".

10. Peter Hain replied 20.3.01 to Anne McIntosh MP on the health risks from pylons, but regrettably it is steeped in spin. All it tells us is that Peter Hain cannot be trusted to give a fair and even-handed response, and I have asked Anne McIntosh to relay that back.

Mike O'Carroll

 

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