April 2013: One of the many interesting things being developed by Islington – as set out in their recently launched Energy Strategy 2013-2016 – is the creation of a new ‘Carbon Offset Fund’. The Energy Strategy sets out that:
“A Carbon offset policy will be implemented in 2013 which will generate funding for investment in energy efficiency of existing social housing. As part of the Energy Statement building applicants will need to demonstrate how a scheme meets the relevant on site carbon emissions reduction targets by following the energy hierarchy:
- Maximise energy efficiency
- Supply energy efficiently using low carbon heating and cooling systems
- Incorporate renewable energy
- Offset remaining carbon emissions.
The council will look to use the carbon offset fund to mitigate emissions from existing stock by targeting specific projects that lower carbon emissions such as cavity wall and solid wall insulation , boiler replacements, improvements to communal heating systems and decentralised energy project work. In relation to DE, the energy strategy states that Islington has identified 14 heat network opportunities across the borough, which it intends to implement between 2013 and 2018. The total cost is estimated to be £42M with a funding gap of £20M expected to be filled by the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
Islington’s recently adopted Environmental Design Supplementary Planning document (SPD) highlights (para2.02) that “implementation of the carbon offset mechanism (part of policy CS10) will generate significant funding for investment in the energy efficiency of housing, including existing social housing – given that around 75% of the current building stock is likely to be still standing in 2050, this mechanism will be crucial to addressing fuel poverty.”
Importantly , the SPD sets out the offset costs:
” For all major developments the financial contribution shall be calculated based on an established price per tonne of CO2 for Islington. The price per annual tonne of carbon is currently set at £920, based on analysis of the costs and carbon savings of retrofit measure suitable for properties in Islington. The calculation of the amount of CO2 to be offset,and the resulting financial contribution, shall be specified in the submitted Energy Statement. The spending of carbon offset payments and monitoring of CO2 savings delivered will be managed by the council.”
Minor developments are to be treated differently: “As minor schemes are not required to produce Energy Statements to the same level of detail as major developments the process for carbon offsetting has been simplified. The cost of the offset contribution is a flat fee based on the development type as follows: Houses – £1500 per house; Flats – £1000 per flat. “
The rationale behind these cost charges is set out in some research undertaken for Islington – see AECOM Davis Langdon report Promoting Zero Carbon