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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What Consistency?

I'm sure that most people will have come across jobsworths - the average lower-level bureaucrat views conformity to his/her interpretation of the rules as a virtue. Anyone different is a troublemaker. Things start to fall apart when the people being bureaucratted (oww!) notice that there are apparently very different strokes for different folks....

As you may or may not be aware the (previous?) owner of Weaver's Mill, opposite North Mill was attempting - supported by his EA bureaucrat mates - to build a hydroelectric turbine on somebody else's land. This was pointed out to the EA repeatedly, starting at the outset 4 years ago - but they chose to ignore it in their inimitable fashion. Nasty, inconvenient  reality intruded and the original proposal for a DIY turbine at Weaver's Mill was stymied by the riparian owner of the land in question. 

Well,  back to the drawing board .....  

We at North Mill know* that in the UK hydro turbine abstraction licence process the EA have insisted at other projects on re-doing the licence process from the start (i.e. re-apply, re-advertise , re-determine) if:
  • The turbine type/specification is changed
  • The design amount of water fed to the turbine is changed.
  • The location of the turbine is moved from the original footprint (biggie that!). 
  • The construction method is changed  
After the failure of the EA official's arbitrarily promoted scheme at Avoncliff - as a result of a very simple (elementary some might say) "mistake" - all four reasons above - used to force other applicants to re-apply at projects across the country are now airily waived aside by officials as "not significant differences to the scheme" in the latest hastily submitted, wierdly documented "amended scheme" for Weavers' Mill. Fabricating evidence is one thing - but inconsistency like this is at best headscratching territory and at worst shows clear and absolute contempt for the public and proper process en route to trying to force their own candidate's scheme through...

Oh,  - as an afterthought - we're told it's also likely illegal too - as are a number of other things that the officials at the EA and their mates have been "up to" in the last year concerning a hydro scheme at Avoncliff.

*we're not  making this up - some wackier reasons have been given too - if you've a spectacularly loopy example - please drop it in the comments. My own favourite bit of hydro related nonsense is the EA reputedly trying to fine a mill owner for "taking too much water" when there was a flood. Hydro project agents and consultants gossip as much as anybody else....... ;-)

p.s. For those folks that have been following all this and know about the draft licence at Avoncliff in favour of North Mill in 2010 that - and the "disappearance" of related EA paperwork might be interested to see that when it suits them - the EA indulge in public consultation exercises on draft determinations as is the case for Wolf Minerals in Devon and if that link stops working - a copy here.  Consistently inconsistent some might say. 


  1. A new term being used in some quarters is Civil Perverts rather than Servants as they pervert the intention of the regulations to conform with their limited understanding of what is required. True to form those who have been promoted up the tree, usually dead-mans shoes as nobody with a spark of intelligence is allowed to rise up the ladder, will not correct the idiotic demands. The general public are used as a training aid. Eventually the new-boy (girl, must be politically correct here) will come to understand real life (from a skewed viewpoint) and will have been told what to do. They will never be able to work it out for themselves as that requires common sense and that is not a requirement for the job. Any common sense shown at interview removes the chance of employment. If you have common sense you would not be applying anyway.
    It seems to me, having read bits of the blog, that many levels within the EA hierarchy are conspiring to Pervert the accepted, lawful, due process.
    The only real way forward is to ensure that when the lights start to go out that the first buildings to be deprived of electricity are EA offices and EA staff homes. They are attempting to block renewables so don't let them have renewable electricity. If that is proposed you will probably see an immediate turn around with them all saying "I was just following orders" straight from the little Hitler's some of them are. I apologise for including all Civil & Public Servants in the group. Some of you are good (this only applies to a very limited number of senior staff and most of the staff who don't work in offices) but you joined the club therefore expect to be tarred with the same brush. A friend (aged 50) recently objected to proposed traffic calming methods which had the potential to increase the traffic flow. On speaking to a Public Pervert at his local council he was told that in the persons experience the proposal would make an improvement. On being asked their age the PP involved said 21. How much experience is that he probably hasn't held a driving license for more than 3 years. The I know what I am talking about because I work in the job is the bane of everyone's life.

    1. In my experience the way that much of this works (and we have seen several examples from Henry at Inside The Environment Agency) is that the folk recruiting fresh staff will *not* - in any way shape or form employ anybody they feel remotely threatened by. Quick thinking, knowledgable, numerate able communicators with a smattering of self knowledge need not apply - although mistakes *are* made.....

      I have seen this non virtuous circle bring down several companies - but it seems to operate well in the public sector where there is little or no consequence for being a useless berk.

  2. Officials blew over a million quid pushing a scheme for 4 years and didn't bother to check that the applicant actually owned the land?

    Oh dear...

    Now they've moved the entire scheme and changed the turbine and construction method (one assumes Mr. Tarrant went along as per usual...) and say there's "no change" ...


    And all paid for with our taxes ?

    Looks like some barrister's Christmas might come early.

  3. Is either scheme, on either bank being told to install a fish pass as part of their hydo-power project?


Get it off yer chest - please keep it civil