|Who's out in the cold?|
Today the issue of the council run mega solar farms will be decided by Peterborough City Council. By all accounts, the BBC local radio debate was good in production terms, but hasn't really taken us any further forward. Solar and wind farms are at the top of a list of wacky long term ideas, financed on borrowed money, at a time when the City of Peterborough cannot even afford to keep a few run down - but vital to local neighbourhoods - childrens centres open and fully operational.
They must close say the Conservatives to save pocket money - £1.4 million, (the cost of a small 2 bed flat in the Royal Borough Kensington and Chelsea - former council leader Sir Merrick Cockell - he was dumped as Council Leader last May, and will be dumped as Chairman by the Local Government Association [LGA] next May) The hubs idea for childrens centres, was originally spawned by spotty researchers at the LGA.
The current Conservative administration tried to do a deal with Sir Merrick, also known as Pooter (you may recall) and the Conservatives have also taken buses off the roads and generally run down essential services, or stripping them to the bone. Much of the green wheel cycleway hasn't been maintained for months - not alongside Park Farm anyway... But still money can be found for grandiose city centre tart ups that few want.
This is delusional, and not at all helpful. A city centre that is virtually empty after 4pm, and a 'for disposal' sign hanging over the 70's style shopping centre, not packed to capacity with happy shoppers. A good indicator is the number of vacant parking places displayed on the Queensgate Centre illuminated signs, all stubbornly showing three figures. Central Milton Keynes is 'rammed to capacity' with shoppers, and its free parking too.....
The Solar Farm project will greatly financially impact on this City for the next 25 - 35 years, long after Marco has retired to his estate in sun blessed Italy; and Marco Junior is still in the UK running for the newly formed Federation of Middle England states ( Norfolk like Scotland having opted for Independence, and allied with Norway).
The Norfolk Coastline and the once drained Fens will by then, have all but sunk back under the sea - we don't use a constant pumping system, the way the Dutch do, ask the Environment Agency why not? The beach will probably by then be just a 15 minute drive from the City of Peterborough.
You can either get angry, or apply some gallows humour, we'll stick to the latter. The Environment Agency these days is sadly little more than a reactive talking shop, and does little in the way of physical flood defence work. We'll happily debate this in detail, the rot set in during Elliott Morley the disgraced MPs tenure (convicted and jailed for expenses fiddles).
All the figures (budgets) for the PCC Solar/Wind farms are shrouded in mystery as all the details are 'commercially confidential' says Cllr Cereste. TOTAL RUBBISH! Sadly Councillor Cereste knows this, as the financial returns have been widely leaked and easy enough to reverse engineer such projects. Other more realistic financial projections are also available. The eyewatering budgets spent by the council producing cost models so far, are simply out of date, and at best can only be working assumptions. Its no way to run a business or a small Unitary Local Authority.
Admittedly it takes a great man with vision, to step back and say "We got this one wrong, took our collective eye off the ball, generating energy isn't after all the big deal, saving it, is now the way foward..
What isn't commercially sensitive is the fact that by the next General Election May 2015, the electricity generated by the solar/ wind farm will not be as highly profitable as Cllr Cereste and the expensively hired project planners once suggested, as Prime Minister David Cameron (already falling out with his LibDem coalition partners), in order to try and win the next General Election, is on record as "gettting rid of all this QUOTE "Green Crap." Environmental hobby horses are being dumped, no, more correctly, some taken into general taxation. The higher rates paid to land based Solar Farm producers ARE however being slashed. Windfarms out at sea, ie offshore, will in future attract the most subsidies and tax advantages. Land based installations will not. How clear can we make this? Cllr Cereste is chairman of a solar energy company, Lark Energy Limited, he must know this? Mind you the dope loving Rev. Flowers was until recently Chairman of the Co-Op Bank....
The council might also like to consider that fracking is also back on the agenda and set to cover a much wider area of the UK, including our region, according to documents released earlier last week, and now has to be considered as a serious energy alternative, to solar and wind.
Cpuncillors should also ask: Why invest now in this already dated solar technology, by taking on additional lomg term debt for this City when a few years down the line, the technology in any case will be much cheaper and no doubt not so intrusive ie window glass developed by Pilkington Glass is already being used in place of unsightly roof solar panel arrays.
The PBROTRIB is also very unhappy that Cllr Marco Cereste repeatedly applies the whip to his conservative councillors, they are 'hog tied' not allowed a free vote at the end of the debate. If he did allow a few free votes in council, we might have attracted 400 new high technology firms to this city as Milton Keynes has done during the last 12 months, and not just a few downmarket retailers, chain food operations and pop up shops. There has to be a better way.
Councillors wishing to read PBROTRIB back posts on the solar farm can use this link: http://parkfarmneighbourhoodwatch.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Solar
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