‘Solar park proposals will only go ahead with public support’ says Havering councillor in YouTube video

PUBLISHED: 13:32 14 December 2016 | UPDATED: 13:32 14 December 2016

Havering Council's cabinet member for environment, regulatory services and community safety, Cllr Osman Dervish.

Havering Council's cabinet member for environment, regulatory services and community safety, Cllr Osman Dervish.

Phil Wailing

A video has surfaced of a cabinet member commenting that the council’s solar park proposals will only go ahead with public support.

Havering Council’s cabinet member for the environment, regulatory services and community safety, Cllr Osman Dervish, made the promotional video in October.

The public consultation has now closed and responses are being reviewed prior to cabinet deciding whether to amend, reject or proceed to the next stage of the proposals.

In the promotional video posted on YouTube, Cllr Dervish said: “We will be one of the first councils in London and the second in the country to be able to raise money from these solar parks if the scheme goes ahead and it will only go ahead with public support.”

Havering council has been asked to confirm if the proposals will be halted if public support is not achieved and how exactly this will be ascertained.

But a council spokeswoman added: “There has been a lot of opposition but we are still in a position to see if we are going ahead.”

Confusion and fierce opposition has dogged aspects of the proposals from the outset.

To add to the muddle, in emails seen by the Recorder to a resident who wishes to remain unnamed, council leader Cllr Roger Ramsey commented that the proposals are supported by wildlife and green organisations.

He said: “Friends of the Earth and the RSPCA encourage this kind of development in creating green energy from our most prolific resource, the sun, and creating wild life havens such as might happen here [Dagnam Park].

But when the resident sought clarification from Havering’s Friends of the Earth, a spokesman said: “We do not think this [Dagnam Park] is an acceptable location.

“To import a large solar array would damage the biodiversity and spoil an amenity that the local residents are proud of.”

Thousands of pounds were spent on signage boards, press releases and fanfare heralding the expansion of Dagnam Park in 2014 after land adjacent to the public space was said to be used to double its size.

But last month, the council admitted despite an original intention to do so, the land was actually not incorporated into the nature reserve and that the park was not the largest in the borough.

Hundreds gather to protest against the proposals outside the town hall last month but although scheduled, these were not discussed at the full council meeting.

The proposals are expected to feature at the full council meeting on Wednesday, January 25.

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