Friday, 27 January 2017

Vattenfall and East Kent windfarm

A very good Vattenfall exhibition and consultation on expansion of the East Kent windfarm off Thanet.

I was more than a little unfair on them suddenly announcing the events - as it turns out they were just a preliminary event and not even part of the formal consultation process which wouldn't start until Summer 2017 and be concluded by early 2018 with the Environment Minister.

How refreshing compared to Riveroak and Wetherspoons - and Chinagate and Infratil - with their hasty formal events and lack of information if not downright porkies.
On the Vattenfall proposal for expansion I have some specific concerns:

1. The 34 extra turbines are scheduled to be placed in front of (landward) and to the sides of the exisitng windfarm which is already the world's largest. This would dominate the seascape of our seaside towns - unless they were placed behind the existing layout.

2. The new turbines are much larger than the existing ones- so again would dominate the seascape if not look completely out of place and industrialised.

3. Placing any of the new larger turbines behind the existing ones would reduce their size and presence - and would allow a fuller review of the shipping lanes.

The ships piled up in front of the windfarm on the Margate Roads sealane are a Torrey Canyon pollution danger to the rare Blue Flag beaches. The most rare in UK as well as Europe.

A clear removal/alteration policy too is needed as the technology changes. Already the turbine design has altered and might even allow for solar panels on the turbines too.

4. The turbines built in previously were a concern in that the towns received no benefit in terms of hotel rooms, guest houses, pubs and cafes and restaurants as a hotel ship was used. Essentially the windfall of workers using the towns was little more than a once a week trip ashore for toilet paper, pot noodles and a boozeup. Nothing particularly wrong with that but not of much benefit to the towns and far less than promised. Any contract would need to specify such matters
TDC has largely destroyed the port and marina so a Harbour Trust with the RNLI, EALP etc, and TDC signoff would be a better arrangement.

Very good Local Community work by Vattenfall too – more later.

5, Vattenfall have an excellent reputation for the current 75 jobs in the port - so rather than just a quick fix of 34 turbines over 4 months or so of installation, how can their port work be properly expanded to 100 or 150 jobs? Not necessarily everyone based at the port warehouse but design or production bases inland and college and university courses too.

6. Similarly how could the Vattenfall sites in Wales and Scotland and Cornwall be expanded? And Vattenfall's plans in terms of how they work with Vestas and Siemens and expansion for their North Sea windfarms in Sweden and Germany etc? Even their cleanup work of Sweden's nuclear sites could be an expanded business stream given the dismal state of Dungeness and Sellafield and not one but 30(!) old UK nuclear submarines left to corrode and contaminate. To say nothing of an organised cleanup of Thor mercury and asbestos schools.

Some detailed information on the current site and electricity generated would be useful as a part of the debate too.

And Vattenfall's view on the Southern Water North Foreland sewage pipes, cleanup Resilience etc.

Siemens and Vestas are excellent companies and it was a loss to Kent that the Sittingbourne factory was lost to Hull. And other Danish companies such as malaria nets and Sumitomo haven't as yet been brought into a Nordic Hub in East Kent simialr to the Benelux Strategy. An ice skating rink and ice hockey team - the East Kent Vikings at the Vattenfall Rink? - and Landings Jorvik attraction would be a fun link with vattenfall and Hugin and Hengoist and Horsa too.

A Vattenfall view on EU funding for a tourist ferry and staff discounts etc would be interesting.

Even Scotland as with Laos the battery of Europe - the Tartan Nation even being considered as the Saudi Arabia of a Renewable North Sea to replace oil. As the Saudis are doing with divesting their fossil fuels by 2030.

Why shouldn't Vattenfall's Scottish windfarms be fast-forwarded as a part of a North Sea Ring of Renewables. And even solar farms and tidal lagoons of Cardiff bay.

I'd hate to think as with the first windfarm that TDC would underperform in the value of the site.

• School trips and exhibitions linked to Turner Centre and Van Gogh Gallery
• What's Vattenfall's view on the $300M Dover port expansion
• The Old Ramsgate Gasworks site needs improving and would make excellent offices.
• The Maritime Museum needs an overhaul of its exhibitions and the 2nd swimming pool isn't finalised as yet.
• A town UNSDG Twitter panel/plasma and Xmas lights is a nobrainer.

