The Newborough And Thorney Solar Debate

Icarus after his fall, found on the sea shore.

19:00 on Friday 13th December 2013
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: So tonight (Thursday 12th December 2013) we bring everybody together that’s got something relevant to say about one of the biggest issues that I’ve ever known in Peterborough, in the 25 years I’ve lived in and around the city, the grand Newborough and Thorney solar debate. We also bring together two people who have played out a bit of a debate in public as well. The MP for Peterborough, Stewart Jackson, and the Leader of the Council, Marco Cereste. The key facts: the debate is about 900 acres of farmland North of Peterborough (East), described as good quality land, most of it around Newborough Thorney and Eye, fields that are used to farm crops to feed what is an ever-growing, as well known, population. But cover it in solar panels is the plan, and some wind turbine,. and you have, according to the Leader of the City Council, an income that will protect front line services. It will mean the people of Peterborough will have more, pay less, at a time when the Government has put the squeeze on local councils. Well tonight we’ll look at the wider issues, around the financial challenges of the Council, around the potential black hole in five years time in their finances, and how do we balance farm land, green energy, sustainability and the future of our children. We begin though with the two men who have been it’s fair to say I think right at the heart of the debate. We’ll start with Leader of the Council Marco Cereste. Marco, good evening. And just explain your position if you would.

MARCO CERESTE: My position is very simple. We have a policy that we would like to make Peterborough energy self-sufficient as soon as possible, preferably within the next ten years, because we want to protect our city from what is likely to be cuts and price rises. So if as a city we can produce our own renewable energy, which helps to preserve and save our world, we can also sell energy to our local residents. We can give our residents some stability in the prices, because we can then control those prices, working with our residents through the companies that we will set up. And for us it is a project that we have to look at. We have .. we own three thousand acres of farmland, and many many many hundreds of buildings. It is the duty of each councillor and council officer to see what they can do to get the best return from those assets that the Council owns, for the citizens of this city. At the latest numbers, there are about twenty one million from solar, and about a hundred and seventy five million from the entire project. It means that if it was successful we could bring an income into the city of about £7 million a year. We could sell energy to those people who live in our city. We could fix the prices for a period of time. You never know. We may be able to fix the prices for a very long time. And I think it’s a very positive thing to do.
PAUL STAINTON: Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council. Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough. It’s fair to say you vehemently disagree.
STEWART JACKSON: I do Paul. I come from a position that my first priority is my constituents, and sometimes saying things that are right, although unpopular even with my colleagues. And I’m opposing what we have today, this proposal from the Council, for a number of reasons. The lack of democratic accountability; the lack of public consultation; the treatment of the farmers and the rural communities in my constituency; the fact that there is a very significant degree, I believe, of financial risk for the future finances of the City of Peterborough, not least as a result of possible changes in the subsidy regimes, as well as public expenditure changes; and I believe that fundamentally this proposal, or these set of proposals, is against Government policy, involving Government policy on renewable energy. And I think it was incumbent upon Peterborough City Council in July 2012 to have an alternative proposal and plan, a Plan B, looking at brownfield sites, and developing those kinds of schemes. And they played catch-up. And only as a result of the work of the community groups and myself in introducing them to a social entrepreneur to even look at a brownfield solution. And for those reasons I don’t believe that this is a viable project for the City Council.
PAUL STAINTON: That’s Stewart Jackson MP for Peterborough. (APPLAUSE) Also on the panel with us tonight is Bob Lawrence, Cambridgeshire NFU County Chairman. A farmer. Now you’re well placed perhaps to talk about this issue.
BOB LAWRENCE: I represent over 70% of the farmers in Cambridgeshire, and we generally like renewables, and like to have the opportunity to have renewables as part of our business. But I’d just like to remind everybody we are also in the business of producing food, and that’s the most valuable thing we do. The routes for the Council farms are four-fold really; as a succession route for young farmers to start in farming and then move on to larger farms; in this particular project I’m not in favour of it, because it’s going to take valuable productive land out of agriculture. And whilst the majority of it is Grade 2, it’s also very highly productive land. The tenant on the farm hasn’t had the opportunity as part of his business to be consulted about having renewables on his farm as part of his business plan, and at the early stages wasn’t consulted at all. So I believe the tenant’s been badly treated. And if you look at the wider picture, the loss of valuable farming land for food production is very important.
PAUL STAINTON: Also on the panel is Chris Foulds from Anglia Ruskin University. Chris, it’s fair to say you’re a big fan of renewable energy. You’ve had a little look at this plan. I know. Are you a fan of plans like this.
