Council presses government to provide lifetime benefits from large energy projects

Published

Local communities and businesses should get the best possible deal, if projects such as offshore windfarms land in the county.

Published on 10 June 2020.

The council made its position clear as part of the government’s recent consultation on its Contracts for Difference programme, which is associated with the nation’s low carbon and renewable energy projects.

The response explains how local communities should receive the maximum financial benefits for the lifetime of these projects, not just while they are constructed. This is in addition to developers making the most of local suppliers and businesses, whilst developing the skills of local people so they can work on the projects too.

It also included the need for more robust and structured relationships between developers and the communities which accommodate these large projects.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said:

“Energy projects have always had the potential to boost our local economy – and they should be a key part of the post Covid-19 economic recovery in Suffolk. But if they are realised in Suffolk, we must make sure that our affected communities are protected and see genuine benefits.

“There must be proper measures in place so that developers don’t just roll into town and fail to support the local economy and residents. We must see long-term financial settlements, skills development for local people and contracts for local businesses.”

“We will continue to lobby government ministers at every opportunity and represent the interests of Suffolk’s residents.”

Councillor Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, said:

“I have always said that these large energy projects will not be at any cost to Suffolk and my position hasn’t changed. Our latest response to the government is part of our wider campaign to protect our county, should these projects get approval – such as our demands earlier this year for better co-ordination of offshore windfarms, which was well-received.

“We share the commitment to being a net zero nation by 2050 and understand the importance, both locally and nationally, of low carbon and renewable energy projects. But I continue to uphold my responsibility to protect both the county’s residents and natural environment.”