7. Beyond expanding the port jobs -and having a meaningful role in the use of Ramsgate port for a tourist ferry etc - how will Vattenfall capitalise on their existing local community work? The Sea Garden with FORS is still derelict. While more could be done with the KM Bike Ride similar to the Canterbury Tour de France previously, plus the derelict Eastcliff bandstand and beach shelters etc. Even a similar Reculver Nature Park hide at Pegwell Bay.

8. At Pegwell Bay there's concern over cables coming ashore through the UNESCO site rather than a few miles away as well as cleanup of the Hovercraft site and nearby St Augustine Pilgrim Trail. Again how refreshing the Vattnefall approach compared to National grid or Shard Aerial trying to hustle through mega-pylons etc. And good to see Sweden and France's Greens in the EU parliament speaking up on similar issues this week.

9. Apart from the Sea Garden I'm aware of East Kent receiving no extra benefit from the windfarm. Certainly nothing in terms of cheaper electricity. With the good folks of British Gas active on their FreeTime policy of one weekend day of free electricity which is similar to my Free Economy of utilities and wider Basic National Income policies it would be worth considering an East Kent electricity levy with say British Gas and Vattenfall. In particular switching EDF and its nuclear power that is toxic in terms of Dungeness and the French and Belgian nuclear sites along the Channel. East Kent's 500,000 citizens have power in voting with their wallet as well as the ballot box - and with their electricity meter.

10. The Vattenfall protection of wildlife is very good: how can this be increased? Designated fisheries and wildlife growth? Goodwin Sands protection? Some turbines now don't have blades but just a vertical oscillaters to reduce bird injuries.

The UK is behind on its renewables targets and the existing Vattenfall sites have been very well done so nothing I say above is outrageously impossible to resolve through working together.

I'd be interested to hear the publics views although I was the only one at the Yacht Club presentation in the evening and only c.30 visitors through the day apparently. At worst shades of the Ramsgate Fire station £1m debacle of lax development.

Time For Change

• A good article by Michael’s Bookshop on the monstrous incidence of unsold/old UK books being destroyed and burnt. Especially on Holocaust Day there must be a better way than book burning in this day and age – and with Ramsgate’s Moses Montefiore Jewish heritage. Shouldn’t the Port take up old English books and textbooks and export them to Asia and Africa and India?

* good the Aerial Shard is rejected today Friday - the usual KCC foolish planning and mega-overbuild

* how foolish the ManstonParkway limps on to another wasteful consultation

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Kent - Rolls Royce of corruption compared to Thailand?

How refreshing for Thai Air and the Thai Government to move promptly on the Rolls Royce corruption scandal.

And Indonesia's Garuda Air and police have stepped up their investigations too.

A dynamic approach sadly lacking in UK and especially Kent mired in the sloth and dirt of civil service corruption and police apathy.

With Rolls Royce linked to corrupt deals for aviation engines across Russia, China, Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia it's astonishing UK has done so little to prevent this rampant corruption - for so many years and across so many nations.

Unfortunately with my politics hat on it's par for the course for UK.

Former PM David Cameron's Anti-Corruption Summit of March last year has highlighted the problem of corruption but with little action.

The Rolls Royce scandal goes back decades and with on-and-off investigations by the Serious Fraud Squad only now being galvanised by the FBI and USA Justice Department.

And this week the Panama Papers detailed the vast numbers of tax haven companies with unsurprisingly British Virgin Islands, a UK colony, or dependent territory if you prefer, with more tax haven companies than all the rest put together. And Barbados and even UK featuring too.

It’s no wonder the latest 2016 crime figures issued last week include fraud and cybercrime for the first time and now constituting a massive 50% of all crimes.

British Virgin Islands companies also a notorious Kent seafront corruption issue in my South Thanet constituency for over a decade of successive councillors and senior civil servants in the Gang of Four covering up the ownership and transfer of the Pleasurama site.

A site that’s the largest seafront development in South East England so hardly one that could be missed.

While the Infratil crimes of removing the required Manston airport pollution monitors -even from Clarendon school - and faking the data and fines with TDC and KCC Toxic Three councils, was also replicated with Gloag/Stagecoach - one of Scotland’s richest people and firms – along with the dozens of illegal flights by KLM and Cargolux etc, jeopardising the public.

