Light rights in the Boyne Valley

In the Netherlands, wind mills have the rights to get wind, thus no buildings are allowed to be build that can obstruct the wind flow. Being a Dutchman, that stimulated my thought for megalithic buildings to have the rights to receive the sun/moon (celestial) light. Why don't these megalithic building have Light rights!!! This ideas has evolved and is now a major consideration against the planned incinerator Indaver, near the Boyne Valley.


To start this page; I keep on finding it strange that I need to provide arguments not to build the incinerator Indaver (see also my letter to Meath Country Council, my observations to An Bord Pleanála and press release)!
I have the following observations:
  1. I am concerned about the possibility that the planned incinerator Indaver near the Boyne Valley is able to stimulate the formation of clouds and thus obstructing the sunlight coming inside Newgrange. I am working on this and it is covered in the next sections.
  2. The Boyne Valley is a World Heritage site. Indaver is some 3 km for this area. This in itself should be enough to protect it against possible negative results of an incinerator. I have asked UNESCO for feedback on this issue.

  3. Dúchas has mentioned this already in their reaction towards Meath County Council on July 23rd, 2001:
    "... in relation to the visual impact of the 40m chimney stack. We would ask that its potential visual impact on the Boyne Valley area site included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, be taken into consideration in the decision on weather or not planning should be granted for this development."
    If we look at the location of the World Heritage Site and the location of the the planned incinerator, one could see the following picture:

    The zones around Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site
    The following divisions are depicted:
  4. Indaver can be seen from the top of Dowth, as shown in a 3D/VRML world.

  5. This picture should be comparable to the picture in the Environmental Impact Statement Attachments, View 22 of Indaver Ireland, Oct. 2000. It is not, the above shows the 40 m high chimney, while View 22 does not show this.

    If one does not belief a computer model;-), here a different view:

In the rest of this page I will determine a few issues specific to cloud formation around an incinerator, because this incinerator (Indaver) is planned near the Boyne Valley.

Cloud formation around Indaver and Boyne Valley

The following issues need to be studied to determine if clouds will block the sun within the Newgrange chamber:

Weather at Boyne Valley

I assume that the weather distribution experienced at Dublin Airport can be used for the weather at the Boyne Valley. Furthermore I assume that wind direction, wind speed, humidity, and air temperature are independent of each others (certainly looking at the time scale of 10 days before/after winter solstice).
I need to get statistics on wind direction, wind speed, humidity, cloud cover and air temperature and other meteorological information important with cloud formation for the last 10 years and 10 days before/after winter solstice at around 09:00 BST.
Some information for December at sunrise (at ground level): More information can be gotten from Met Éireann.

Location of Indaver exhaust

Indaver is situated at OS map: O 06200 70910
Terrain around the incinerator: This can be gotten from Ordnance Survey Ireland.
The ground height is: 35 m above sea level
The height of the chimney is: 75 m above sea level

Location of Newgrange

Newgrange is situated on OS map: O 00776 72702
The roof box is at: 57 m above sea level

Newgrange sky window seen from Indaver

The sky window where no clouds are allowed can be seen here (Top of exhaust is at Height=0[m]=75 m above sea level):
An example: looking from Indaver exhaust in the direction 220° (from north), clouds are not allowed at a distance between 2500 and 2900 m and a height between 65 and 140 m.

Weather at days when sun shines in Newgrange chamber

I assume that wind direction, relative humidity, air temperature and/or wind speed could be important to have the sun inside the chamber.
Using the notes of Newgrange guides we can determine when the sun was in the chamber and together with the archives of the weather at Dublin Airport we can determine these parameters.
This information is hopefully available at Brû na Bóinne.

Probability of cloud formation

In the original Meath County Council Planning report (file 01/4014, dated 9/3/2001, approved 13/3/2001) the following text is found (section 3.6 page 28):
Visible plume formation associated with the emission stack particularly in the periods of cold weather will be reduced as it is proposed to heat exhaust gases to 100°C.
This statement is left out in the final version. The terms reduced and proposed need to be checked (what is the chance of having a cloud in winter and in the direction of the sky window?). So an important study, but no models exist for this problem yet! So I made a try with help of others.

