Brexit ‘won’t affect’ plans for solar scheme at park and ride site

How the project at St Ives park and ride could look.

How the project at St Ives park and ride could look. - Credit: Archant

A pioneering plan to turn St Ives park and ride into a solar-powered mini power station will still go ahead - even if the UK crashes out of the EU.

The £3.6 million scheme, involving an array of solar panels built over parking bays, is funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and the EU European Regional Development Funds but the government has stepped in to ensure such projects go ahead if there is a no deal Brexit.

The council said: "In the event of a no deal Brexit, the Government has guaranteed to fund all European Regional Development Funds projects that would have been funded by the EU.

"So the project will still be funded, no matter the outcome of Brexit."

The team behind the scheme will be on hand to discuss the innovative scheme and answer questions about it at the meetings which will take place at the town's Corn Exchange on October 8, 22 and 29, all running from 7pm to 8pm.

The scheme, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, is set to pave the way for future green energy projects.

It is being built in a partnership between Cambridgeshire County Council and Bouygues Energies and Services and involves the construction of car ports carrying solar panels above the two central parking zones. There will also be power storage batteries in shipping container-sized cabinets.

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The panels will generate renewable electricity, powering not only the site but also electric vehicle charging points and surplus energy will be sold back into the grid. There will be enhanced lighting and CCTV, together with the creation of a wildlife area.

Work is expected to start in 2020 and take up to a year to complete, with the car park remaining open during the construction period which will be co-ordinated to reduce the impact on users.

Once complete, the project is expected to prevent the release of nearly 2,400 tonnes of CO2 over 25 years, with such projects being a key part of the UK's bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

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