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Revolt Newsletter 85

13/05/2001


 

1. NGC has written to landowners in the Kirby Sigston area to say it is lodging an appeal against Hambleton's decision to reject its access applications there. Hambleton rejected the application because of the detrimental impact on a Special Landscape Area. The NYCC Highway Authority specified the size of the proposed accesses, but NGC say "we are also investigating ... slightly a smaller verge crossing in the same positions". It is not clear if by "we" they mean NGC and NYCC Highways together. My objections to Hambleton had called for the investigation of an alternative access track along the line of pylons south of K.S. bridge, thereby avoiding entirely the use and development of a circuit of 10 km of very small country lanes, but this appears to have been ignored.

2. NGC has appealed 10.5.01 regarding access A 34 on the north of the road at the bend before K.S. bridge. Anyone may make representations by 30.5.01 to the Planning Inspectorate, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN. We may ask for a local public hearing or inquiry.

3. NGC are reported as having stopped work for foot & mouth except for maintaining 24 hour security patrols in the undergrounding area, as there are deep excavations left open. NG staff or contractors should not be on farm land at this time, so please report any sighted.

4. Deborah Wood writes from Canada, where the citizens' group La Coalition du Val St Francois is opposing a 735 kV line (the largest in UK is 400 kV) which was put through their rural farm area by Hydro Quebec without environmental evaluation or public consultation. The group has successfully challenged the government and Hydro Quebec, but the government then made a special law to legalise the line! The group is challenging in court again on 15 May.

5. Reports received show NGC still trying on its old tricks. Having got their compulsory wayleave with pylon positions badly placed (from the farmer's point of view) well into fields rather than at the edge, they now use this as a lever on the farmer by offering to move the pylons only if he will agree a voluntary wayleave and extra access concessions. The fact that they offer proves that the better pylon positions are technically feasible - how on earth did the inspectors agree the worse positions?

6. David Mercer (NGC project manager) writes 10 May claiming NGC's entry at Pintail Nest, against the landowner's express refusal and requests by both his agent and the police to leave, was taken under the powers of the "necessary wayleave". My reply 12 May makes it clear that the wayleave gives no such power, and Nick Raynsford's parliamentary reply of 12.5.99 confirms that the landowner's agreement is necessary. Revolt is now calling for firm police protection of the law-abiding farmers against the law-breaking NGC. We want the police to eject NGC when the landowner does not agree to their entry - and landowners will be entitled to use reasonable force to eject NGC and contractor personnel. see letter below

Mike O'Carroll

 

Please find below my reply to a letter of 10.5.01 from David Mercer of National Grid. NGC's behaviour is quite outrageous. They are bluffing to act beyond their legal powers. Revolt publicly calls on the police to uphold the law and eject NGC in such circumstances, and to support landowners using reasonable force to eject them.

report on original incident

Garden House Welbury, Northallerton DL6 2SE tel/fax 01609 882 501 email

12 May 2001

by fax to 0113 290 8077 David Mercer NGC 1100 Century Way Thorpe Park Leeds LS15 8TU

Dear David,

Lackenby-Picton-Shipton Overhead Transmission Line Incident at Pintail Nest, Winton, 19.2.01

Thank you for your letter of 10 May in response to email of 23.3.01 to Stewart Grant. I had contacted Stewart's office via the NGC contact number 0800 833490 given in your leaflet specifically for this project. It would be helpful if I may have your email address for appropriate future contact.

Thank you for confirming that your personnel took access "under the necessary wayleave" and that you gave 28 day and 7 day notices.

The necessary wayleave does not give you specific powers to take such access. It does not give express powers of access, which depends on landowners' agreement. Any implied ancillary powers, which are not express, would be subject to landowners' agreement in the first instance and ultimately limited to such access as is reasonably necessary to effect the express powers to install and keep installed an electric line.

Your personnel entered in the face of the express disagreement of the landowner, and did so over a locked gate, and refused to leave when asked to do so firstly by the landowner, then by the land agent and then by the police. Those actions were neither reasonable in themselves nor reasonably necessary for the purpose of the wayleave.

It does seem as though your company is trying to force its way in excess of its legal powers.

The limit of the legal powers of the necessary wayleave were clarified in the parliamentary answer given by Minister Nick Raynsford on 12.5.99 (Hansard column 394). He said the detailed implementation of these rights is a matter for discussion and agreement between the landowner and the company ... to ensure the minimum disruption and the most satisfactory arrangement to avoid causing inconvenience to the landowner. Note that the objective is for the landowner's convenience, not the company's.

Your team at Pintail Nest did not act in accordance with your legal rights and furthermore did not act in a professional and responsible manner, given the sensitive circumstances.

It will be reasonable for landowners now to expect police protection and ejection of your personnel when acting illegally in this manner. It will also be reasonable for landowners to apply reasonable force in ejecting your personnel when trespassing in this provocative way. Please be advised that these are the reasonable consequences of any further unlawful activities of this kind which you may contemplate.

I would hope that, after more careful study of the law and the parliamentary answer, you will make an apology to Mr Turner at Pintail Nest, to his professional land agents Strutt and Parker, and to North Yorkshire Police, all of whom your personnel contemptuously ignored.

Yours sincerely,

Mike O'Carroll

 

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