On 24 October NGC issued 28-day notices to landowners to say contractors Balfour Beatty will be starting work, firstly for survey, tree tagging and pruning, preparatory for construction. This is premature and landowners are entitled to refuse entry until matters are agreed. Below (in plain text) is a note to landowners (and their agents) with a draft reply to NGC's letter.
REVOLT: Note to Landowners 6.11.00
Landowners on the Picton-Shipton route will in late October have received NGC's 28 day notice of the intention for Balfour Beatty to start work on the project. Typically the notice is given in a letter of 24 October from Charles Waite.
Landowners are not obliged to agree to access of Balfour Beatty on their land, as long as they have reason to object. Some reasons are given in the draft reply below. Landowners may wish to select those they consider appropriate in their own reply. Further, landowners can refuse entry to Balfour Beatty and can call the police if Balfour Beatty try to gain access without permission.
You will have noticed that the weather recently has not been dry and the soil has not been in a dry state. A condition of consent requires that no work connected with the project may proceed unless it is dry and the soil is in a dry state. However, the time to bring this up will be when (and if) NGC have got over the other hurdles and you can no longer legally refuse them for other reasons.
|Draft response (to Mr James Ross, Chairman,
NGG, 185 Park St, London SE1 9DY,
with a copy to Charles Waite and to your local MP at House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA) :
Dear Mr Ross,
I have received a letter of 24 October from Charles Waite giving 28 days notice of work by Balfour Beatty, your appointed contractor.
It is with concern but not surprise that I learn that NGC have appointed Balfour Beatty as contractor for construction of the overhead line, just as Balfour Beatty are receiving serious public criticism for their "low standards and poor attitude" in connection with their responsibility for faulty rails causing the Hatfield train crash (Ceefax page 104 24.10.00).
Neither your company nor the contractor is entitled to enter my land to work on this project without my express permission. The compulsory wayleave does not give you that power, as was made clear in the parliamentary reply 12.5.99 from Environment Minister Nick Raynsford (Hansard col. 394). He made it clear that the obligation is to minimise inconvenience to the landowner. You are not simply entitled to proceed as you wish. It would be premature to proceed at this stage.
Before I can agree arrangements, I require from you:
cc your MP; REVOLT; your agent; Charles Waite at NGC
Copy of this letter as a text file is here