Controversial energy park project ends after two years and £3 million

Farmland which the council hoped to use for wind and solar panels
Farmland which the council hoped to use for wind and solar panels
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The last strand of a controversial energy park project, which has rumbled on for over two years and cost over £3 million, has finally ended.

Cabinet members at Peterborough City Council took only a couple of minutes to decide against investigating whether to go ahead with solar panels across America Farm.

The cabinet today (Monday February 23) also formally agreed to stop wind and solar projects at Newborough Farm and Morris Fen.

In October last year, the cabinet announced that the schemes at Newborough Farm and Morris Fen should be cancelled after the government withdrew support for large scale solar projects.

The three schemes would have seen the construction of wind turbines and solar panels across 900 acres of farmland.

Councillor Gavin Elsey, cabinet member for street scene, waste management and communications, said before the meeting that: “America Farm could be a success and generate income for the council.”

However, cabinet members quickly decided against looking into the scheme with no debate between them.

The energy park project cost over £3 million on planning and preparation.

The scheme was announced in September 2012 but met opposition from farmers and from Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson who last week was threatening to involve senior government officials should the America Farm project continue.

Mr Jackson said: “I’m delighted that this sorry saga seems to have reached a conclusion and that people power, strong arguments and good sense have won the day.

“I think the cabinet need to learn lessons from this wasteful and ill judged debacle and refocus its energies on basics like school standards, better housing, environmental improvements and crime and anti-social behaviour.

“Renewable energy might be viable in Peterborough but on brownfield land - something which was always an option but largely ignored.”

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Cllr Gavin Elsey said: “The cabinet decision that no further action should be taken in respect of America Farm is due to insufficient information being available at this time.

“We do not expect this item to come back to cabinet until we have a clearer understanding of the policies surrounding wind and solar projects of any new government.”