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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SPOTLIGHT PRESS RELEASE No. 18 25.11.98
WAYLEAVE HEARING CAN'T CORRECT INJUSTICE
A government inspector yesterday admitted publicly that he had made a mistake some years ago and given the Secretary of State the wrong information. Mr Alan Walker, Senior Engineering Inspector at the DTI, said however that it was now not possible to do anything about this in relation to the decision which Margaret Beckett made earlier this year to grant consent to National Grid's 50 mile pylon route which is to deface the North Yorkshire countryside.
MIS-INFORMATION ALL ROUND
His admission came at the start of the Wayleave Hearing held yesterday at the Galtres Centre, , on behalf of David and Iris Wilkinson of Pilmoor Grange, Helperby, whose land is proposed to be blighted by 4 massive pylons. Mr Walker admitted that when he informed the Secretary of State of the Wilkinsons' agreement he had muddled them up with another landowner called Wilkinson. There were hoots of derision from more than 50 REVOLT supporters attending the Hearing when Mr Walker stated that this error, "does not necessarily mean that wayleave will be granted over Mr Wilkinson's land." Further disbelief was expressed when the inspector said that the only information he could take into account was anything new which was specific to the Wilkinson's land. All other things such as major changes since earlier hearings in 1994/95 and corrections of mis-information previously put out by National Grid - of which there were a number of serious ones - were ruled out of court at the hearing.
Prof. Mike O'Carroll on behalf of the Wilkinsons noted that: a different inspector to Mr Walker would be more appropriate; no representative of the DTI was available at the hearing to be questioned; and the Wilkinsons had not been informed of the possibility of a completely new hearing. A request for an adjournment to raise these issues further was refused by Mr Walker who insisted that the re-opened hearing should go ahead that day. Following a complaint that Mr Charles Waite of National Grid should not give evidence at the Hearing in view of allegations against him of intimidating landowners, Mr Waite was allowed to take the stand and events proceeded with a degree of chaos and uncertainty about the procedure.
NO EXPENSE SPARED BY NATIONAL GRID
A large and expensive team of lawyers, public relations experts and others, headed by barrister, Robert Fookes, proceeded to try to demonstrate (against substantial evidence to the contrary) National Grid's reasonableness in all its dealings and guided the inspector to help him make the necessary recommendations to the new Secretary of State, Peter Mandelson, without further embarrassing mistakes.
These charades in the name of democracy were there for all to hear. Mr Nigel Stephenson, the agent acting on behalf of Mr and Mrs Wilkinson, drew out of Mr Waite of National Grid a summary of the relatively minor effects on agricultural operations of undergrounding the powerline. Mr Stephenson said this was, "the first absolutely honest answer I've heard regarding the disadvantages of undergrounding - and wasn't what was heard 8 years ago at such meetings."
The procedure pressed on its inevitable route, with the Wilkinsons trying their best to have all their points reported through a fair hearing on to the Secretary of State, and with the National Grid trying to make sure that as little as possible was passed on.
SHAM AND SHAMBLES CONTINUES
Despite all the assurances given by the inspector, there was little doubt in the minds of REVOLT supporters attending that, as Mike O'Carroll stated to the hearing, " The sham and shambles continues." The detailed proceedings will, however, now be gone through with a fine tooth-comb by REVOLT to challenge the pylon line further.
GREED VERSUS FAMILY LIFE
Mrs Iris Wilkinson summed up their family's feeling in her final statement to the hearing when she told the Hearing how they had bought their farm 18 years ago in a neglected state and gradually brought it back into full production in a way which would improve the surrounding countryside. She said, "However hard the past few years have been, and it has been a struggle financially, we counted ourselves lucky as we believed we had provided ourselves and our four children with a happy and viable home in pleasant surroundings. 'Unspoilt' is the adjective we used when we viewed the property before we bought it. The hand of man had not made a blot on this particular part of the landscape. However, it seems as if this is all to change because a private company, with huge financial reserves, wishes to encourage a growth in transmission leading to a growth in profits."
Wayleave Hearing of Mr and Mrs D A Wilkinson, 24 November 1998
Proof of Evidence of M J OCarroll
HEARING: David and Iris Wilkinson (01423) 360348
REVOLT: Peter Johnson (01845) 537443
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SPOTLIGHT PRESS RELEASE No. 17 13.10.98
THINGS ARE HOTTING UP!
