19 Jan 2007

Response from save the lakes to npower

Thank you for your support. We want more people to switch their power supply and tell NPower the reason. If it starts to hurt them in their finances they might begin to change their standpoint.

The save the lakes people have asked me to post up the following response to N powers reply to those of you who have been busy tearing up juice contracts and sending them back.

Your good actions are having an effect on Npower and remind all corporations in the energy sector that green action is necessary and that greenwash will be spotted.

I would anser the points as follows

Didcot "A" 's recycling has dropped over the years. This is because of the emissions coming out of their stacks; the Environment Agency forced them to take action to reduce the NOX emissions from their coal burning chimneys. Accordingly, instead of fitting catalytic convertors they decided to burn the ash at a lower temperature, which, because it contains unburnt coal, makes the ash unsuitable for use in the construction industry, which had previously taken the PFA for sulphate resistant concrete. The ash contains too much carbon which makes poor concrete and it is nearly black and looks awful.

Only recently Didcot have invested some money (3M) in an ash benefication plant. This allows the ash to be reburnt (when the plant works as it has not been without its problems)

There are Companies in existence who can recycle Didcot's dirty ash but this means spending money on a joint venture, which Didcot have not been prepared to do. Companies like ROCKTRON in the UK who have started recycling ash from Fiddlers Ferry Power Station (Scottish Power) and there are others in Germany and Australia who are prepared to work with NPower (at a cost to them) but NPower stick to their mantra "We are in the business of generating electricity, not selling ash".

In 1982 The CEGB obtained permission for a series of gravel pits to be used for Didcot's surplus ash. However, when NPower took over and the subsequent Environment Agency directive made their ash unsaleable, they decided to dump to landfill and soon used up the capacity which had been intended to last for the life of the power station.

The original lakes A-D which NPower trumpet as a success for restoration were filled without engineering works so the gravel pit margins remained intact as did the trees and hedges. A local businessman bought the area from NPower and has been responsible for the continuing restoration work which NPower laud as their own.

The most recent infilling H,I,J,P, were carried out with a new Environment Agency Directive. That all landfill tips should be contained with a clay bund. NPower carried out this infilling according to this directive, and laid waste to vast areas of trees, hedges and paid no heed to the pleas of local people to find an alternative site. They completely filled this area in a fraction of the predicted time given by the CEGB. The reason for the rapid filling is: 1. No recycling. 2. Burning more cheap coal in preference to Gas. The Didcot B Power Station was supposed to take over from Didcot A but this has never happened. NPower are making as much money as they can from this ageing power station before they are forced to close it by the EU. They could upgrade the power station but this is unlikely because of the capital costs involved - unless they persuade the Government to do so in the interests of "securing the nation's electricity supply".

With regard to not filling Lake F, it was discovered that Lake F was an illegally dug pit and so did not officially exist. There are rules about filling "spontaneously occuring water features" so they were forced to withdraw this Lake from their Plans but in compensation they decided to make the LAke E bund containing the ash even higher, so they could still get the same amount of ash into Lake E and the two lakes combined. The result will be a wall the height of a bungalow with fencing on top which will mar the landscape for decades.

The fencing can only come down when the Environment Agency decrees it is safe to do so. However, recent experiences on the A-D filling which was completed 10 years ago shows even that area remains unstable without a clay containment. A digger went on to dig out some of the PFA and sunk. A digger went into rescue the digger and that sunk too., So a crane had to be hired to get both diggers out of the quicksand which exists under a crust which is extremely unsafe.

No one know how long it will take for the clay bunded ash to consolidate. Evaporation of water will be replaced by rainfall and as there is no drainage system, the huge basin of slimy grunge will stay contained for decades within its clay bund before anyone will be allowed to walk upon it.

It is absolute nonsense to say there will be a nature reserve there after they have filled. One only has to visit the last filled area to see the concentration camp fences and the blight on the landscape which NPower have created. I have visited several times the privately owned A-D Lakes which NPower trumpet as a success and was cautioned to stay on the paths as I would be at risk if I went on to areas which had been filled. I did venture to put a foot out and could feel the ground quivering beneath my feet and beat a hasty retreat.

The area has been awarded a County Wildlife Status but only after pressure from our Campaign to make the threatened area a CWS. Unfortunately, NPower persuaded the County Council to include their recent infilling(H/I/J/P) as well as Lakes A-D which makes a nonsense of the award. There are ground nesting birds on A-D which are protected by the fences so foxes can't get in. The Landowner has seeded the area with wildflowers to the margins are well stocked with flowers which attract butterflies. The badgers have been displaced, as have the otters and watervoles. There are signs of these round Lake E but soon they will be destroyed because NPower won't look to the alternatives that Save Radley Lakes Campaign Group have put to them.

There is a dirty great big gravel pit right outside the Power Station fence, and currently NPower are selling their PFA to Waste Recycling Group to use as a "capping" as municipal waste is being buried. WRG have now found they have far too much space to allow them to fill within their Licence Period and have asked Oxfordshire County Council for approval to 1. extend their permission, 2. extend the number of lorry movements to bring waste from outside the County to this gravel pit (immature and recently dug) NPower say they can't use WRG's space. We belive this is a nonsense and are trying to get Oxfordshire County Council to make it a condition of their planning permission that they take ash from the Power Station. However, OCC say they can't do this, which we think is also an unreasonable refusal.

Thank you for your support. We want more people to switch their power supply and tell NPower the reason. If it starts to hurt them in their finances they might begin to change their standpoint.


weggis said...

OK Let me test this out on you.

Didcot A is a legacy power station. It’s dirty. It should have gone by now. Not enough effort is being put into clean renewable sources and particularly micro-generation. We need to shift the balance and nail Nuclear. How?

One possibility is to generate demand for clean energy and depress demand for dirty energy. So, maybe we should be asking nPower’s non-Juice customers to demand a switch to Juice.

IE give nPower a positive, rather than negative reason to respond?

Anonymous said...

npower will only change their ways if they see that to coninue as before will hit their profits. Tearing up contracts (and telling them why you have done it)is the only way. Didcot power station has ony about 4.4 years of effective life left. They are willing to ruin a beautiful lake - and who knows what else? - as part of their legacy over those 4.4 years. They deal in dirt and treat us like dirt.

A set of simple instructions on how to tear up a contract and a draft letter to send to npower would help. Has anyone got time to write these?

Anonymous said...

To my shame, I used to work for npower (albeit in the renewables division) and they are the biggest bunch of sharks you will ever encounter. Regarding 'tearing up your npower contract', the best approach is as follows:

1) Switch supplier, to either Ecotricity or Good Energy, neither of which invest a penny in fossil or nuclear generation.

2) Write a letter to Andy Duff, RWE npower's CEO. He's based at their Swindon HQ. Address is:

RWE Npower
Trigonos Building
Windmill Hill Business Park
Whitehill Way
Wilts SN5 6PB

Calvin Jones said...

I have just switched my power to Ecotricity after seeing the following video on Ch4 news.


I also sent an email to CSR and will print this off and send it to Andy Duff as suggested.

Anonymous said...

I have switched from nPower to Good Energy as they are the UK's only 100% renewable energy supplier!

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