In 2007, EK promised that if the community opposed the development, they would walk away from it. They made the promise at different public displays and in conversation with our Member of Parliament. So, why are they still here in 2015?
Misleading Brochure (1)
In 2008, we complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that EK’s Brightenber brochure was misleading. It used selective extracts from government policy; it used unrepresentative photomontages; it overstated the projected power output; and it stated that the company had reduced the number of turbines from eleven to five in order to reduce the impact on the landscape.
In fact, the only reason for reducing the number of turbines was that a participating landowner had pulled out of the project.
EK did not challenge the complaint and agreed to withdrew the brochure without question. However, they made no public acknowledgement that the brochure was misleading and kept it on their website until forced to remove it.
Misleading Brochure (2)
In 2011, EK issued another brochure. Déjà vu - this also overstated the projected power output. We took them back to the Advertising Standards Authority and this time, EK contested the complaint.
After an investigation, the ASA found in our favour but still, EK were unrepentant. In a subsequent interview with our Parish Magazine, EK repeated the discredited performance claims.
Accusations of Bribery and Harassment
In July 2012, the local press revealed that EK had offered to pay £275,000 to a key objector in exchange for a letter of support and a confidentiality agreement. Along with the offer came allegations of frequent unannounced visits and telephone calls, some late at night, which ‘...bordered on harassment...’ In a characteristic show of integrity and self-sacrifice, the objector turned them down.
When he learned of the incident, our Member of Parliament named Energiekontor on the Floor of the House of Commons and described their conduct as ‘...bully boy tactics...’
EK have described the cash offer as a ‘...standard commercial arrangement...’ and we must state that it was all perfectly legal. But was it moral? We’ll let you decide.
Community Concerns Go in the Bin
In a public exhibition at West Marton Community Hall, EK invited visitors to write down any comments and drop them into a box marked ‘Community Feedback.’ One of our members looked in the box and found empty soft drink tins and used food containers. The community feedback box was in fact, EK’s rubbish bin. We’re sure they were having a good old chuckle at that – until we caught them.