CHRIS FOULDS: I’m definitely in favour of these sorts of projects in general. I would say though that I’m not well versed in the context of this particular plan. But hopefully my role on the panel tonight is to give a little bit of the wider context on these sorts of issues. But yes, I think it’s vital that these sorts of projects go ahead, and it’s not necessarily a debate of yes or no, but yes, and where is most appropriate.
PAUL STAINTON: Before we speak to anyone else let’s speak to one of the farmers involved, John Harris, who farms the land. What has it been like for you the last few months, and what are your feelings on the plans that Marco’s outlined?
JOHN HARRIS: Well obviously the plan is an absolute disaster for the countryside. You don’t do this sort of thing right in the middle of the Fens, 250 acres like that, 500 at Newborough. It’s just absolutely, well, devastating, for the countryside. And obviously for myself, my family, we’ve not had a good night’s sleep since this plan came to fruition. It’s all very well saying the Council offered me another farm, which they have, 130 acres, exactly half the size. There would be more to come, but I know very well that the tenant hasn’t decided to sign over his land.
PAUL STAINTON: John, thank you. John Harris. Marco, have you ridden rough-shod over people like John?
MARCO CERESTE: As far as I’m aware, we’ve done I think what has been extremely fair with the tenant farmers. As far as I’m aware we’ve tried to engage with them. Mr Harris knows that is true. Now I don’t particularly want to discuss his personal issues in public unless he wants me to, but you know I believe our officers have been extremely fair, and I do know that what’s on the table would secure farming for him and his family for the rest of their lifetime.
PAUL STAINTON: I suppose the bigger question is, is taking Grade 2 farmland to build a solar wind farm in Peterborough the best option. Does anybody agree that it is the best option? Anybody? Stewart Jackson. Is it the best option?
STEWART JACKSON: No. And that’s why what I thought would happen when the planning application was stalled in June was that people would quite rightly and reasonably say, you’re a NIMBY with people in the rural areas. You’ve got no Plan B. And that’s why we introduced EMPower with their social entrepreneur to Peterborough City Council, so they could work up a reasonable project on brownfield land. The Council didn’t even prepare a document as to their ownership of brownfield land before they began this process, so we couldn’t even see how much of the brownfield land we could use. But we brought forward EMPower. And six months on, nothing has happened. We don’t have a Plan B. And that’s the responsibility of the officers and the political leadership at the City Council.
PAUL STAINTON: Have we got a Plan B Marco?
MARCO CERESTE: We’ve got B, C, D, E and F. We’re constantly looking .. (AUDIENCE HUBBUB) .. we’re constantly looking at ways to increase income into the city so that we don’t have to make cuts to front line services. And to say that we haven’t worked with EMPower is not quite right either. We have worked with EMPower, and they’ve come forward with some proposals. They will make a few hundred thousand pounds, but we’re talking about £174 million, not just a few hundred thousand pounds.
PAUL STAINTON: You’re listening to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s special solar panel debate on the solar panels of Thorney. We’ve found somebody I think that’s in favour of solar panels. Cllr Nick Thulbourn. Sort of in favour, aren’t you?
NICK THULBOURN: I’ve got no objection to solar panels or wind farms. With this instance I do have real concerns, real risk concerns for the Council. My main concern is is this core business for the Council? Is this something the Council should be doing? Are they a power company, or are they here to support and help the local community?
PAUL STAINTON: Good question. Anybody? A show of hands if you will. Is it something the Council should be doing? Anybody in favour? Two, three, three out of about thirty. Why should the Council be doing this? Sorry, your name is …?
TREVOR MCSPARRON: Trevor McSparron. We can’t turn our back on green energy. We need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, and here’s an opportunity on the doorstep of Peterborough to create green clean energy. And I appreciate that there are some difficulties in the sites, but we need to take this opportunity. There’s a lot of money that can be made for the people of Peterborough. And in terms of the agricultural land, the last time I looked we’re almost 70 million people in the UK, and we can’t even produce enough food now to feed ourselves. We’re heavily reliant on the world economy to export food to the UK, so in terms of this it’s a drop in the ocean.
