General Election – candidates’ positions on the pylon issue – Barrow and Furness

We emailed the following question to all parliamentary candidates Cumbria-wide (Barrow and Furness, Carlisle, Copeland, Penrith and the Border, Westmorland and Lonsdale, Workington):
In the event of Moorside going ahead, what are your views on how the power station should be connected?

Barrow and Furness constituency

Labour candidate: John Woodcock

John Woodcock was elected MP for Barrow and Furness in 2010. He has demonstrated strong support for the anti-pylon cause since 2015.

He told us:
“National Grid has paused its proposed Northwest Coast Connections project. It is great news that the amazing community campaign, spearheaded by the tenacious group Power Without Pylons, will get more time to make the case against giant pylons in the Duddon valley – we will keep fighting to protect our beautiful natural landscape.
Events such as the New Year’s day walk along the proposed pylon route really have kept the pressure up for a rethink on the use of giant pylons and I am proud to have played my part.
If I am returned as your MP on June 8th I will continue to battle hard for the connection to go ahead without the proposed monstrous pylons as an independent Labour voice fighting for the Furness community.”

He pledged, if re-elected, to raise the issues of Moorside and the NWCC project with the Energy Minister as soon as possible.

Conservative candidate: Simon Fell

Simon Fell told us: “Put simply, I believe that the current plans are entirely inappropriate. Placing pylons of any size along the proposed route would permanently damage our natural environment. I would support the routing of cables either offshore or underground and, if elected, I would hope to work with your group, other interested bodies, local representatives, NWCC and the government to find a solution that enables the project to go ahead but without the permanent disfiguration to our landscape that the proposed solution would bring.”

http://www.simonfell.org/news/2017/3/27/say-no-to-pylons-in-the-duddon-estuary-and-furness-peninsula

Liberal Democrat candidate: Loraine Birchall

Loraine Birchall replied:
“I have already lobbied together with the Lake District National Park Business Task Force group for the cables to be buried underground along the whole route.    Given than most of the area around Millom and the Furness peninsular is only just outside the National Park and is every bit as beautiful, it would have a detrimental effect on the area.
I did live in Ladyhall when my son was a toddler (he is 17 next month) and know the area well. I have asked questions during the consultation regarding the ‘costings’ for the subsea element of the project and haven’t received an answer. I was curious as to why the subsea costings have almost doubled in just over two years from the previous consultation, given that the price of steel, fuel and other commodities is actually very low, steel in particular being ‘on the floor’ compared to past costs. Curious, is it not?
If elected, I will lobby and campaign for the cables to be buried rather than erect giant pylons in such a beautiful area.”

[N.B. PWP has also asked National Grid, more than once, for an explanation for the doubling of the HVDC subsea cost estimate, and none has been forthcoming. We believe that their current estimate for this option cannot be justified, and that the technical issues have been exaggerated.]

Other candidates

We have received no replies from our emails to other candidates.

General Election – candidates’ positions on the pylon issue – Copeland

We emailed the following question to all parliamentary candidates Cumbria-wide (Barrow and Furness, Carlisle, Copeland, Penrith and the Border, Westmorland and Lonsdale, Workington):
In the event of Moorside going ahead, what are your views on how the power station should be connected?

Copeland constituency

Conservative candidate: Trudy Harrison

Trudy Harrison was elected MP for Copeland in the by-election on 23 February 2017.
She has previously expressed her opposition to new giant pylons, and joined us on the St George’s Day Black Combe walk in April 2016.

She replied:
“I am fully in favour of cables being taken out to sea and avoiding the use of pylons blighting our area. This is what I would seek to happen and hope to meet with National Grid and ministers, if I am re-elected on Thursday, to make it clear that building pylons is not the only option and demonstrate how damaging it would be to our area if pylons went ahead. Taking the cables out to sea is very much a viable option and one which has local support.
Thank you for getting in touch and I hope I have answered your question.”

Labour candidate: Gillian Troughton

She has not responded to our recent email, but her election literature states:
“I will ensure that our communities have a real say in all major developments, whether they are pylons, wind turbines, or major nuclear investments.”
Her priorities include:

  • “Nuclear – to secure jobs in the nuclear industry for future generations ensure our local supply chain benefits from investment in Moorside and the Sellafield site.”

In an email to PWP back in February, she said:
“I was glad to see North West Coast Connections offering a consultation and taking the opportunity to review their proposals from the feedback and ongoing assessments. I understand local people’s concerns against the prospect of pylons being built and have seen the thousands of people who have protested against this last month. National Grid and the government cannot overlook the hundreds who participated on the march nor the responses to the consultation.”

