Featured post

10,000,000 Miles in a Nissan Leaf?

Friday, 18 January 2013

Idiotic, Artless or Stupid?

Well, via the comments here - we've found out that some rather toxic anonymous leaflets have started dropping in Bradford on Avon letterboxes.

It would appear that somebody is trying to "stir it up". So without further ado, a quick drum roll and a cymbal "tish" - heeer...id-izz!  (click on it to embiggen)
Well, start at the top I suppose: 
  • Paragraph 1: The North Mill scheme"poses a serious threat to Bradford on Avon residents and businesses"

Erm, no - not according to The Environment Agency's own flood defence engineers who have approved the project and done all the requisite risk analysis and modelling.

  •  Paragraph 2: The river will be constricted by 30% by North Mill's turbines causing a "back up" which will "flood Bradford

Erm, no  - this displays  profound ignorance of the situation and actually takes a screaming liberty with the actual dimensions of the Archimedes screws proposed for North Mill. In terms of flood risk... since we're talking risks here - the existing proposal from Weaver's Mill to raise the weir by 300mm (*Note1)would have more impact and might well  "soften up" the railway track with some pretty serious (muddy!) engineering consequences... (if it were allowed to happen) 

  • Paragraph 3: Inexcusable attempt at scaremongering.
  • Paragraph 4: This is a straightforward LIE (we've seen a few during this scheme)

The rest of it ... Duncan Hames MP, Rosemary Brown and Malcolm Hewson of Wiltshire Council have no formal influence on the determination of water licences and I understand the last two aren't comfortable with being named on this flyer...

As to the drawing in the flyer, well some considerable liberty taken with a tape measure there... (understatement)
Scaled engineering drawing of proposed North Mill turbines (click on picture)
We stand by what we say both here and on the web site and we are not anonymous. We'd also like to  (a bit archly) remind you that public submissions of concern / criticism etcetera on the Weaver's Mill scheme can quote TARRANT NPS/WR/001709 (link to EA web site) and that our list of the compared features of the two schemes is over on the web site 

Note 1) The proposal from Weaver's Mill to raise the Avoncliff weir by 300mm is still "on the books" as a proposal at Environment Agency -  Bridgewater as of our visit to view the physical applications on 14th January 2013 (not that we don't trust the Environment Agency or... something like that) We actually can't imagine how this might be done without our (very unlikely) collaboration or an amazing re-write of the laws of physics. It should also be noted that this is an attempt to make a "home brew" Kaplan turbine actually work near it's supposed efficiency.... 

And a topical fun photo of the day....

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

What Transparency?
Oh dear, it seems like The Environment Agency aren't happy with us. It would seem they're in a bit of a funk.

Not content with asking for £37,000 for a Freedom of Information request, the EA now refuse to talk to us about anything they deem to be "not directly to do with the determination" and have now wheeled out "discretionary powers" without explanation - ladling on the irony by simultaneously citing "improving transparency".

From our perspective it is foolish and prejudicial to ask idle, time wasting and vexatious questions for what should be entirely obvious reasons. Amazingly, really... we would actually rather be doing something else than communicating with the EA (or worse,  moaning about them) - but we are stuck with it.  The EA are now over three times the supposed legal time limit for deciding on the water licences at Avoncliff and behaving like a stroppy 18 year old .... oh, wait....

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Deja Vu

Well, here we are again (biiig sigh....) . It's only three years - and then some - since we originally applied for water licences and only eight months since the Environment Agency signed the court order instructing them to re-determine the water licence at Avoncliff without further delay. that's a whole 8 months to place public notices in two local newspapers.

The slowness with which The Environment Agency has addressed the matter has made glaciers look like rushing mountain streams.

For a while there (April - October 2012), the EA were actually "processing" the wrong applications - yes, you read that right - the wrong applications. We looked at the communications they sent us and had to struggle with them to get it through to them that  "no.... that isn't what we applied for". The EA were also actually asserting that they weren't constrained by the High Court Order!

We would ask you to get your views in to The Environment Agency ASAP on the two schemes under consideration (only one scheme will go ahead). Our table of comparative merits of the two schemes is over on the web site.

If you are minded to get your ha'porth in:
Application Reference Numbers:
North Mill: EARL NPS/WR/002511 (link to EA web site)
Weavers's Mill: TARRANT NPS/WR/001709 (link to EA web site)

application general enquiries telephone:
Ben Johnstone 01392-352337

If you do snail-mail:
The Environment Agency
Water Resources Permitting & Resource Centre,
Water Resources Team,
Quadrant 2,
99 Parkway Avenue,
Parkway Business Park,
S9 4WF

The delays and mistakes (and worse) emanating from the EA have been piling up for three years - is this a leopard that can change it's spots? Yep - we're biased :-)

Since the Environment Agency has had the applications in hand for three years+ essentially unchanged we believe it should take considerably less than the statutory 120 days (which has been flagrantly ignored by EA officials in the past anyway) or even the new  Penfold Review rules at 91 days to arrive at a determination in this matter. To wilfully extend determination out to the legal limit poses the risk that any scheme at Avoncliff will be delayed potentially until 2014 - we leave the reader to do the arithmetic.

The Environment Agency will not even formally commit to a time frame for this licence determination.