PAUL FOWLER: Paul Fowler here. I’m representative of the Newborough Landscape Protection Group. I think what’s very interesting, we are .. renewables, we’re in favour of them. Now when I looked at the planning report that was published for the original report, we’d raised the issue that there were no alternative sites brought up, and we raised that as an objection. It’s very interesting to read in the report therefore that they said, well the Council doesn’t own any land. Now that’s like an individual saying well I can’t redevelop because I don’t own the land. This is what you guys have to do. There is so much land out there in the local area that you could use. You’re not looking at it. Renewables are the way forward. We can get great plans as Stewart has raised. But you’re just not looking there. There seems to be an absolute fix on the farms, and that seems the only place you’re considering. You’ve mentioned previously that you’ve got a Plan B, C, D, E. I think it’s about time you started sharing that with the public.
PAUL STAINTON: Chris Foulds is on the panel as well. (AUDIENCE RESTIVE). Just bear with us one second. Chris Foulds is from Anglia Ruskin. Should the Council be doing this as a business? Should councils everywhere be doing this sort of thing?
CHRIS FOULDS: I think it’s commendable certainly that Peterborough are trying to take a lead on this. I think we need to move away from our fossil fuel dependence. Within our department at the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin we’ve recently quantified that the reserves of coal in the UK is only five years left. Gas, two and a half years left. I mean that’s going to rise .. that’s going to increase the prices, before you even start looking at issues of climate change. So I think it’s important that they consider it. All sorts of managers of estates do.
PAUL FOWLER: I think what we’ve got to consider here is that other estates meet the farmers before they publish the plans. These farmers received a letter in the post, out of the blue, saying we’re going to serve you your notice. “This is what we plan to do.” Now I think that the Newborough Landscape Protection Group, we were saying, well, these guys may well have sat down with the Council. They may well have looked at alternative plans. But this is about trying to take them off their land. It’s effectively an eviction.
PAUL STAINTON: Do you regret the way you went about it perhaps, as a council? Could you have done it better Marco?
MARCO CERESTE: I think we certainly could have done it better, and you know, I have every sympathy with the farmers. I’ve never said anything different. But, you know, personally I’m between a rock and a hard place. Seven and half million pounds a year, to put it into context, is 15% on council tax every year for the next twenty five years.
PAUL STAINTON: Councillor Matthew Shuter is here as well from Cambridgeshire County Council. Good evening. Now obviously you have plans to do similar things to what the Peterborough City Council are thinking of doing as well.
MATTHEW SHUTER: Well not exactly. Nothing like the same scale. We’re looking at a 50 acre solar farm, and we’ve looked at six locations on our County farms. It’s Grade 3 land, and we are not prepared to look at anything other than Grade 3 or less. (APPLAUSE)
PAUL STAINTON: The question I have to ask now is why.
MATTHEW SHUTER: Well because we’ve come to the conclusion that Cambridgeshire is a very large county, and it’s not necessary to take farming land out that’s of better quality than that. We don’t need to do it as a council. (APPLAUSE) So therefore we’re not looking at that solution.
PAUL STAINTON: Stewart Jackson.
STEWART JACKSON: I think we’re missing a fundamental point here. If the scheme stacks up financially, why has the data never been published, and has never seen the light of day? (APPLAUSE) It’s all very well saying, oh it’s been checked by Deloittes. It’s been checked by our experts. I think it’s an outrageous and egregious abuse of democracy that a handpicked group of councillors, eighteen months on from the decision in July 2012, should just be, well, we’ll give you the information as we see fit.
PAUL STAINTON: Marco. People have not seen the figures. They’re concerned. Only a select group of people have seen these figures. Why not publish them?
MARCO CERESTE: Because it’s commercially in confidence. (JEERS AND CATCALLS) And that’s why .. that’s why we’re setting up this cross-party group of councillors who will be given all of the figures. They can have a look at the councillors (sic). They’ll be free to come outside and say the Leader is talking nonsense. The numbers don’t add up.
PAUL STAINTON: Nick Sandford is a LibDem councillor, with us this evening as well. Should the Council be doing this? And if not, what should they be doing Nick?
NICK SANDFORD: Yes. I find myself in an interesting position, because when Marco did his introductory remarks about the economic situation the Council finds itself in, I think we’ve also had the Council’s climate change targets mentioned, I very much support that. So I should be an enthusiastic supporter of this proposal. And I would disagree with what Stewart said, that we shouldn’t do any of this development on agricultural land, because around about 70% of the surface area of the United Kingsiom is agricultural land, and it gets used for a variety of purposes. But the problem that I’ve got is we hear a lot about the Council should have looked at alternatives. The Council said it has looked at alternatives, but doesn’t publish the information as to what those alternatives are.
PAUL STAINTON: So it’s about transparency for you again.
