SOLAR farms could be built in Shipston and Barford in a bid to slash fuel bills and poverty.
The sites at Glebe Farm in Barford and land opposite Shipston High School are just two of the suggestions proposed by Warwickshire County Council (WCC). Officers are looking at the benefits of using the sites as solar farms, which would support plans to reduce energy costs.
But nearby Stockton looks likely to be one of the first bases. Work on the four acre site – which is currently used to graze horses – will start if given the green light by Stratford District Council planning officers.
The development would cost £500,0000 and along with other sites would give a return of some £4.5 million during the 30 year span of the project.
The council plans to work alongside an energy company to offer cheaper options than those offered by the big six firms such as British Gas, nPower and ScottishPower..
Coun Matt Western, who spearheaded the plans, told the Observer: “Having first proposed the Warwickshire Energy Plan over two years ago, I’m delighted this decision has finally been taken. Everyone in our community should benefit greatly from this plan as it will lead to lower electricity and gas prices across the local market.
“For many years the big six energy companies have been taking advantage of customers through opaque tariff choices while stifling competition in the market – keeping prices high and not fully passing on wholesale savings when the price of gas and electricity has gone down.
“Soon residents in Warwickshire will have another choice, one which should save all households a significant amount of money each year.
“The ambitious plan aims also to eliminate fuel poverty which affects almost 30,000 households in Warwickshire. This will go a long way in helping to deliver that.
“It now needs the support of district and borough councils to make it viable and it is hoped that this will be achieved in the coming months.”
The not-for-profit project would see the council work with an energy supplier to offer cheaper gas and electricity. Together they would create their own brand – which councillors suggest could be ‘Warwickshire Energy’.
Councillors also say the introduction of the plans would create jobs and the competition could drive down other tariffs in the area.
If the plans are given the go-ahead work should start early next year.