Political spat between rival councillors heats up over solar panel figures

Councillor Andrew Judge inspecting solar panels at the Canons Leisure Centre in Mitcham.

Councillor Andrew Judge inspecting solar panels at the Canons Leisure Centre in Mitcham.

First published in News Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A Tory environment spokesman who accused Merton Council of cooking-up inflated figures on solar panel investment was sent out-of-date figures by the coucil's chief executive, it has emerged.

The embarrassing revelation is the latest episode in an ongoing spat between rivals Councillor David Dean, Merton Conservatives' environment spokesman and Councillor Andrew Judge, cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration.

In a letter to the Wimbledon Guardian earlier this month, Coun Dean disputed claims in the council's Climate Change Strategy 2014-2017 that more than 700 kWp of solar panels have been installed on council buildings since 2011.

And he demanded a public apology from Coun Judge for allegedly misleading the council with the statistics at a full council meeting on July 9.

But he was basing his claims on an out-of-date document sent to him by mistake by council officers on July 24 which stated the output of solar panels was closer to 300 kWp and they needed to install more to match published figures.

However, figures shown to the Wimbledon Guardian show that Coun Judge's figures were accurate.

As part of its on-going solar energy programme, the council has added eleven solar panels to their books since 2011, most recently at Wimbledon Leisure Centre and Garfield Primary School in June.

Environment officers have confirmed this brings Merton's solar capacity up to 915 KWp this month.

Coun Judge said: "I find it difficult to deal with David Dean because he makes up thing all the time so of all councillors he's actually the most destructive.

"He opposed the Mini Holland bid and he opposed an energy services company. So where he's apparently the Conservative's environment spokesman I think he makes things up and doesn't have the support of some of his colleagues."

Wimbledon Guardian:

Confused: Councillor David Dean 

Coun Dean said: "I'm not the guilty party, I'm trying to make this right. The fact is, in July the CEO sent me a document saying the council's kWp was 304."

He said he has now demanded an explanation for the error from the council: "It is the duty of a councillor to seek the truth and to date there is no answer to the question."

The out-of-date document sent to Coun Dean was signed by chief executive Ged Curran and Caroline Holland, director of corporate services at Merton Council.

They have yet to comment.

Comments (2)

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9:27am Wed 20 Aug 14

tjames says...

council staff do these things deliberately?

why is judge wearing fluorescent jacket--hes on a roof not standing in the road!?
council staff do these things deliberately? why is judge wearing fluorescent jacket--hes on a roof not standing in the road!? tjames
  • Score: -1

8:34am Thu 21 Aug 14

Randyrain says...

Either the people running the council are incompetent (surely not?!) or they have such a low regard for being held accountable by councillors that they cant even be bothered to make sure their figures are correct. And why would they, it's not their money being spent!

Bit disappointed the local paper took this line against a councillor who has tried to get an answer to something and was misled. If the reporter was given wrong information would they like readers to mock them as "confused"? Or for councillor judge to say that they "make things up"?
Either the people running the council are incompetent (surely not?!) or they have such a low regard for being held accountable by councillors that they cant even be bothered to make sure their figures are correct. And why would they, it's not their money being spent! Bit disappointed the local paper took this line against a councillor who has tried to get an answer to something and was misled. If the reporter was given wrong information would they like readers to mock them as "confused"? Or for councillor judge to say that they "make things up"? Randyrain
  • Score: 0

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