NICK SANDFORD: That’s absolutely right. And I absolutely agree with Stewart when he talks about the fact that the financial information hasn’t been disclosed, because for me, it comes down crucially to whether this is going to be a financially viable proposition for the Council.
STEWART JACKSON: This scheme is full of holes, and I’ll tell you what. It is about farming, this scheme. It’s all about farming crops. It’s not about farming sunshine. It’s about farming subsidies. That’s what it’s about. Just a few weeks ago the Financial Times published an article which said solar subsidy to be scrapped by 2018. Based on the predictions in this business plan, if the funding regime for subsidies, for the ROCs, for feed-in tariffs, change drastically, then that will leave Peterborough City Council taxpayers on the hook very significantly for this project. And that is my concern. It’s not about a personally issue with Marco. I’m sure .. where I agree with Marco, he’s done a fantastic job in some areas, such as the renaissance of the city centre, and I pay tribute for that. But this I think is fundamentally wrong, and hugely risky for my constituents and council tax payers across Peterborough. (APPLAUSE)
PAUL STAINTON: I don’t want this to get into the Marco against Stewart Jackson. What happens if, Marco, what happens if your plan is full of holes and doesn’t do ahead.
MARCO CERESTE: We need to understand, like I said earlier on, we’ve got Plan B, C, D and E and F, and we’re constantly ..
PAUL STAINTON: But what are they?
MARCO CERESTE: And we’re .. come on Paul. (HUBBUB)
PAUL STAINTON: Well I’m going to ask everybody that. Our final question tonight. Our final question tonight will be, what would you do.
MARCO CERESTE: All the sort of things that Cambridgeshire County Council is now doing. Having seen what we do in Peterborough, they’re now following our lead with all due respect.
MATTHEW SHUTER: We’ll look all over the country for ideas that can make energy savings, and we will look anywhere for them. It’s not just Peterborough.
PAUL STAINTON: Chris Foulds from Anglia Ruskin.
CHRIS FOULDS: Yes it’s just a quick point with regard to the subsidy cuts. As I understand it with the feed-in tariffs at least, you secure the feed-in tariff rate at the time of completion of the project, and you lock it in.
PAUL STAINTON: At the completion of the project.
CHRIS FOULDS: Yes. Or at least completion and then you get it once you’ve registered almost immediately after. So there’s maybe, there’s a slight lag.
STEWART JACKSON: It’s going to be called in. As soon as the detailed planning application comes before the Secretary of State, let’s say in February March, it will be called in. It will go to the planning inspector in Bristol. It could take, because this is a massive project, it could take six months to a year. Who knows what will happen to the subsidy regime then.
CHRIS FOULDS: Well they have set out a timeline for some of the changes, and it looks like there’s going to be some big reductions in it if it’s from 2015 onwards, so I’d imagine the financial viability of this scheme would change from then.
PAUL STAINTON: Hold on Richard. I’ll just let .. Trevor McSparron.
TREVOR MCASPARRON: Just touching on what Stewart was saying, we can’t just keep putting off things in case the Government decide in six months time to change feed-in tariffs .. or twelve months time. You need to start looking at these thibngs now. And if it changes, then you have to re-evaluate. And you can’t keep putting these things off. Fossil fuels are running out. Green energy is the way to go forward.
STEWART JACKSON: Can I just reassure Trevor that we’re not against renewable energy. But there’s a whole world out there. There’s offshore wind. There’s ground energy. There’s fracking. The Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change is not exactly anti-green or environmental energy, Lord Debon, said only last week that in order to reduce greenhouse gases we had to properly investigate fracking. There are other ways of doing it. (HECKLING)
PAUL STAINTON: I don’t think fracking is going down well Stewart. let’s move if we can because time is ..
STEWART JACKSON: I’m offering alternatives Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: We’ll move on to our big question for the end if we can then. And I’ll put it to Marco first, and then I’ll come to as many people as I can. Let’s say the feed-in tariffs go much lower. Let’s say the plan takes two years to come to fruition. You’ve already spent a lot of money on it. It’s not going to realise the potential that you thought. Will you carry on because you’ve spent all that money, or will you then look at another way, your Plan B? And if so, what is that Plan B.
MARCO CERESTE: We are looking at other ways already. It’s not something that we will do. We’re doing it now. You know. I applaud the work that our .. my colleague in Cambridgeshire is doing, but you know eighteen months ago we introduced a switch scheme into Peterborough. Those people who signed up are saving about £140 a year. It’s not a fortune, but to some people £140 a year is a lot of money. We are introducing now .. we’ve done a deal, an exclusive deal, with British Gas, to introduce retro-fitting to all of the houses where there are people who have low .. who are on low incomes.
