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Friday, 26 October 2012

What Does "Without Further Delay" Mean?

After all the toxic EA behaviour that characterised the first water licence determination at Avoncliff we hoped that the organisation would abide by the terms of the High Court Consent Order that all parties agreed to on the 9th February 2012 and that a professional approach to discharging their statutory obligations would be adopted by the EA.

Unfortunately professional approach and statutory obligation appear to be alien concepts to certain individuals at the EA.

The Consent Order  contains an undertaking from the Environment Agency "to consider the two competing applications on their merits in accordance with the approach outlined above, in order to determine what is in the public interest and to do so without further delay" (underline mine)

We weren't aware at the time of the Judicial Review that our licence had been approved by determining officials but blocked and hidden by certain other officials... but anyway -  we agreed to a competitive determination on the merits of the schemes.

So... to the present process....

The Environment Agency must have a pretty elastic interpretation of what constitutes "without further delay" -

It is now 261 days since the EA signed the Consent Order (the Consent Order was enacted / given force of law by a Judges' signature 198 days ago)

The statutory window is 120 days beyond which non-determination appeals to The Planning Inspectorate apply (Extensions only by agreement with applicant - in this case there have been no such agreements this time around)

It is likely that the provisions of The Penfold Review imposes a 13 week (91 days) guillotine on statutory determination undertaken by the EA also apples in this case.

The High Court mandated re-determination of water licences at Avoncliff is clearly being messed with by the EA as two applications have been submitted and NOT DETERMINED and now, the EA are asking the parties at Avioncliff to re-apply again.

Bear in mind here that North Mill and Weavers's Mill have already been subjected to two rounds of licence applications each and the EA have accepted those applications and not determined them  - and they have now asked Weaver's Mill to submit yet another application for full process (Adverttising, Public Consultation and subsequent determination = 6 months ++)  North Mill's full licences have already been advertised, been though public scrutiny, have been determined and peer checked and are ready to go.

We have to say it again - what is going on ?

What are officials at the EA playing at ? In our opinion they are not working in the public interest, or adhering to their statutory duty and wasting piles of public money.

Are they repeatedly going around a loop in the hope that one time they'll get the answer that they have been trying to illegally impose from the start?

We've asked about what's going on - but the answer has a  £37,500  price ticket dangling from it - and from previous experience it'll take 18 months and considerable effort to winch the truth (or a version of same) out of the officials who are busy perverting this whole process - although our agent will be happy to bill the EA again......

What's actually pretty exasperating is that the EA have claimed and asserted that they aren't bound by the provisions of the High Court Consent Order -  All we can say is blimey!

In all quite a mess... and not, it has to be said - improving with the passage of time.

Why don't they want to give us our full licence? 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Sometimes you do wonder what people are thinking...

"Team EA" truly excelled themselves today.

Today, the Avoncliff hydro power applicants received an EA missive containing dozens of demands for a very diverse assortment of information some of which is straight out of  la-la land and much could very easily be considered inappropriate,  overly intrusive or simply pointless. According to a straw poll of hydro power project agents conducted by telephone - the list of questions is utterly unprecedented. We keep saying this - but really - what is going on?

A sample :

EA Question:
"Exactly how profitable will the scheme be over the next five years"?

It depends how much it rains
(sorry for the shouting - but really...)

Let me remind the Environment Agency about rain:

 "The Drought could last until Christmas" © Environment Agency / BBC April 2012

Through March and April of this year I think we all remember the scare stories about drought doom etc... "unless it rains" (™Environment Agency 2012). 

sometimes.... the question explains more than the answer.  
The EA profess expertise in hydro power ?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Guinness World Records

The Environment Agency have transparently fouled up their second try at determining the water licence*(1) at Avoncliff  and again they have hugely exceeded the statutory time limit for doing their job.... and... when we asked them what was going on - The EA have asked for £37,500 to fulfil their obligations under the Freedom of Information Act  - which it has to be said is couched in some truly classic "Yes Minister" language

Bear in mind that the EA have some history here and we previously paid £1000 to have pivotal legal information hidden from us and were lied to for 18 months before the EA were carpeted by the Information Commissioner and our FoI fee was refunded.... and the sordid, unacceptable truth came out.

We are entering The Environment Agency into a number of new categories over at The Guinness World Records. (Officially Amazing) - That is - f they actually accept our applications for several new categories of records... 

Does The Environment Agency have something to hide related to water licences at Avoncliff?

We have a request for £37,500 that shouts - abso-lutely!

Sir Humphrey Appleby would be positively beaming with pride

(1)  According to the Judicial Review Consent Order there is only one scheme viable at Avoncliff -  the EA signed up to be bound by this but they are now soliciting what looks likely too be 4 or more licences - really - what is going on?