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« Climategate and the exclusionary principle | Main | Fighting mad »

Tunnelling for money

Christopher Booker has uncovered some important new information about Tim Yeo's financial interests. Until recently Yeo's interests in Eurotunnel looked rather odd next to his array of interests in green businesses. Now the connecting link has been revealed:

Attention has lately been drawn to the declared business interests of both Lord Deben and Mr Yeo – who last year earned more than £200,000, on top of his MP’s salary of £80,000, working for companies mostly involved in “green” energy schemes. The apparent exception was his role as “environmental adviser” to Eurotunnel, by whom he was paid up to £1,000 an hour. But Eurotunnel, it turns out, is planning to run a £220 million “interconnector” power cable through its service tunnel, to provide back-up from French nuclear power stations for the times when our wind turbines don’t supply enough power to the national grid.

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Reader Comments (73)

Telegraph hat-tips Bishop! -

'Thanks to diligent researches by readers of the climate-sceptic blog Bishop Hill, it emerges that ..'

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:28 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

"Tunnelling for money"

I think that is what they started to do, but now it is more like "Fracking for Money" the little bitty shakes on the periphery are becoming tremors. The world feels and assess them all!

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:50 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

In Baseball, betting on baseball is bad, betting against your own team is the worst sin imaginable.

If you are betting against wind power and for the need of backup power from France, isn't it identical to betting against your own team?

Aug 26, 2012 at 5:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Thank god I left the UK 35 years ago for Australia (not that it's perfect).
Why on earth do you continue to allow such bare faced corruption to keep going on?
With UK politicians it's just one scandal after another after another. And heads never seem to roll, they just get wreathed.

Aug 26, 2012 at 6:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze


The public is not yet interested enough to put a stop to this corruption - you have to read Christopher Booker or James Delingpole or blogs to find out what is going on. Most people have been "educated" to believe in the BBC and auntie won't reveal any of this corruption as it is too tied in to the corruption.

Aug 26, 2012 at 7:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

These people are clearly stupid because they have not taken simple precautions to avoid discovery**.

**Offshore trusts investing in the UK do not have to declare ownership. This and British Law is why the UK is the money-laundering capital of the World.

Aug 26, 2012 at 8:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

This just confirms that at least some 'greens' don't really believe the party line at all - they just know a source of income when they see it.

Aug 26, 2012 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

This will only work if the French have any electricity left over after supplying the Germans first.

Aug 26, 2012 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterivan

What can we - the truth seekers- do about this blatant corruption? Is there any sign of an increasing momentum against it? If writing to MPs gets us nowhere, the BBC won't report it and only a few newspapers mention it, do we just sit back and let it happen? Will they really appoint Deben? What if they do?

Aug 26, 2012 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Aug 26, 2012 at 6:24 AM | LevelGaze

Level' ... it's not like we don't have corruption of our unionised political system in Oz, the current feral government revels in the stench of its corruption.

Aug 26, 2012 at 8:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

I await with baited, but not held, breath for the reports from Messrs Black, Harrabin and Peston for the BBC.

The problem with Parliament dealing with issues like this is that the matter needs to be raised by an MP of stature that has no skeletons of their own. Any takers?

Aug 26, 2012 at 9:25 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

How do I get on this, pardon the pun, gravy train?


Aug 26, 2012 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

The tunnel route for an interconnector is interesting technically. Several years ago I investigated with CEGB the possibility of running a pipeline through their service tunnel under the Severn. The idea was abandoned when it was realised that the pipeline would have to be broken down into electrically-insulated lengths to avoid dangerous levels of induced currents. This tunnel was considerably shorter than the Channel Tunnel. I'm guessing that the tunnel already has pipelines through it. Would this phenomenon be a problem in this situation, I wonder?

Aug 26, 2012 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

So what are the solutions to the corruption of politicians? Laws that ban them from any other employment (paid or otherwise)? Limits on how many years you can spend in Parliament as a politician (thus negating career politicians with no experience of anything other than being a politician)? A populous willing to rise up and "hold accountable" politicians for their actions? Or a combination of all?


Aug 26, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

The existing cross-channel links are DC. I assume this would be the same. Nuclear power stations run in baseload and cannot provide back-up. They can provide us with electricity when our system is on the short side. But as ivan says, do the French love us enough to supply electricity against competing demands from the Germans and the rest of Europe?

