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Meeting at Knayton

Reports of National Grid's consultative/charm offensive meetings with various villages due to be disrupted by the building of the proposed line.

Public Meeting at Knayton Village Hall on 21 February 2000 to hear a talk from National Grid on the construction of the Proposed Overhead Transmission Line Picton to Shipton

 Summary

The meeting was addressed by Mr Stewart Grant for the National Grid Company (NGC). He issued a copies of the information sheet for Knayton with Brawith and said he was here to answer questions and hoped to concentrate on issues of interest to Knayton and hoped Knayton residents would have the first opportunity to ask questions.

The audience showed they were not convinced the basic questions had been addressed or a fair hearing had been given to the case against the line or under grounding the line.

NGC appeared satisfied they had given the locals an opportunity to vent their indignation but were not going to address any the basic issue but would look into individual complaints on interface matters with the public and deal with specific requests for information.

The impression given was of a too low a level NGC team who were not equipped to deal with fundamental questions and could not answer for any NGC action but only offer to take messages back to be answered. Whether satisfactory answers will ever be made is a matter for conjecture.

An action list is appended)

The following issues were raised:

1. Why not underground?

2. Vehicle weights on bridges

3. Technology improvements

4. Increased number of traffic movements

5. Problems with NGC subcontractors

6. Access interference

7. Economic effects

8. EMF effects

9. Changed reasons for line

10. Tree removal and replanting

11. Existing Line

12. What "Community Gain" might be offered as a recompense

 Public Meeting at Knayton 21February 2000

Present

Knayton Cum Brawith Parish Council

Mrs Coverdale (Chairman)
Mrs M. Weighel
Mrs L. Gibbon
Mr T.Bucknall
Mrs C. Fishwick (Clerk)
(absent Mr E. Hackett)

National Grid Company

Mr Stewart Grant
Mr Guy Bradbury
Mr Harold Parker (Wayleave Officer)

NYCC

Ms Pam Johnson
Mr Geoff Sell?

Members of General Public approx. 60

Mrs Coverdale chaired the meeting

She said everyone felt very strongly about the proposed line , it was a major tragedy, we all wish the decision could be reversed. We were here to hear from NGC how they would minimise the disruption .

Mrs Coverdale introduced Mr Grant. 

1. Why not underground?

There had been two Public Enquiries whose judgement had been that under grounding was too expensive except for a short sections underground at Newby. This length should be placed underground because of the number of people who would have their outlook toward Rosebury Topping and the entrance to the N. Yorks Moors National Park affected Mr Grant undertook to demonstrate the increased cost caused by under grounding the lines on the price of a unit of electricity transmitted down the line. Mr Jefferies (former Chairman of NGC Group ) had previously stated to under ground 7000Km would increase cost of transmission by 53%. Mr Grant said UK use of underground cables was comparable with extent in USA and Australia, that this was a fair comparison was disputed from the floor.

Mr Grant listed 3 disadvantages for under grounding:

I. Underground cables were less reliable

II. They cost M12 per Km when overhead lines cost M0.5/Km

III The impact on the ground surface was greater , a 40m width was affected.

2. Vehicle weights on bridges

Mr Grant gave revised figures for the crane to be used between tower sites. It had a lifting capacity of 90te, weighed 48te, was 13m long 2,7m wide and the axle loads were 12te.. Ms Johnson said they had not assessed the vehicle routes at this stage and would not do so until the haulier applied to travel with abnormal loads (Statutory notice required was 7 days). The NGC were reminded that verges need to be crossed at the access points. Knayton Parish Council had an application before it for a 57 te crane and asked why the discrepancy. There was no answer given. A request to assess the bridges fell on deaf ears.

3. Technology improvements

The members of the public felt the arguments put forward ten years age were no longer valid, technology and availability of capital were improved, they felt the North was being blighted for the benefit of the South . Mr Grant undertook to advise on the amount of redundancy as a percentage in the NGC Northern zone.

