A MAN who wants to be Basingstoke’s next MP has slammed Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Tory leaders after it was revealed that they haven’t spent any cash from a fund dedicated to environmentally-friendly projects.

As reported in The Gazette, in April 2013, the borough Cabinet set aside £1million for a Green Investment Fund. The money was earmarked for green projects that cut carbon emissions, reduce waste and protect the natural environment.

However, The Gazette has this week learned that no money from the fund has so far been spent on projects around the borough.

Dr Paul Harvey, the Labour Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Basingstoke and Labour group deputy leader on the borough council, has branded the lack of investment by the ruling Conservative administration as “disgraceful”.

Dr Harvey said: “This shows that they (the Conservative administration) do not care about the green agenda.

“In Basingstoke, there is so much we can do to help people with fuel poverty and to help with recycling.

“This was their responsibility and they said ‘we will put money in a reserve and deliver projects’ and they have not done a thing.

“Environmentally-friendly projects are good for the environment and good for people and that is what matters.”

Dr Harvey was recently given a tour of Basingstoke College of Technology by deputy principal David Moir.

The trailblazing college, in Worting Road, installed 389 solar panels on its south campus building in 2012 in a bid to make it one of the largest providers of sun-fuelled power in Basingstoke.

During the first year of operation, the panels produced 89,350 KWh of energy – around 15 per cent of the electricity needed to power the south site of the college – and the college is set to recoup its outlay for the panels over the next eight years.

Talking about the success of the solar panels installed at BCoT, Dr Harvey said: “They are doing a massive job – it has taken 15 per cent off BCoT’s energy bills, and it is big, big money for them.

“Here, we have a proven scheme which generates income and which will save schools and colleges and public buildings a lot of money that they can reinvest in services.

“I am calling for the borough council to invest and put money into this.

“I think we can look at public buildings, and most definitely look at community buildings such as the Ridgeway Community Centre and the Oakridge Hall for All, where it might be appropriate.”

Cllr Hayley Eachus, borough Cabinet member for community services and the environment, said: “Since receiving the funding, the council has been investigating the most appropriate way of using it by ensuring it benefits both the environment and community as well as provides the council with a good return on the investment.

“A specific project has not yet been decided but we are working closely with consultants in relation to the Property and Alternative Investment Strategy, and any advice gained will also be used to agree the best use of the Green Investment Fund.”