The existing interconnectors are supposed to be sufficiently "reliable", such that simultaneous failure of both 1GW interconnectors is an incredible event (ie not planned for), but incredibly, simultaneous "failure" of both interconnectors has already occurred on more than one occasion. Can we trust the French enough to depend on their good will?

Aug 26, 2012 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Hi, Streetcred,

Yup, it's pretty bad here too. But you have to admit that the Brits get away with it with far more panache and insouciance :)

Aug 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

The service tunnel is the sole means of escape for rail passengers in the event of, for example, a fire on a train. The service tunnel is quite small and it is patrolled regularly by the safety teams.

These cable systems will require a supporting structure and it is difficult to imagine how the primary purpose of the service tunnel (means of escape) can be maintained whilst all available space will be occupied by scaffolding with teams of hairy ***** steel erectors drilling holes in the tunnel wall, fixing channels and tee sections, followed by hordes of burly cable pullers with their rollers and winches, chanting "heave. ..heave..".

Surely, if the service tunnel becomes a construction site, and of course members of the public are excluded from entering such workplaces, how can rail services be operated through the running tunnels without a means of escape for the passengers?

Aug 26, 2012 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

There is an interesting profile of Gummer in this 1995 Independent link

His brother is a Tory donor:
Brother Peter Gummer, now Lord Chadlington, started the PR firm Shandwick, now Weber Shandwick: and is Chief Exec of Huntsworth PR group,

He was named in the "Cameron land purchase" controversy last year, He is the president of David Cameron's constituency association,

"Weber Shandwick is the UK subsidiary of Weber Shandwick Worldwide, one of the biggest global PR companies (owned by Interpublic). The company has strong ties to the Labour Party through its CEO Colin Byrne...the former flat-mate of Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson. He was Labour’s Chief Press Officer up to the 1992 election, working with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on media relations."

"Alex Deane, head of public affairs is a former chief of staff to David Cameron and held the same role for Tim Collins, himself now managing director at Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, when Collins was a Conservative shadow cabinet member."

Lobbying clients listed in 2011 include: Energy Saving Trust, Green Ocean Energy and RWE npower (one of the four Forewind consortium members of which Deben is chairman).

They have also been lobbyists for BNFL and have used climate change to promote it. "Weber Shandwick has a long history of involvement with the nuclear industry,Weber / BNFL's strategy has been to position nuclear as clean, safe, secure and climate-friendly."

When Gordon Brown was Chancellor, his brother Andrew was their Media Strategy Director, he moved to EDF in 2004.

Tim Yeo has an article on the Tory Reform Group website called "Green Gold"

In a separate article at TRG, he is co-author with John Gummer and Minister for Cities Greg Clark of a pamplet sponsored by the British Wind Energy Association, "Copenhagen and Beyond", written

Note the involvement of Oliver Letwyn: "So, firstly, why has the idea of wasting so much money suddenly so seized Cameron that he has asked Oliver Letwin to liaise with Corlan Hafren in pushing the scheme, which we are told would be piloted through the Commons by Hain?" More Labour links. Hain was a promoter of the Green Alliance,

Letwyn is the author of Cameron's Big Society, writing here in 2010:

"The opportunities will increase, there is a considerable trend in that direction and in a four or five years time when there is a bit more sunlight at the end of the parliament – then there will be more funding available for community groups whether it is in the form of the Big Society Bank or other funding streams," said Letwin.

In 2002 it was the neighbourly society:

In 2003 David Blunkett described him as adorable and Letwin even said that he was not really a Tory.

Whilst a student at Cambridge, he was an active member of the Cambridge University Liberal Club. When asked about his membership of the Liberal club he explained:

"I was also a member of the Fabian Society. But I am sorry to have to tell you that this was because I was interested in the thoughts of Liberals and Fabians (and still am) rather than because I was ever a Liberal Democrat or a Fabian."

He writes here, on the UN environmental governance site, about locking in "green growth"

"At a time of short-term economic instability – when developed economies are struggling to return to growth, when the emerging economies are still growing rapidly, and when developing economies are desperately seeking to eradicate poverty – the global economy also faces a continuing long-term threat from the twin effects of climate change and the unsustainable use of natural resources.

Unless substantial action is taken to remedy these twin long-term threats, we may emerge from the present economic instability only to find ourselves confronted by another and ultimately even more serious set of problems. So Durban and Rio+20 must give a concerted push to more sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient development."

