Islington Council is pushing hard in terms of what planning policy can do to achieve net zero carbon. Through their draft ‘Local Plan’, the council are setting sustainable planning standards and design policies for new and refurbished buildings, focusing on energy efficiency using high standard fabrics and specified heating systems. This is already paying off; better insulation of their building stock has led to carbon savings of 8,600 tonnes of CO2 and financial savings of £1.5 million per annum.
In addition to requiring developments to be as carbon neutral as possible, Islington have pioneered the use of carbon offsetting payments from new development to help support the delivery of projects to reduce carbon emissions. In practice, this means that developers are required, through planning agreements, to make payments for any emissions not dealt with by onsite measures. These payments are used to fund projects via the Carbon Offset Fund that reduce carbon emissions.
To date, the Carbon Offset Fund has made allocations of £4.8 million to projects across the borough that have delivered an estimated reduction in carbon emissions of 375 tonnes per year. The Islington Community Energy Fund has been established to commission innovative energy projects delivered by communities and local organisations which benefit local people and tackle climate change, with £786,000 from the Carbon Offset Fund being made available to support projects so far.