A council officer has suggested that the Cambridge Times should change its name to the Pedantic Times after a successful Freedom of Information Act request by the paper forced Fenland Council to admit it had given out false information.
News editor John Elworthy asked Fenland Council for a list of all wind turbine applications that have been passed or were in consultation and the community benefits councils must introduce with each application — known as section 106 agreements.
In an answer it emerged that the monetary benefits to the local area of one two-year-old turbine was £20,000. The council said that the money, earmarked for local transport, had not been collected because the developer could claim back any excess not spent in two years.
Elworthy also learned from a response that there was an eightyear period in which to spend the money and that a £1,000 annual payment for environmental education should be paid within 14 days of the turbine becoming active.
Tim Mills, Fenland's director of development, apologised to the paper for the error and said the council office responsible for section 106 payments "made an error doing the check quickly".
"You are right," he said. "It should be paid within 14 days." In a postscript to the email he added: "Do we now call you the Pedantic Times?"
Elworthy told Press Gazette: "The history of collection or noncollection of section 106 monies has been a long-standing campaign by this paper. It's not a case of being pedantic but correct. The truth is we were right, Fenland was wrong."