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West Berkshire Council: Community municipal investment

  • Location: West Berkshire

  • Purpose: The council published an Environment Strategy for 2020 - 2030 following its declaration of a climate emergency in 2019. The strategy looks at reducing the environmental impact on all the areas it has responsibility for and includes a carbon neutrality by 2030 target (for scope 1 and 2 emissions). In order to finance some of the projects set out in the strategy, the council set up ‘climate bonds’, what it calls ‘community municipal investment’ (CMI), so that local residents, community groups, and businesses can invest in green projects across the area.

  • Description: The CMI was set up in summer 2020, and reached its £1 million target by October that year. Six hundred and forty investors contributed to the bonds from across the country, with one in five looking to put money into wildflower verges. Other projects that the climate bonds have raised include:

    • £520,000 to install solar PV on a local school, care facility, and council offices;

    • Tree planting;

    • Active travel improvements.

The scheme allows the council to borrow money at a lower rate than conventional funding sources, in turn reducing the pressure on council taxpayers. To reassure investors, the council made sure that the CMI was regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

  • Conservative councillor/ council lead: Cllr Steve Ardagh-Walter, Executive Member for Environment and Transformation, and Cllr Ross Mackinnon, Executive Member for Finance and Economic Development

  • Further links: West Berkshire Council CMI webpage, West Berkshire Council Environment Strategy 2020 - 2030, and Local Government Association Financing Green Ambitions publication.

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