Meeting on Tuesday about proposed Yarmouth solar farm with Russian links

·2-min read
The Ukrainian flag flying at Yarmouth. Photo: Patrick Donovan.
The Ukrainian flag flying at Yarmouth. Photo: Patrick Donovan.

A green energy company, Low Carbon Limited, has launched a consultative process amongst Yarmouth area residents about its plans to build a solar farm across nearly 100 acres of land east of Wilmington Lane and south of Thorley — part of West Wight's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A public meeting has been scheduled in Yarmouth on Tuesday, August 9.

Promotional documents circulated to residents in the area promise associated benefits such as new wildlife habitats, beehives and site tours for local schools.

What the company hasn't addressed, however, is the current status of its relationship with Vitol, the world's biggest energy trader.

This multinational business has been berated in the press recently for continuing to supply crude oil to Russia despite widely imposed sanctions and hostile world opinion. (Zelenskyy calls on trader Vitol to stop shipping Russian 'blood oil' — The Guardian, July 6, 2022).

Beyond the issue of sanctions, any association with Vitol — which describes itself as 'the world leader in crude oil trading' — seems to throw doubt, too, on Low Carbon's self-professed green credentials.

Yet Low Carbon, according to its own website, formed a renewables investment fund for projects such as solar farms 'in partnership' with Vitol in 2018. In return, Vitol pumped in an initial $200m.

With the Ukranian flag flying above Yarmouth, it would seem insupportable that this solar farm should be built with any involvement of Vitol.

Low Carbon's lack of transparency has proved its downfall, too, in other similar planning applications.

In June this year, Uttlesford District Council in Essex rejected a Low Carbon solar farm plan for a second time because of 'lack of detail'. (Saffron Walden Reporter, June 23, 2022).

Of course any right minded person supports green and sustainable power and the high skill jobs it creates.

But we surely need the most thorough public investigation of Low Carbon and its senior management — and to ensure that there is no taint from recycled Russian oil trading money should its West Wight planning application be allowed to proceed.

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