Concerning that although the numerous Infratil airports in Europe and NZ were shuttered, they still operate Wellington airport - I'm not sure I'd want to go through that airport with such criminal safety standards, nor their old folks homes in Australia:

Fitzgerald and Clarke and Bogoievski and Baker should be brought back in chains to stand trial for corporate manslaughter. Orange jumpsuit, handcuffs and legirons and private jet ride manacled to an FBI agent.

While Dreamland one of the UK's largest amusement parks in nearby Margate has mysterious Cayman Islands ownerhship with Arrowgate Investments, and transfers over a decade complete with mystery insurance fires and plans for housing and the council leader jailed for compulsory purchase scams.

And Kent Police seem asleep at the wheel with one of their longest-running investigations into the 2015 election fraud of bussing supporters around the country and illegal candidates.

I hope they are just pretending to investigate because if it’s a real investigation they’re hardly worth a 3.99% pay rise without a referendum.

And how monstrous Cllr Driver is the first UK councillor ever to be prosecuted for releasing supposedly secret council document son the Pleasurama corruption with a £20k charge on his house – and silence form the sheep-councillors cowed into submission.

Any councillor – and member of the public – is entitled to any council document at any time.

As KCC Leader I’ll refund all his cost plus a £23k bonus for representing the public and sack TDC legal beagle Tim Howes.

While British Business plc even apart from Rolls Royce has been mired in dirt: Sports Direct breaching the minimum wage guidelines.

BHS's Philip Green purchasing super-yachts as one of UK's oldest High St retailers went bust with dozens of stores and thousands of jobs lost. And a missing £500M pension plan. Despite assurance to solve the issue of dodgy deals all that's happened is the new owner Dominic Chappel being arrested and questions over secret shareholders.

While Lord Grabiner of One Essex Court as BHS Chairman has been roundly castigated by parliament for his wilfully incompetent if not fraudulent role.

All the more astonishing as he's a High Court Judge and QC.

And, despite the multi-million BHS fraud, remains a Judge - hopefully not of fraud cases.

While his One Essex Court colleagues Ian Glick QC and Guy Hollingworth and Steve Palmer of PBI Law seem to have taken their learning form Grabiner and become the go-to barristers for defrauding High Court.

And with the active assistance of the Bar Standards Board regulator and Bar Inns.

With Hollingworth as a part-time conjuror, the Magic Circle is looking less than magical awash with such grease.

Lawyers judging lawyers without jury trial or cameras and closed courts, seems an obvious conflict of interest exacerbated without capped fees and parliamentary scrutiny.

Not so much poacher turned gamekeeper, as poacher remaining poacher and treating the highest court in the land as little more than an ATM for lawyers fees.

Lord Grabiner described as Lord Grabafee by the Financial Times for his inept yet multi-million pound reviews of LIBOR and Bank of England is the apogee of suck systemic fraud.

Thailand is far more active with NACC and ACT anti-corruption and schools training etc - UK only just appointing the dynamic Eric Pickles as Anti-Corruption Minister.

And the latest UK crime figures for the first time included online fraud which is 50% of the total - the City of London police under Chris Greany and much-vaunted Action Fraud scheme is astonishingly simply an email redirection to the local police forces.

A City Police that doesn't police the city at all.

The former South Thanet MP Jonathan Aitken notorious for arms deals with the Al-Yamamah deals with Saudi Arabia - essentially a similar mechanism to the Rolls Royce deals in over-inflating projects and paying a slice to Saudi princes. And with Sangcom and GPT - all not just glossed over on the taxpayer's dime, but the public actually funding over 100 UK MOD civil servants and troops in Saudi to continue the scam.

The East Kent civl service fraud over Ramsgate Port also covered up by the DCLG GIAAA auditor and NAO – refusing to provide details of their investigation or how the police if at all have been briefed.

You’re paying four ways: the council, the fraud, the investigation and the coverup.

The Cameron Summit called to begin to remove such tax havens and highlight the problem of white collar crime of accountants and bankers and lawyers in the City of London such as Holingworth or palmer for Conway. Yet silent on judges such as Mann etc. One result of the overheated London property bubble was the volume of dirty money from African dictators, Arabian royals or Russian oligarchs.

The Gambia's Jammeh dictator may have been ousted by the first democratic election in the former UK colony's since independence - and by Senegal military action - but he took the national bank's money and bullion with him.

