REVOLT Powerline Concerns Health Hazards Need UK Energy Policy

The Proposal & REVOLT's Objections

REVOLT represents public concerns about National Grid's proposed 50 mile line of giant pylons through Cleveland and North Yorkshire skirting the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. More generally REVOLT presses for a co-ordinated UK energy distribution policy, very much in line with the government energy policies at last emerging, but which the National Grid line would thwart.

A long-running saga, following the somewhat clandestine consent in 1989 to Europe's biggest gas-fired power station (TPL) to be built on Teesside by 1993, has revealed many intriguing features.

See July 2002 press release for latest news

Serious market distortion in the privatised electricity drives the big players to profit from wasteful schemes. The proposed line is not needed for electricity supply, but wanted for commercial motives. It would support more excess power stations in the far north (already over 100% surplus) to meet net demand in the far south, wasting energy worth over 500 million every year. Property devaluation would be entirely uncompensated for most residents. Farmers have rejected lucrative inducements to refuse 93 wayleaves in defence of the countryside. Several public inquiries received thousands of objections with all-party opposition from all the affected local authorities, MPs, and MEPs as well as environmental and other groups.

CASE SUMMARY     31 December 2000

National Grid (NGC) propose to build a 50 mile line of giant pylons through Cleveland and North Yorkshire. They applied for the line in 1991 saying it was needed to take power from a new Teesside power station (TPL) which was consented in 1989, without wider consultation, and to be built by 1993.

The line has been opposed by all the affected County and District Councils, MPs and MEPs, and by landowners, environmental groups and the public. After public inquiries and hearings in 1992, 1994 and 1995, and long delay with both governments, a decision letter was issued by DTI on 26.3.98. After more complications and hearings, all consents and wayleaves (bar one) were in place by 31.12.00, though many access arrangements requiring landowners' agreement and planning permission are not yet agreed.

The TPL power station has operated at full power since April 1993 without the new line with no resulting problems. The "temporary" present arrangement permitting this works well and could be made permanent. The Lackenby - Picton section of the proposed line is to go underground for a significant stretch and is now conditional upon the removal of the existing 275kV line. Revolt no longer opposes this section in principle, but calls for it to be teed in to the existing line at Picton. The long Picton - Shipton section is not needed especially after the closure of Blyth A and B power stations 31.1.01, and is vigorously opposed.

Arguments against the line include:

  • 1. It is not needed for public electricity supply, only wanted for profit.
  • 2. It will ruin large areas of treasured countryside.
  • 3. It will ruin some families by massively devaluing their homes, without any compensation.
  • 4. It will promote uneconomic bulk transport of power from north to south, wasting energy worth over 500 million every year in generation and transmission, as well as causing environmental damage.
  • 5. This conflicts with new government energy policy favouring efficient local generation with CHP.
  • 6. It will cost consumers dearly, in capital to build and in revenue for increased operating costs both for the line and for knock-on grid developments elsewhere throughout England.
  • 7. The great majority of landowners refused to grant wayleaves, despite outrageous inducements.
  • 8. There is overwhelming public and all-party local authority opposition.
  • 9. People fear possible health risks from electromagnetic fields, which new evidence is reinforcing.

Arguments for the line include:

  • 1. NGC need it to meet technical criteria to connect TPL. (This is hotly disputed through unresolved complex legal proceedings. The case for Picton-Shipton collapses with closure of Blyth.)
  • 2. It will facilitate increased imports of cheaper power from Scotland. (Surplus Scottish power is not cheaper; it comes from coal-fired plant at the margin. Lengthy transmission is wasteful and costly.)
  • 3. It will promote competition among generators. (It would facilitate more surplus power stations in the north east, but only market distortions make them competitive by subsidising transmission.)
  • 4. It will enable removal of a shorter but intrusive line in Teesside. (There are better ways to do that.)
  • 5. It will be very profitable for National Grid and Scottish Power. (True, but to the cost of consumers!)
Revolt and/or Professor Mike O'Carroll (Revolt's chairman) have made responses to many Government consultative documents.  Some of these responses are on this site and give a good background to the arguments over the proposed overhead line and other issues that it raises.
Response to the House of Commons adjournment debate 24 July 1997
Information about the Economic and Environmental concerns.
Response to The HM Treasury consultation paper: Economic Instruments and the Business Use of Energy
Revolt's Grievances against NGC
Response to Utilities Review
Response to DTI Review of Energy Sources
Response to Developing an Integrated Transport Policy
Response to evidence of Mr K E Miller by Professor G Scott on behalf of REVOLT
Covers cheaper methods of undergrounding, resisted by National Grid
Other pages have content and links to major issues raised by the line
REVOLT has led the public campaign against the line for over 12 years with all-party support of local authorities, MPs, MEPs and others. To join REVOLT and find out more register  your contact details and, if you wish, make a voluntary donation of 5 pounds to:
Treasurer: Iris Wilkinson, Pilmoor Grange, Helperby, York YO6 2QF