This a re-statement of his article in the December 2011 edition of the UNEP magazine, edited by the DT's Geoffrey Lean,

He is described as the Minister for Government Policy, UK.

Aug 26, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

Check out the date on this story

Aug 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

I would just like to thank all those Bishop Hill-ites whose researches into Gummer's business interests played auch an invaluable part in helping me to put together the jigsaw of my piece on Deben and Yeo in my Sunday Telegraph column this morning - which was largely concerned with adding to the story this ridiculous plan for a new Severn Barrage. A couple of weeks ago I did add to the overall story the fact that Gummer is chairman of the consortium planning the world's most lucrative windfarm (picked up last week by the Mail on Sunday). But I was left puzzled by the nature of Yeo's consultancy with Eurotunnel, Further digging led me to this helpful piece in Business Green last year (
which reported under the headline '250 million euro Channel Tunnel interconector to boost wind power' that Eurotunnel was indeed planning to make money out of a scheme directly related to Yeo's greenie moneymaking concerns,
Your readers above quite rightly point out some of the practical drawbacks of this scheme, and of course existing nuclear power plants are not equipped to provide instantly available back-up for the deficiencies of wind turbines, But tho chief reason why the French are already able to export so much electricity to the UK through the existing 2GW interconnector is the surplus power coming from their 58 nuclear power stations (as we see from the Neta website this frequently exceeds the contribution of wind to our national grid by 5 or 10 to 1). But I hope some of your readers will find useful all the other bits of the jigsaw I put together in today's column, to which Bishop Hill and your readers,as I say, made such a useful contribution... ,

Aug 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterchristopher booker

Another earlier link

Just a thought if France has got all this Nuclear power how many Wind Farms has it got.
France has also got a Barrage across a river somewhere.
Also with all its Nuclear Power has France actually met its requirement for 20% Renewables by 2020

Aug 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

You think France worries about a little thing like an EU requirement? No way, they do not have to worry, they have the energy to spare but it will be used first for France, second will come Germany, then Sweden and Denmark (the latter home to failed wind farms) then anywhere but Great Britain.

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

The choice of Gummer for this position reeks. The problem lies at the top:-

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:30 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

@ Aug 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM | Jamspid
France does not appear in any of the IEA Wind reports, so it looks as though France does not have any windfarms. Very canny of the French...
As to the Barrage de la Rance, operational since 1966: even though it is in a location with enormous tidal differences it is a pathetic electricity generator; 600GWh per year, c.f.
If it really happens, the "planned" Severn barrage will not be any better. The French never built another tidal generator; I think they already have enough maintenance cost on this one.

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

Aug 26, 2012 at 9:34 AM Ian_UK

The tunnel route for an interconnector is interesting technically. Several years ago I investigated with CEGB the possibility of running a pipeline through their service tunnel under the Severn. The idea was abandoned when it was realised that the pipeline would have to be broken down into electrically-insulated lengths to avoid dangerous levels of induced currents. This tunnel was considerably shorter than the Channel Tunnel. I'm guessing that the tunnel already has pipelines through it. Would this phenomenon be a problem in this situation, I wonder?

Ian - that's interesting.

What would have cause dangerous induced currents? How would they have been dangerous?

Just interested.

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:39 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:32 PM Albert Stienstra

France does not appear in any of the IEA Wind reports, so it looks as though France does not have any windfarms. Very canny of the French...

There are loads of windfarms in Normandy. Dunno about the rest of France.

The first sign of more being installed is an outbreak of home-made "Non aux éoliennes" signs, after which another batch go up.

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

La Rance tidal barrage:

With a peak rating of 240 Megawatts, generated by its 24 turbines, it has an annual output of approximately 600 GWh.

The development costs were high but these have now been recovered and electricity production costs are lower than that of nuclear power generation (1.8c per kWh, versus 2.5c per kWh for nuclear).

"The mean water level in the lagoon is higher than it was before the construction" ... Never!

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Drake

The other aspect of this tunnel power connection is the possible implication that the government means to continue to suppress any exploitation of huge shale deposits in the UK. These activities to line the various pockets are a crime against the nation in many many ways.
Great post by DennisA.

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:47 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Warning mad rant coming up

Gummer is famous for 2 things
1st stuffing a burger in his daughters face.Tut tut..
2nd crying in front of Mrs Thatcher as he and the rest of the cabinet stuck the knife in.
At least they had the courage to do it to her face and not in her back.

