I can’t remember a time since it was installed, under the auspices of the Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership administering a £2.4million Heritage Lottery grant secured by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty quango, that the Electric Vehicle Charging Point at Allen Mill has been operational. Maybe it has, but it was for a vanishingly small period. The growing list of ‘environmental’ or ‘green energy’ improvements that have gone wrong at the Allen Mill Regeneration site is rather gobsmacking:
- The passive solar panels on the roof , which were to feed into the central heating, never seemed to contribute one iota to the heat in the so-called ‘Joiners Building’; it’s anyone’s guess whether they do anything nowadays
- The central heating itself, installed as a burner utilising renewable energy in the form of rough logs, worked if it was fed with enough wood, but it was soon replaced by an oil burner for convenience
- The gray water system (seemingly a building fad of the early ‘noughties’) never functioned at all and it was abandoned in the implementation of running water to the units
And yet this regeneration was, in large part, financed by public money blithely spent on so-called renewable energy facilities for which there is apparently no accountability. Who checks whether the ‘green energy’ component of grants packages is actually compliant, after installation? Nobody, it seems.
Fortunately, the three-phase electrical supply that now runs the brewery’s mash heaters (an entirely separate business to the other part of the site), and perhaps some of the kitchen equipment in the middle of the renovated building (and which consumes dramatically less energy, at least according to the consumption tariff for three phase devices, nearing only half of single phase power requirements), was finally installed on the site some eight years ago, to the great relief of those businesses.
I called up BP-Chargemaster to see if there were any plans to provide an active charging point for electric vehicles in Allen Mill again; the courteous receptionist told me that the equipment is meant to go back to the manufacturer for ‘refreshing.’ If there are any plans, they couldn’t tell me when it might be functional. The Allendale and Allen Valleys Pocket Directory has been altered accordingly!
What is the point, one might ask, of installing green energy devices if they’re immediately abandoned thereafter? And why don’t the grants administrators, who approved the financing for these packages, at least inspect whether any such installation is working effectively, at say a five year point on down the road? If these things really don’t work, then shouldn’t the next capital investment anywhere else be scrutinised? Or if they do, then shouldn’t somebody be called to account for not using them?