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.