Liberal Democrat candidate: Rebecca Hanson

She has not responded to our recent email, but in an email to PWP back in February, she said:
“I understand that alternative proposals such as off-shoring the cables have been suggested. I will urge National Grid to give them full attention; although I know that there are significant challenges of strong tidal streams, tunnelling costs, and the firing range. There may be a need for extra national subsidy for this project.
I would like the options of better, more modern pylons that have less visual impact and generating electricity from a Duddon Bridge to fund further cable burial to be considered.
I understand the misery of people who’ve build their livelihoods based on tourism and on those who love their space and their views. 
As your MP I would fight to ensure all avenues are explored.”

Other candidates

We have received no replies from our emails to other candidates.

John Woodcock meeting POSTPONED

The John Woodcock meeting this evening has been postponed due to the event in Manchester.

 

It was due to have taken place this evening (Wednesday 24 May) in the Victory Hall, Broughton-in-Furness, from 6 – 7.30pm.

 

The intention is to re-schedule it for the following Wednesday, 31st May, same time, same place.

We will confirm this later.

John Woodcock meeting, Broughton-in-Furness, 24/5

John Woodcock meeting

John Woodcock, the Labour-Cooperative Candidate for Barrow and Furness, is to hold a meeting at the Victory Hall, Broughton-in-Furness, on Wednesday 24 May from 6 – 7.30pm. He will discuss the anti-pylon campaign to date and focus on where to take the campaign next. John has been a strong and active supporter of the campaign against pylons. If he is returned as the MP he pledges to continue to battle hard for the connection to go ahead without the proposed pylons.

PWP is contacting parliamentary candidates in all the relevant constituencies to ask their opinions on NG’s NWCC proposals and seek support for the Kirksanton to Rossall option. We hope to publish statements on the PWP website.

Moorside project put on hold

Moorside power station and the National Grid connection project on hold

National Grid (NG) formally announced on 16 May that it is “pausing work” on its North West Coast Connections (NWCC) project. This swiftly follows a similar announcement from National Grid’s customer, NuGen, that it too is “pausing work” on its Development Consent Order (DCO) for Moorside, whilst it undertakes “a strategic review to look  at its ownership and technology vendor.”

Work on the Moorside nuclear power plant project and the NWCC project had been progressing in parallel, with a view to submitting DCOs to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) for both projects at around the same time.

Since Toshiba will not now be funding the Moorside project, NuGen is currently seeking alternative investors. Westinghouse, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Toshiba whose reactor technology was to have been used, is bankrupt.  If NuGen makes changes to the technology and design planned for Moorside, this could mean that significant changes are required to the connection.

NG states that the pause is to ensure its project and NuGen’s programme are aligned.

This stalling is potentially good news, as it gives NG more time to consider alternatives to pylons, in particular offshore options favoured by so many respondents to the consultation process.

To summarise the current situation:

  • The Moorside project is currently on hold until financial backing is secured.
  • NG is not expected to submit a DCO until the future of Moorside is clearer.
  • Further progress is unlikely before mid-2018.
  • Moorside and NWCC could be delayed for several years.

Copeland By-election – Trudy Harrison elected

Trudy Harrison has been elected as Conservative MP for Copeland in the by-election on 23 Feb.

She had previously expressed her opposition to new giant pylons, and joined us on the St George’s Day Black Combe walk in April 2016.

In an email to PWP, she said  “I support Moorside, and the nuclear industry locally, [but] given the impact that the National Grid’s plans would have on our local area, I don’t support them in their current form”.

We look forward to working with her to persuade National Grid PLC to change their damaging plans for giant pylons in and around the Duddon Estuary.

January 2017 newsletter

Here’s our January 2017 newsletter to update you on achievements so far, and outline what happens next.

 

8000 consultation responses!

National  Grid have announced that they had 8000 responses to the December 2016 consultation, and 2300 people attended their public events.

This is a great result, especially compared with the 2014 consultation when there were around 1200 responses.  It reflects the efforts of the many people who raised awareness in their communities, ran advice sessions, canvassed, printed and delivered leaflets, put up posters and banners and helped and encouraged neighbours, family and friends to respond.   Well done to everyone who responded and helped in any way.

 

PWP consultation response

You can read the PWP consultation response here – PWP_06-01-2017_cons_resp

Times leader and article

On January 2nd we achieved a leader in the Times.

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