Formation of clouds will depend on:

I have split this problem up in there parts:

Plume rise

The plume rise can be determined by Briggs' equations. Using this formula one gets the following wind speeds that are not allowed (depending on the wind direction) because otherwise the plume will be in the sky window of Newgrange. Because we are watching sunrise at dawn and no clouds (Net Radiation Index=-2): for wind speeds < 3 m/sec stability class F/G or 6/7 is used, for wind speeds >=3 and <=5 m/sec stability class E or 5 is used and higher speeds it becomes stability class D or 4.
Furthermore: wind speeds under 1 m/sec (windforce>1) are not accurately calculate by the modeling and wind speeds higher than 10 m/sec (windforce>5) are not used, because of small chance of normal cloudless skies.

A program to calculate the plume rise is available.

Water concentration

The water concentration in the middle of the plume and at the sky window location has been calculated using the Gaussian model:
Water concentration has a logarithmic scale

A program to calculate the concentrations is available.

Cloud formation

The cloud formation due to the plume then depends on other meteorological data (like relative humidity), presence of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and the water concentration of the plume. Some basic information on cloud formation can be found here.

The above picture provides insight when the plume could produce a visible cloud. This is depending on relative humidity and temperature of the surrounding air. To form a cloud (humidity in cloud = 100%) the surrounding air must have a relative humidity of at least 94% at 0 °C, this mixed with the additional water concentration in the plume of 0.3 g/m3 makes the clouds.

So cloud formation could possibly happen at a sunny sun rise around winter solstice day with wind speed 1 m/sec, wind towards south and west (180° and 250°), 2 °C and 95% relative humidity at ground level. This is thus quite possible around the December sunrise time.
The region for this cloud formation can be seen here:

The above is certainly true if the water concentrating at the sky window is not effected by downstream cloud formation. It could be that emerging heat due to earlier cloud formation has decreased the amount of water concentration at the sky window position.


During the many commuting trips towards Dublin, the cloud formation at Dublin power station is monitored to get an idea if the above conditions could be met. On April 9th, 2002 at 09:00 am BST, the cloud formation from the power plant was quite long (at least 1.5 km if not more). The weather conditions nearby (Dublin Airport, 10 km north-west of power plant) were: 1027.8 hPa, 300°, 2 m/sec, Temp. 6.4 °C, RH 92%, stability class: C, sunshine between 08:00 and 09:00 was 90%.
So these long cloud formation can happen (no real data is available on the exhaust fumes and conditions).


All the above issues have to be combined so that one can determine if clouds will block the sun light into the Newgrange chamber. I my opinion, there is a chance of blocking the sun light, so for the above elaborated reason, Indaver should not be build at the proposed location! This 5000 years old World Heritage site is too important!


The above idea has been picked up in The Star (Irish newspaper) of Dec. 21st, 2001: "Incinerator plan could mean lights out at Newgrange"
M. McKeon of Drogheda sent in a letter to the editor quoting lavishly the press release: Newgrange eclipsed, Dec. 31st, 2001 in Irish Independent and Incinerator could block out light from Newgrange claim, Jan. 18th, 2002 in Drogheda Independent.


I would like to thank the many people (some 20 form USA, DK, CA, UK, IE, including people who developed the SACTI [Seasonal Annual Cooling Tower Impact] model) who have helped me getting some understanding of this subject. Remember all errors are of course the responsibility of Victor Reijs. If you spot errors, please let me know!
It is expected that people who worked on SACTI are willing to make a proper model for the above problem. A model has been made, but the flooding of the Rhine a few years ago has destroyed the disks! How vulnerable are we as society!

Disclaimer and Copyright

Major content related changes: Nov. 29th, 2001