Mrs Thatcher when she went (it wasnt about the poll tax) it was about Europe (and her).
The famous scene where she calls all her ministers into her office at number 10.
She asks them will you support me over Not signing the Masticht Treaty.
They all said NO and Gummer cried.OMG

So John Major signed the Mastict treaty. Europe has a single Currentcy and almost a single Army.
With these power cables under the Channel a Single Power Grid
Basically all the EU Countries and EU power companies Buying and sharing their electricity. OK Great So we can have all these useless windfarm and Germany can shut all its Nuke power stations.We can afford National Echo Vanity.

HOWEVER Greece is a member of the EU and its Bankrupt.Spain and Italy and UK aint far behind
Greece is near Yugoslavia and that had a civil war. Syria,s having a civil war.A Greek Anachist Terrorist group shot dead the British Military Concil and they Kidnapped Christian Tikel back in the 1980sl.Greek Austerity Riots where Greek police shot dead a 15 year old petrol bomber. Ermmm

If Greece is bankrupt and pulling out the Euro .Whats to stop all the French and German Power Companies saying" Greece ows us a load of Euros we are Switching Greece off.".
What if there were mass power cuts across Greece.And Greece aint got the money to buy Windmills.
I dont know how bad it is out there but ive heard stories of people scavanging rubbish dumps in Athens

European Superstate in Super Trouble.

Aug 26, 2012 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Re windmills in France.

As far as I know they are all over the country. There are three sets of them in my area - near the Spanish border - but what they actually hook into I've never been able to find out.

There was a proposal to erect a dozen of them in our commune so we had a village meeting about it. It might have been approved if I hadn't pointed out that there was no provision for moving any power generated anywhere. When those that were proposing the plan all they had to say about that was that it would be used locally - nearest local habitation, two houses 25km away.

Aug 26, 2012 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Martin A

I expect you know offshore windfarms are planned at Le Tréport, Fécamp and Courseulles-sur-Mer.

Aug 26, 2012 at 1:37 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Martin A, Aug 26, 2012 at 1:33 PM | ivan

Since France appears to have some windmill farms, I wonder why they do not appear in the IEA wind reports (2011 as well as 2010 editions; I did not check others), where major wind energy countries are listed. Normally, when something important is going on in the world, France ususally is very quick to show it is among the best in class. Could it mean that the French wind energy does not amount to anything serious?

Aug 26, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Martin A, Aug 26, 2012 at 1:33 PM | ivan

Sorry, hit "create post"too quickly. Continuing:
According to IEA 2011 France has 6.8 GW wind energy installed, there must be a reason France is not an IEA member...

Aug 26, 2012 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

Aug 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM | Jonathan Drake
"The mean water level in the lagoon is higher than it was before the construction" ...

I think the mean LOW water level probably IS higher

Aug 26, 2012 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

Christopher Booker

Many thanks for trying to raise the profile of instances such as this. The closer we get to the front pages with transgressions in science and politics then the closer we get to correcting this farce of an energy policy.

Aug 26, 2012 at 4:02 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

I remember reading that the UK/French Interconnector was intended to be a bi-directional link, and would help out with peak demand on both sides thanks to the usual 1 hour time difference. Whether this has ever happened I don't know, but it seems to be purely used for importing surplus nuclear power these days.

As to the "induced currents" - my understanding is this: if using DC there will be a considerable magnetic field developed around the cable, however this would only induce a voltage in nearby metalwork if the power being transmitted varied up or down, which is the principle of a transformer. Conversely if it was operating with 3 phase AC there would be continuous changes in magnetic fields, but these would largely cancel out if the relative conductors are close together. I am happy to be corrected!

Aug 26, 2012 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

It's a DC interconnect [so you don't have to synchronise the two grids] but high voltage. The magnetic field generated by a conductor is proportional to I so this is kept 'low' by having 270 kV at 2 GW giving 7,400 A.

Assuming a .15 m radius conductor, because of the inverse square law, at 2 m distance it's equivalent to a conductor carrying 42 A!

Aug 26, 2012 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

I bet Gummer's wondering who on earth Bishop Hill is, and why he hasn't seen him yet on the red benches...

Aug 26, 2012 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

This is a classic "hedge" offsetting one bet with another.
Expect this one is crooked. Golmann Sach were lucky not to have been prosecuted for
betting against their own investors

Here the slimeball, Yeo, is busy promoting wind energy and also the backup system when the
wind inevitably fails.

