EDF Renewables caught lying about Tye Lane solar farm

Local residents of the EDF Renewables Tye Lane solar farm would have received a brochure informing them of their proposal to build a solar farm. EDF Renewables advised they have distributed this to every household within a 1km radius of the site. Though we aren’t quite sure where that radius starts because they won’t say. Here is what else they didn’t want to say!

What size have they told the public?

Within the glossy brochure it states “It is proposed that rows of solar panels mounted on metal poles will be placed across the site, taking up approximately half of the 65 hectares available for development.”

The brochure also advises that you can visit the EDF Renewables website to find out more in their “virtual exhibition“. (Note that if gently floating pictures make you feel a bit queasy or give you migraines/seizures then I advise you take care visiting this virtual hall.)

Their Welcome poster states “The site is 65 hectares”.

Their press release also states “taking up approximately half of the 65 hectares available for development” and can be seen in numerous news articles:
~ EDF Energy (parent company of EDF Renewables)
~ Ipswich Star
~ East Anglian Daily Times
~ Renewables Now

The Concept Plan shows 65 hectares (top right in the Layout box).

“The Development” section of the virtual hall also says 65 hectares.

And during the first public webinar presentation on 4th November it also said 65 hectares. So it is understandable if you thought the site was 65 hectares. We did.

What size is it?

During the Somersham Parish Council Meeting on 4th November 2020 (after their first public webinar) the same people made a different presentation to the councillors and public attendees. As the Parish Clerk scrolled through the slides sent to him en queue… there it was on one of the slides…

…82ha.

At the end of the presentation, the very first question that was asked was what the 82ha referencing?

This next bit was quite embarrassing to watch (for EDF and Cadno Communications – EDF’s PR company) anyway.

Whilst squirming in their seats, the explanation they gave is that the total site is 82ha [i.e. the bit within the red boundary line]. The 65ha relates to the zones within the full site that will be for the solar panels. Some of the site areas will not be covered because they have to leave access for the EA1 cable that runs right through it for example. And because of gaps between the rows of panels the actual panel coverage will be about half of the 65ha. But they could understand how by saying 65ha this “might have been misleading”.

Not just misleading

Watching them explain their way out of this was uncomfortable. Like one of the many deer that their proposal will push into the roads caught in the headlights.

EDF were caught on camera in front of over a dozen people. They had no intention of telling anyone 82ha. If they had they would have said it somewhere. 82ha on that slide was a mistake they made. 65ha was not misleading. It was an outright lie.

So, the real amount of land that EDF will be taking up with their solar farm is 82 hectares.

In honesty, we had been a little (only a little) impressed by how professional EDF Renewables were coming across. Especially in comparison to Enso Energy. However after a shambles of a first public webinar, and now this. Well… maybe first impressions really aren’t everything. Which begs the question, what else are they “misleading” us on?

Please ensure your neighbours are aware of the correct size of Tye Lane solar farm.

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