Sparks will be flying on Friday 6th November at Manor Farm, Kirby Sigston, where Eric and Nita Chapman have agreed to hold a big bonfire party. It will be on land at their farm where one of the National Grid Company's massive pylons is threatened to be sited. The fire will be lit just after 6.30pm. Protestors, friends and relatives are invited to join in to demonstrate their continued solidarity in opposing the unwanted, unnecessary power line. All are invited to meet near Kirby Sigston Bridge reached by turning West off the A19 at the Haynes Arms (at Jeater Houses, South of Osmotherley) for about one and a half miles. Car parking will be signposted.
The organisers aim to have a surprise for setting alight on the bonfire - this time it definitely won't be Guy Fawkes. Eric Chapman said, "Who or what it is will remain a mystery until nearer the night, but promises to be well worth a match." Sausages, burgers and jacket potatoes will be provided thanks to local butcher, Ray Liddell, at a small charge. Donations for fireworks are requested before the night - tel: 01609 883340
Arrangements will be made to ensure that the event goes off as safely as possible and the siting of the bonfire does not present any hazard to those in the area. This is unlike the situation which may prevail if the power line goes ahead, given the new fears being expressed by experts that the electric fields around such lines may contribute to the cause of cancer. (See www.revolt.co.uk for details)
COUNTY COUNCIL'S SHOCK STATEMENT
Many will be pleased that North Yorkshire County Council continue to publicise the fight against the pylons in their Autumn 1998 edition of 'North Yorkshire Reporter.' However, REVOLT supporters will be saddened with their headline: 'Pylon war is over but the battle continues.' Has the North Yorkshire County Council publicity machine not heard that REVOLT continues to fight against the pylons? Did they not know that two of their prominent local councillors, Bill Barton (Chairman of the Council) and John Dennis (Chairman of Education) were foremost in the recent march against the power line?
POWER WAR CONTINUES
REVOLT and local people are grateful for this support from County and District Councillors. No, North Yorkshire Reporter, the war is not over - there are battles still to fight. Members of REVOLT are sure, and are grateful, that North Yorkshire County Council and Hambleton Council and individual Councillors will continue with such support as they can legally give towards stopping the power line, and not just accepting them and trying to make them look prettier.
PYLON BONFIRE: Nita & Eric Chapman 01609 883340
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 4.10.98 SPOTLIGHT PRESS RELEASE No. 16
WOMEN'S INSTITUTES TO FIGHT PYLONS?
Ladies from WI's in the area of North Yorkshire affected by the The National Grid's proposed giant pylons were asked to give their active support to efforts being made by REVOLT to stop the transmission line. 350 delegates from the area and visitors from further afield attended the Autumn Council Meeting of the North Yorkshire East Federation of Women's Institutes held at Easingwold School on Saturday 3 October. They agreed to take part in a survey of all 131 WI's represented canvassing active support for a wider campaign against the pylons.
Two members, Penny Pilling (Thornton le Beans WI), and Janet Wright (Sowerby WI), gave presentations on the background to the National Grid Company's proposals and their consequences - unnecessary waste of resources, environmental pollution, spoiled landscapes and falling property values. Delegates expressed great concern about possible causal links between powerlines and childhood cancer claimed in recent research by Professor Denis Henshaw at Bristol University.
WHERE NOW WI's?
A REVOLT exhibition gave information about the pylon proposals. During 'Question Time' the possibility was raised of the National Grid Company applying for even more high voltage power lines after the one in North Yorkshire. These would produce ever bigger profits for NGC at the expense of the environment. Following the WI survey Chairman, Mrs Pat Shotton, will raise the campaign with their National Federation to bring the North Yorkshire East Federation's concerns to a wider forum.
CONTACTS: WI : Pat Shotton, Federation Chairman (01904) 795953
Janet Wright, President, Sowerby WI (01845) 525451
REVOLT: Mike O'Carroll (01609) 882501 Peter Johnson (01845) 537443
Revolt Web-site: http://www.revolt.co.uk
update on 'Possible link between power lines and childhood cancer':
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