No doubt such funds will appear in London or Zurich in the next few months - his bolthole in Equatorial Guinea already faces questions by Swiss prosecutors over President Obiang's son's wealth. While Saddam and Gadaffi also raided the national piggy bank before their fall.

Bill Browder the instigator for the Magnitsky Act has detailed the volumes of Russian dirty money from the polonium and Perepilichnyy murders to parliament too - Surrey Police dragging their heels on that case along with the reopened Deepcut army barracks murder-suicides.

And not one UK tax haven closed down yet -whether offshore in the Caribbean with BVI or Caymans, or inshore closer to home with Jersey and Guernsey and Isle of Man. The silliness of Brexit, if it goes ahead, making all the British Isles one giant tax haven for Mickey Mouse firms like One Essex Court or corrupt deals as Sangcom.

USA or Canada wouldn’t tolerate any of these regimes for five minutes let alone five decades.

It's good to see that the Thai government and Thai Air aren't Roll Royce's teabag carriers and are taking a more forensic approach than UK to these crimes.


* Trident: what a mess - kept secret from Parliament if not PM for over 6 months and through the Trident debate. UK almost nuking Disneyland by accident speaks volumes on the safety of nuclear weapons - and what must the Russian rusty nukes be like? Or the 30 UK nuclear subs simply left to rot rather than cleanup. As with nuke waste at Sellafield and Dungeness and Channel nukes in France and Benelux. Unsafe junk and military vanity and waste.

* Vattenflall windfarm - good points and more details later

Monday, 16 January 2017

Sapan takes Thailand and UK to the bridge

Thailand must be heading up the hit parade with last week the lilting melody of PM Prayut's Sapan bridge song, and a luk thung melancholia with sad death of Lop Burirat in December.

And (even before the devastating Deep South floods) with Thailand developing its Year of Infrastructure along the road to democracy, as well as overhauling its bus and minivan transport networks, surely UK and Thailand should be working more closely together?

The London Garden Bridge project will undoubtedly be scrapped as wasteful.

But there certainly is plenty of capacity in the Routemaster double-decker bus as well as UK's train and metro cars - and indeed its auto industry recording one of its best years ever must be ideal for the Thai auto parts industry and future space industries.

A Team Thailand through ASEAN and Europe would surely be able to better deliver on key projects:

* ASEANRail linking the Greater Mekong region capitals of Yangon, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and HCMC - already the road and rail links at the Thai-Cambodian border are moving apace and with links to Battambang this year.

* ASEANRail-Yunnan: linking Singapore and the other ASEAN cities through to Yunnan would enable better coordination of China's Silk Road and Belt rail programme - any day now the first Shanghai-London train should be arriving in UK heralding smoother and better trade across Eurasia.

* ASEANRail: Vinh-Vientiane would be part of the programme to tie-in the rail and port network effectively, both for trade and resilience against disasters. Already the long-destroyed Sihanoukville-Phnom Penh route is open - and with the the first tourism cruise ships already docking at the waterfront. Cambodia’s beaches cited by The Sunday Times this week as one of the top 100 tourist attractions – concerning no Thai beaches featuring

* ASEANRail Upgrades: the right behind of tunnel and bridge infrastructure should be coupled with hispeed upgrades, and Digital Railway as well as doubletrack rail - or Thailand would have invested billions simply to be left on the slowtrack. Hardly ideal with Thailand and India as the world's leading rice exporters and mere hours from billions of hungry mouths in China and Africa.

* Deep South Resilience: clearly the floods have washed away much of the existing infrastructure requiring both a rebuild and rethink on the best structures and sites for the future. Relocating San Francisco or even Port-au-Prince from earthquake and storm damage would be problematic, but not necessarily so in improving Thailand's Southern routes.

* ASEAN Bridged: Thailand's infrastructure experience must be relevant for the Philippines and Indonesia and better links through their 7,107 and 13,000 islands and tourism and rice freight industries. Certainly of more use than some of the more fanciful and wasteful Dawei and China-Laos schemes, and the risk of overbuild adding to Climate Change and traffic jams - Ecuador replacing Thailand as the new G77 Chair has much to offer in its eco-work.

All of which dovetail with the Bering overland route, the first Amur bridge now underway between Russia and China, and Cape2Cairo completion through East Africa.

