March 7 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 14, 2014
A green energy firm’s pioneering offer to pay residents close to a proposed solar farm site £1,000 each has been described as “desperation”.
REthink energy has written to 200 households in Bridgham offering them £200 a year if its plans for a 174 acre solar farm, which it will enter later this year, are approved by Breckland Council.
The offer comes after the London-based firm withdrew prior plans for the facility in September following widespread objections from residents.
The scheme, which REthink have branded the Local Electricity Discount Scheme, will see residents receive a five year discount on their electricty bills. REthink claim it is the first of its kind in the country.
But Mike Brown, Bridgham resident and campaigner against the solar farm, said the offer had not impressed villagers.
“I got a whiff of this before Christmas and at the time credited them with more intelligence than to openly acknowledge the fact they had lost the moral, landscape, environmental and business case arguments by resorting to financial inducement.
“Having withdrawn their application last year for, presumably, the aforementioned reasons, this merely demonstrates the desperation of it all,” he said.
Mr Brown added that a number of residents had written to him since the offer was made.
“Without exception they have been offended by this ‘trinket and bead’ approach either because they feel REthink have a cheek suggesting that their personal values are negotiable with money or just simply that REthink have insulted their intelligence by suggesting that despite the overwhelming reasons why this development is inappropriate by splashing a few pounds around it will all be okay,” he said.
Pete Grogan, founder of REthink, said the scheme would help residents.
“It is a real first for a local solar energy project in the UK and demonstrates our support for the Government’s position that renewable energy developments should benefit local communities,” he said.
What do you think of REthink’s offer? Let us know by emailing reporter Andrew Fitchett on firstname.lastname@example.org