PAUL STAINTON: But there’s a £50 million blackhole in five years. How are you going to fill that if your plan doesn’t go ahead?
MARCO CERESTE: There’s a £50 million blackhole, and we’re looking at lots of other alternatives to create income. We’re looking at working with an investment company to increase the growth in Peterborough, so we can have more offices, more jobs, more income. We’re looking at all sorts of alternatives. This is part of what we’re trying to do. But the reality of it is that this will save our people .. those people living in Peterborough, if it all fails, which God forbid it all failed, there’s a 15% increase in rates, which you can’t even put up anyway. So what is it means? It means we’ve got to cut front line services. Or perhaps my colleagues would prefer nuclear power. You know, that’s a good alternative to renewables. That’s got to be a new one.
PAUL STAINTON: Bob Lawrence. I feel like I’ve neglected you. From the National Farmers Union. If we don’t get the go-ahead for this plan, it doesn’t go ahead, what should we do Bob? It’s a tricky one, isn’t it?
BOB LAWRENCE: It is a tricky one, and I think there’s a huge risk involved at the moment in the plans. And I would be very .. as a business, sitting here as a business, I would be very nervous about proceeding, because I think the risk with failing is too great.
PAUL STAINTON: We’re looking for a Plan B. Anybody got a Plan B? Richard Olive, Friends of the Earth.
RICHARD OLIVE: Obviously pv panels are really good. Friends of the earth do support them. But the best place for them is on buildings, on roofs. And there’s no end of buildings and roofs in Peterborough. And if you look around other places like March, all of the council houses have got pv panels on them. We’ve got lots of office blocks. Why can’t we put the pv panels on all the buildings in Peterborough, and derive some benefit?
PAUL STAINTON: That’s Marco. Chris Foulds Anglia Ruskin?
CHRIS FOULDS: Well I suppose ..
PAUL STAINTON: Let’s let Chris have his say.
CHRIS FOULDS: I’ve got a couple of quick comments back on that. Firstly I would say that’s a little bit more expensive to do, building by building as opposed to just putting it all in one field, or in one brownfield site. And as well as that, there’s more issues of shading, which is going to mean that they’re not performing as well. And of course not all of them are south-facing, whereas in a field you can point them wherever you want.
PAUL FOWLER: I think there might be a possible Plan B. If Marco says ok, let’s work with the farmers, let’s actually look at working with Anglia Ruskin University, another university. Let’s create in Peterborough, let’s use the expertise of our farmers. Let’s get investment. Let’s actually build there. That’s one area. Then we can start looking at renewables in a more sensible way. We can start looking at using the money to redevelop areas of Peterborough, to try and create job opportunities. Because I read with interest that 14 jobs is the grand total of this scheme. If you start looking at redeveloping brownfield sites, creating jobs, making Peterborough a more attractive place, so when people come into Peterborough, it is a green city, not a glass countryside. (APPLAUSE)
PAUL STAINTON: Stewart Jackson. Stewart Jackson, what’s your Plan B? We’ve got a £50 million blackhole in five years time. How are you going to fill it, when not putting solar panels in Newborough?
STEWART JACKSON: We will do it by having the consensus, which is that we all agree with renewable energy. We know it’s the way of the future. It’s not the entire energy stream, but it will do a lot of good. And I think we need to look at places like Cardea in Stanground. We need to look at the new development at Great Haddon. We need to look at brownfield land. We need to bring back EMPower who are working with housing associations, who are working with places like York and Swindon. And we can do it. We actually can generate substantial amounts of money from pv panels, which will bring a decent income and close that gap with a consensus, without alienating parts of the community, without this concern about lack of transparency and lack of democracy, and railroading over the views of people who you don’t agree with. I think there’s still time for us to get together to work as a team, to try and do the best for the city, the people that Marco and I both represent. And I think that if we bring EMPower into the room, that is a real possibility, and I hope it does eventually happen. (APPLAUSE)
PAUL STAINTON: Was that a good Plan B Marco?