And here in Kent, the final details on the four new Lower Thames Crossing bridge/tunnels are underway around the Ebbsfleet Garden City regeneration and Paramount movies theme park, plus tweaks to Ramsgate and Dover ports. And finalisation of HS2 and HS3 hispeed routes given the success of HS1 in linking Kent to London and Eurasia with the Channel Tunnel.

The latest EU phase of railway reform, as with a Gibraltar tunnel to MENA or wider Sarajevo Shift, only improving such links in a 21st century Europe.

Even the viability of a Scotland-Ireland bridge/tunnel to speed up both tourism and freight and take some of the strain off southern England's ports and road/rail network is raised given the silly fuss of Brexit impacting on Northern Ireland and Eire. And the current government finances in turmoil at Stormont, with RHIGate the most absurd Climate Change scandal of heating empty buildings for profit.

While Thailand must be best-placed to, lead on 21st century initiatives such as zero construction injuries, Corporate Social Responsibility and Climate Change actions.

Already Thai Tourism is stepping forward on new Waterfront tourism and connecting ASEAN programmes, as well as weddings/honeymoon and medical tourism niches, as a part of Thailand 4.0.

Kent and Thailand's Orchids and silk would be long-standing fashions for those areas too.

With ASEAN50 this year, Sapan bridging Asia and Europe hits all the right notes.

Time for Change

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

East Kent New Year's Resolutions #1 - Garbutt for KCC Leader 5th May 2017

Stop the Pollution. Stop the Corruption. Stop the Construction.

First set of New Years' Resolutions for East Kent.

10 signatures needed in Thanet to stand against Shonk and end UKIP and Farageland. And 10 for Lenham and end Carter and Toxic Three.

Please email or @timg33 - name/address etc.

New East Kent from 2017:

1. Dig up Manston runway and protect aquifer. No SHP New Town. No airport (or Parkway farce). A park.

2. End Pleasurama BVI fraud etc and clear the site for public consultation.

3. End Dreamland Caymans nonsense etc: an amusement park with effective public scrutiny. Publish all TDC costs/fines as Pleasurama.

4. Police investigation into Port GIAA £500k fraud and end Brettgate Phase 1 cement works that's slipped through - blatant TDC fraud as with 0% salaries: public paying twice for crooked civil servants.

5. End Pavilion Wetherspoons Britain's biggest boozer with no asbestos details nor councillor scrutiny. Bizarre and random approval: TDC at its worst.

6. Develop EKFOS East Kent Film Office and Studio - no more Chatham Dockyawn filming monopoly.

7. Discovery Park Stem Focus: TB etc.

8. Close and clear Thor mercury with police investigation.

9. Belgian police to take on 2015 electoral fraud investigation from Kent Police and 20 other forces - cops hiding behind their pensions in the long grass.

10. Sell off KCC Tobacco and Fossil Fuel shares/ pensions - idiotic.

11. Demolish Arlington House: 60's tower block eyesore for expanded Dreamland regen

Ghost Town Ramsgate with more bars etc closed and blocked sewers and inaction form our expensive councils: £2BN KCC, £30M TDC, £400k RTC.

UKIP pensioners and racists failed already with Manston and BrettGate, and even Farage describing them as low-grade.

KCC election 5th May 2017 - your chance to get rid of them and begin a New Kent.

Or Carter and Wild and King, and Shonk and Latchford and Heale and Aids Ken for 5 more years?

They have failed.

Time for Change


* Dodgy lawyers: no news on Lord Grabiner of One Essex Court and BHS fraud nor Glick and Magic Guy Hollingworth. Not LawStep and Conway poising as HMRC officials. Far too little scrutiny of lawyers and Bar and fees using the public's courts etc etc. Fee cap and price list needed? Why barristers selfemployed but incorporated/acting as companies? Tax dodge?

* Outrageous still 2 homeless tents on Ramsgate seafront after 6 weeks - where are the cops and council? Multi agency muddle or just idle? And a few cars/vans on the pedzone: clamp and crush needed as in any seaside town.

* A late Xmas present: Council tax strike - refuse to pay: civil disobedience until a corruption rebate and 10% tax cuts. Why does no Kent political party highlight tax cuts on public sector bloat? £90k-plus TDC salaries for failure and KCC most £100k salaries in local gov? Massive over 10% reserves for failure?

* 10 signatures needed in Thanet to stand against Shonk and end UKIP and Farageland. And 10 for Lenham and end Carter and Toxic Three.

Please email or @timg33 - name/address etc.