November 26, 2012
Teignbridge DC Refuse Second Application For Fulford Solar Kettle
After diverting around a flood or three I've just returned home from Newton Abbot, where I put on something of a performance before the Teignbridge District Council planning committee as they debated Inazin Solar's application for a 13.5 Ha solar photovoltaic "farm" on land owned by the Fulford Estate near Gold's Cross Hill, between Tedburn St. Mary and Cheriton Bishop. Due to Inazin's apparent difficulty comprehending the subtle difference between MW, MWh and MWh/year I have somewhat impudently christened the project "The Fulford Solar Kettle". I was up first, and this is the approximate text of the impassioned speech I then delivered. I say approximately because I did get a bit excited and thus diverted slightly from my hastily scribbled script on one or two occasions:
Mr. Chairman, Councillors, fellow citizens. As this long and winding planning process has proceeded it seems to me to have become more and more surreal. I'm an expert in such matters. My partner is a surrealist artist!
Amongst other things I'm as mad as the proverbial hatter about this stupid waste of my time. I've been interested in "alternative" electrical energy my entire adult life, and I've been working in the field for the last 15 years. I should be sat in my office working my backside off to save The Planet, not sat here. The applicant is also wasting Andy's time and this committee's time, along with the associated waste of a large pile of public money.
Before getting on to planning matters (which haven't changed significantly since the last time we all gathered together here) I'll talk briefly about surreal stuff like "Democracy" and "Climate Change". We've all had plenty of evidence of the side effects of the latter in recent days!
Going back in time to my most recent set of objections. This nonsensical email (waves printout) from Liz Marsden of Inazin was sent on 8th November at 15:31. In subsequent conversations with a planning officer, who is sadly off sick today, I discovered that by then it was already too late for me to object to the contents of this email, without my rebuttal finishing up as part of the "Last Minute" process.
In view of the surreal nature of all this, and the fact that first time around I never got to deliver my punchline, on this occasion I'm going to start with my punchline, then go through my arguments in reverse order!
I invite Inazin's representative to be bold, beautiful and brave when your turn to speak comes. Stand up and stop wasting everybody else's time and money, withdraw this frivolous, free of charge application. Do the same for the ongoing appeal.
I've spoken in correspondence of "surreal capitalism". Chris Huhne (who sadly was too stupid to keep his flies buttoned) spoke of "casino capitalism" before he fell on his "sword". Does the applicant understand that they are playing in this "Last Chance Saloon". The game is poker, but without cards (waves book then slams on desk).
I invite my fellow citizens, and the committee too if they so desire, to play another little game. Find a video revealing me getting dressed in my current "mourning suit" (whilst removing green and blue tie). YouTube and other video hosting web sites don't count. Leave a comment, explaining the connection (whilst removing black shirt). The first correct comment, and the best correct comment, will both win a tee shirt! The text of the revealed tee shirt reads as follows:
My name is Mintaka.
I was born in the Nebula
of the Constellation of Orion.
These species here are weird.
I am trying to understand them,
but it's impossible.
Now I am waiting to see them
Beautiful and Brave.
Maybe one day…..
Then I moved on to discuss the technicalities of distributing electricity around the countryside of South West England, and finished talking approximately one second before the bell went, signalling the end of my 5 minutes of "fame". As I returned to my seat a Councillor whispered the words "Well done" into my ear.
I sat and listened to Andy's very professional presentation of the planning arguments against the proposal, and the committee debated the issues. After due deliberation their verdict was announced. The application was rejected by 11 votes to 4, with one abstention.
I offered Andy my hand by way of congratulations, but he declined it. On my way out of the building I gave one personalised copy of the "Age of Stupid" DVD to a total stranger. Then I gave one personalised copy of Ben Mack's book "Poker Without Cards" to another complete stranger.
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