How can someone so obviously corrupt keep his position?

Aug 26, 2012 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

The experts have always warned us that we tamper with nature at our peril:

"The power of the tides may be made available to produce power on a large scale. If extensively exploited over a longer period of time, however, it might result in bringing the moon too close to the earth for safety"

- John P. Lockhart-Mummery, M.A., B.C., F.R.C.S., in "After Us, or The World as It Might Be", 1936.

Cited in "The Experts Speak" by Cerf and Navasky

Aug 26, 2012 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Leaving aside the politics, the policy is fine, and a continuation of ongoing projects interconnecting countries power grids. (Folks can find a map here). The point of these interconnects is to balance load between a variety of green and greenish generation methods. The French link, of course, can network in the nuclear plants in France, the Norway links take advantage of pumped water storage and other hydro capabilities. Spain, in addition to rain has a lot of wind on the plain which it already covers a significant fraction of its electrical needs from. Ireland has potential excess wind generating capacity and there are plans for new tidal electric generation in France. Although not shown here, Sahara solar could easily be linked to Europe by the same technology. A hidden implication is that as long as a number of countries continue to develop nuclear political decisions to forego may not have much of an effect on the continental scale, with the developers selling power to the others. If this is the case we may see many such links between Japan and Asia.

The net is to ameliorate the intermittent element of wind, solar and tidal power. Repeating Rabett (Ms. Bunny has problems with that) wants to point out again that in a Science Policy Forum article entitled "A Road Map to US Decarbonization", (available in part in the Energy Bulletin) Reuel Shinnar and Francesco Citro point out that while nuclear is well suited to support baseload electricity generation, solar is ideal for handling peak demand, being most available, when most needed, during the hot days.

Aug 27, 2012 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

But would this, and the other proposed interconnects, necessarily carry only nuclear-generated electricity?

I'm not well informed about how the French view planning applications for wind farms, but if I was representing a company wishing to sell wind turbines and/or the electricity generated into the UK market, then I would certainly explore the idea of bringing it from across The Channel. Consequently there might be fewer NIMBY objections, and I've often seen North East France referred to as a relatively economically depressed region.

[I have also, in the past, heard Pas de Calais described only half-jokingly as "The London Borough of East Kent.]

Aug 27, 2012 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The Code of Conduct for UK MPs includes the following:

6. Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents.

No mention of saving the planet at the expense of the nation, no mention of acting in the interests of the EU at the expense of the nation but also no system to prevent MPs doing all of the above.

Aug 27, 2012 at 1:51 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Of course, I'm sure that no person or company would be so dishonest as to import nuclear-generated electricity from France, and re-sell it at a higher price in the UK under the pretence of it being 'wind-generated'. :)

Aug 27, 2012 at 2:02 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

There is already an electrical cable under the channel connecting France and the UK. Has been for years and it operates both ways. It's a DC one and its carrying capacity is 2000MW (quite big!).

Aug 27, 2012 at 5:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeA

I have just heard Tim Yeo, on BBC 'Today', saying that he has changed his mind on the Heathrow third runway. Little surprises these days, but his reason did. He said he was never against it because of the impact on the poor souls that have to put up with its noise but because it would result in more GHG emissions.

Now he says it will not, because air travel is in the EU Emission trading Scheme!

Aug 27, 2012 at 8:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland


'being most available, when most needed, during the hot days' is actually inverse of reality for the UK.
Unlike the USA you will find that the amount of properties with air conditioning is minimal and the UK electrical consumption is much higher in the winter months than summer months negating the efficiency of solar. The periods of highest use will also tie in with those windless days that give us the most intense cold and thus the need for the highest use of electricity when wind generation is at it's lowest.

For the UK renewables are basically useless as when the need is greatest their output is the lowest.

Aug 27, 2012 at 8:16 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Martin A, unlike the under-Severn link, which would have been AC, the channel link would be DC. Seems to me there would be no likelihood of induced currents.

On financial interests, has Christopher Booker published a list of his own financial interests? Or James Dellingpole or Andrew Montford? If not, why not? Monbiot has, which makes him the only believable correspondent in my view.

Aug 27, 2012 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

For me a politically key part of Booker's analysis was that "at the centre of the picture is David Cameron", an interesting image for a cartoonist maybe?

It certainly stinks.

Aug 27, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

BitBucket 8:51 AM

like wow! really ?

Aug 27, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomO

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