£4.5bn solar deal at risk of collapse

David Hawkins with Prime Minister David Cameron
David Hawkins with Prime Minister David Cameron
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Three MPs are pleading with Prime Minister David Cameron to prevent a Barnsley company’s £4.5bn solar panel deal from collapsing due to Whitehall “red tape.”

South Yorkshire MPs Dan Jarvis and Angela Smith, and Wrexham MP Ian Lucas have written to the Prime Minister urging him to intervene in the deal between Solar Europa and the Turkish Government for the world’s largest solar farm.

Hundreds of skilled jobs at plants in Barnsley and Wrexham are under threat as a result of hold-ups in the agreement, they say.

The firm, on Capitol Park near Junction 37 of the M1, has been working on the contract for four years.

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis said contracts had been signed but could not be finalised due to the Government’s position.

The deal would be a huge boost to the economy, he added.

“This contract would deliver billions of pounds of investment and hundreds of good, skilled jobs.

“Negotiations with the Turkish government have been progressing well, but now the deal is at risk of collapsing because of problems in Whitehall.

“David Cameron promised to give every support when the company met with him two years ago, now he needs to keep his word.”

The situation is putting 300 “skilled, well-paying jobs” on the line, he added.

In the Commons, Mr Cameron said: “We want to promote all projects that can create jobs in the UK and benefit relations with international partners.”

And he committed to look into the matter.

David Hawkins, chief executive of Solar Europa, said the firm was “very grateful” for the support it has been given.

“Negotiations are still ongoing, but if they are successful the contract will bring hundreds of jobs to the UK,” he added.

Solar Europa has offices in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

It hopes to supply, install and service thousands of panels on a 4GW facility in the south of Turkey.

It has had assistance from UKTI and the British Chambers of Commerce.