(the 4 Lunches) (The Technology) (Lydney Local Power Scheme)

Admin Madness


Originally this project was called 'Feeding Strangers', the design being to feed each lunch free in a public space to a passing stranger. However it transpired that all the public spaces I found are actually owned by someone, and everyone was concerned about their public liability insurance exsposure. Nobody found it possible to knowingly allow me to feed a stranger on their land, in case I poisoned them, and they were held responsible. Even though I have public liability insurance. It therefore became impossible to feed strangers, an ironic discovery in December.

Most venues were willing however to go to great lengths to accomodate my requests, for example the Forestry Commission closed off New Fancy View to the public for the afternoon so I could cook and then feed an invited audience and therefore not put the public at risk. My first choice of venue for this lunch had been the Sculpture Trail, to indicate the creativity implied by a community power scheme, but Forestry Commission was unable to fence me off from the public their.

But the willingness came at a paperwork price, British Waterways for instance required a Risk Assessment form. Actually it was relatively easy to fill in once I'd thought about it, but it was intimidating and took time to obtain, fill in and return and await the reply. I had hoped to film at the ruins of Tintern Abbey, but they required 6 weeks warning to process the paperwork or a £400 fee to speed it up, since I had neither I had to serve lunch on the banks of the river..

The paperwork required for what I thought was an innocuous project became vast, soaking up time and planning, and the limitations it entailed compromised much of the 'imagery' of the project, I couldn't feed strangers, serve lunch in the symbolicly important abbey or the Sculpture Trail.

More severe paperwork and restrictions apply for people hoping to install renewable energy systems. It seems to me the implication of this is that individual domestic installations would require such vast investments of time as to make them rudely 'uneconomic', validating the concept of a community scheme such as Lydney Local Power where the time and research 'investments' would be shared and thus reduced.