4. Increased number of traffic movements

The issue of greatly increased traffic movement from those given at the enquiry caused much concern. , It seemed to indicate that either NGC did not know their business or they were not to be trusted. NGC said the enquiry concentrated on issues of principal, at that time they had not planned their access strategy and the 12 vehicle movements per tower were related to a standard tower and did not include temporary access roads.

5. Problems with NGC subcontractors

Examples were given of problems with NGC subcontractors carrying out enabling works and behaving in an unsatisfactory manner e.g. Northern Electric at Upsall and British Telecom in Borrowby.

6. Access interference

Examples were given of restrictions on access by NGC subcontractors and in particular Mr Rajan Raja asked for an assurance that his wife (a GP) would be able to access the Allerton Wath Road especially in an emergency. Prompt response was requested in future when a problem was identified.

7. Economic effects

It was pointed out to NGC that this part of Hambleton is very attractive area and one which helps attract tourists, blighting the area with the overhead line was a double blow when farm incomes were affected by the problems in agriculture. Properties will be devalued and there will be no benefit to the area.

8. EMF effect

The concern of the public over the effect of Overhead lines on health was raised and the NGC position was reiterated i.e. that they rely on the advice of the National Radiological Protection Board. Mr Grant was aware of the conflicting papers by Professor Henshaw and Sir Richard Doll. He was reminded that similar assurances over BSE had made the Public suspicious over Government statements and replied that we should ask NRPB directly.

9. Changed reasons for line

Mr Grant explain they had a statutory obligation to connect the Enron (Teesside Power) Power Station which was sited on Teesside because that was where the gas was landed. He said there was no national Energy policy so the less environmentally damaging option of piping gas to a power station near the point of consumption was not considered. He did not dispute that the consideration of the transmission of power from Scotland had been banned at the enquiry but the key issue was the Enron Power Station. He said lines had to incorporate a margin for future developments and there were natural increments in sizing a power line. There would be no expansion of the overhead line network south of Shipton as a result of the Picton to Shipton line.

10. Tree removal and replanting

NGC confirmed they would plant four trees for each one felled, provided someone provided them with the land. They could not tell the meeting how many trees they would fell. Mr Barton said he would have 400 softwood trees felled and 40 hardwood and wanted an assurance that NGC would clear scrub and reinstate rabbit proof fencing . He was assured the NGC would minimise the amount of felling , would trim trees adjacent to the line twice yearly and would clear scrub from the felled area and reinstate the rabbit wire. They further offered to discuss and agree the replacement species and the ownership and cost of removal of any felled trees.

11. Existing Line

It was confirmed by NGC that the existing "Yorkshire Interconnector" would remain. NGC had not realised that the red warning lights on the pylons near Upsall had been removed and undertook to find out why. It was pointed out that locally the lights were considered the only protection against low flying accidents.

12. Community Gain

Replying to a question on whether NGC would do anything to recompense the communities affected by the overhead line Mr Grant said NGC was discussing this with Parishes and mentioned off site tree planting. When questioned on how much was to be offered he said it would depend on the merits of each case a judgement would be necessary. He said they were not free to negotiate as the industry was highly regulated. It was suggested from the floor that as the saving between underground and overhead was M11.5/Km, this should influence the level of NGCs contribution to mitigate the effects of the overhead line. 

Actions by NGC

1. To provide calculations to show the difference per unit of electricity (KWh) between power transmitted on the proposed overhead line and a comparable underground cable.

2. To confirm crane size proposed to be used for tower construction (and resubmit affected planning applications?)

3. Reassurance is required that access will be provided for Dr Raja at all times.

4. The total number of trees to be felled along the proposed line to be advised. The number of replacement trees and agreed sites to be advised. A detailed list of trees affected in Kirby Sigston, Sowerby under Cotcliffe, Crosby, Borrowby and Knayton is requested.

5. Reinstatement of the red warning lights on the existing line to be considered or reasons for removal to be published

6. Community Gain , NGC to publish their proposals.

7. NGC to re publish Charles Waites evidence on effect of undergrounding which was given in Jan '98 at Easingwold.

8. The extent of redundancy (as %) there is in the NGC northern zone

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