Unfortunately the PCC have stated that we cannot publish the feasibility study online unless we get written permission. We will try to do so as soon as possible
It is worth noting that large sections of the study have been redacted (blackened out) so it is difficult to really understand the real impact of the project upon our local area.
When we talked to the project leader at AECOM he informed us that he believed the only sensitive information in the study were the names of protected birds. If you want to look at the study we will have some copies to read through at our next meeting and you can see that the PCC have heavily redacted the version they released after a Freedom of Information Request.
What are they trying to hide?
The behaviour of Marco Cereste and the team he has assembled to pursue this project continues to cause concern to members of this group. If they have nothing to hide then why can’t we put this report online for everyone to read.
The contract for the solar farms does not appear to have fully followed the EU tendering process. The council asked for roof installers to put together bids for roof mounted solar panels across public buildings. This project only attracted the attention of small maintenance firms like Mears or rooftop installers that you might use for your home. No major developer tendered because it was too small a project. This means that Peterborough City Council could not guarantee that this project offers best value for tax payers.
Despite this small contract being ditched – in order to rush the process to meet the April 2013 deadline for government subsidies they are using a maintenance firm to build the UKs largest Solar Farm. The lack of a proper contract means that local taxpayers could be liable to pay over a billion pounds for this project.
We have also discovered that Cereste was wrong to reassure full council that they could vote confidently for the Solar Farm in November and December because he had legal and financial authorisation. No such reassurance was provided by the Council’s accountants or lawyers. Obviously we are not suggesting that he deliberately misled Conservative and Liberal councillors before they voted, but we are convinced that councillors should be asked to vote again now they know financial and legal assurances have not been achieved. This must be of concern to any councillor and their parishioners because this plan could bankrupt Peterborough and see more than just Care Homes shut across the city.
The council have still not issued proof that they own the land they intend to build the Energy Parks upon. Grade 1 and Grade 2 land in this area should only be managed by local councils – not owned. Peterborough City Council must prove they have the right to destroy Grade 1 and Grade 2 land before building on it.
If this plan is so good for Peterborough we would implore Cereste to be transparent. Release all the documentation and financials about the plan so we can be reassured. At the moment there is a lot of spin and inaccuracy surrounding this project. Moreover the promises offered are not supported by evidence. We cannot see why this contract is being kept secret. If the council are truly acting as guardians of Peterborough then contracts should become public contracts to ensure accountability. Without full financial disclosure many members of the public begin to think that the council has something to hide and after the recent expenses scandal in Parliament it is imperative that local governments prove they act in the interests of their citizens – rather than just say it. Actions always speak louder than words. There is no reason for an honest public servant to keep any financial information secret. The council needs to withdraw its planning application until it can prove that this will not bankrupt Peterborough.
Please write a letter of objection to the planning application. It is vital that we make the council understand that this project is too risky. It can endanger the financial security of our council and the countryside of Peterborough.
We will publish some advice later this week to help you do so and at our meeting on Tuesday 8th January 2013.