MARCO CERESTE: Absolutely. Happy to work with EMPower and with the representative of our Newborough farmers. If we can find .. if we can find an alternative, another option, a reduction, whatever, all I want is to find a solution. I know that Cardea and Castor? are two options, both outside of my colleague’s constituency. (LAUGHS)
STEWART JACKSON: Well no, I’ll come back to you there. We have a very ambitious housebuilding target in this city. One of the sites is at Norwood, urban extensions. That’s allocated for 2,500 homes. Not one has been built yet. Will Marco make a commitment that all those 2,500 will get cracking? The construction industry has taken a real hike now. We’re doing extremely well. Let’s put solar panels onto the roofs of all 2,500 houses. That will generate the energy.
PAUL STAINTON: Why don’t you work together?
MARCO CERESTE: You see the problem is that that energy is a .. it’s exactly the right thing to do, and we should encourage the builders to do it. And we should encourage the population to put photo voltaics on the roof. But that doesn’t deal with the £17.5 million a year that we are hoping to get from this project. We’re going to have this working group. The working group will say yes, this works or doesn’t work. And we’ll have this working group. We’ll have a conversation about that.
PAUL STAINTON: Will there be members of the public on the group ?
MARCO CERESTE: Oh well we’ll have a conversation about that. I would be prepared to talk about it.
PAUL STAINTON: Eddy Poll is the ex-Deputy Leader of Lincolnshire County Council. Would you be taking on a scheme like this to safeguard the future electric, if you were still in charge or deputy, of Lincolnshire County Council?
EDDY POLL: We actually did do some schemes. We put photo-voltaics on the roofs of our household waste recycling centres, on all the buildings that we were going to keep in long term ownership, because councils do need to find different ways of getting money, getting income, to maintain the level of service that people expect. They’re not prepared to keep putting their hands in their pockets, and I don’t blame them. So I think it’s a great idea. Whether this scheme is right or not is really for the locals around here to decide, not for me. But the principle I have to totally agree with.
PAUL STAINTON: Has anybody else got any ideas, Plan Bs, what we do if we don’t put solar panels right across Newborough and Thorney? Nick Sandford LibDems.
NICK SANDFORD: Yes. I haven’t got a proposal myself. I’d just like to comment. I think actually Chris (Foulds) made a really good point, that it shouldn ‘t .. the scale of the problem that we’re faced with is due to climate change, which means that we shouldn’t be saying should we have solar panels or should we have wind turbines. We need the whole range of different technologies. And I think the problem I’ve got with what the gentleman here was saying, well let’s look at alternatives, maybe put a wind turbine. The problem is when a wind turbine application comes forward you get people in that area protesting.
PAUL STAINTON: I’d be interested tonight if anybody’s changed their point of view, after they’ve come here and listened to what Marco has had to say, and what Stewart has had to say. Anybody? Just a show of hands. Anybody changed their stance at all? No? Anybody further entrenched? A show of hands. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. About a third of you more entrenched after tonight’s debate. Well, any of you who are prepared to work together to find a solution to the city’s ills? Your name sorry?
ALEX TERRY: I’m Alex Terry. I’m just a resident of the area, of Newborough. This is supposed to be a democracy. You’re a council working for the residents of Peterborough. You should release the financial data. There’s no commercial sensitivity. You’re earning money to save the people of Peterborough, you say. So prove it. (APPLAUSE) (CHEERS)
PAUL STAINTON: More transparency I think, maybe. Is that possible Marco? Just finally.
MARCO CERESTE: I can’t repeat .. I can’t keep repeating it. I’ve said what I’ve said. It’s an offer. We will see .. I’ll go back to my officers. I will go back to my officers and find out ..
NICK THULBOURN: Part of the Labour Party in Peterborough is working on this, to see how we can get going forward an MP to work with the Council, to work together, to be transparent, to put the horse before the cart. That’s what’s happened with this solar farm. We are actually working on that. We are actively trying to find ways for people to get more involved at an earlier stage.
PAUL STAINTON: And you’re confident that will happen.
NICK THULBOURN: We’re confident that we can actually deliver that. Yes.
PAUL STAINTON: Good stuff. Councillor, Labour councillor Nick Thulbourn. We’ve got to leave it there guys, but a big thank you to MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson, Chris Foulds from Anglia Ruskin, Marco Cereste Leader of the Council, and Bob Lawrence from the NFU. Please show your appreciation. (APPLAUSE)


1 thought on “The Newborough And Thorney Solar Debate”

  1. you have two miles of banking from peakirk to crowland you could use for panels , or does electric stop at crowland and start again in lincolnshire . people must realize that more people need more food not more imports, the balance of payments will escalate.the more land that goes under concrete. i.e,houses such like will make matters worse . one neuclear plant on the coast would serve all the problems.

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