Yes, there is still money available to support community energy in Camden, but we have to act soon.

solar panelsThe last few months have been hard for community energy projects with national support being slashed. However, here in Camden we have an opportunity to apply for support from a new source of funding, the Community Infrastructure Levy or CIL.

The CIL is a new tax collected by Camden Council and paid by developers after their planning permissions are implemented. It is charged on all developments which add one or more new dwellings or more than 100sqm of floor space. The funds raised can be spent on infrastructure projects such as schools, transport, green spaces or community buildings. Although the majority of the funds will be spent centrally, 25% of the CIL will be available for local projects allocated on a ward by ward basis. The amount expected to be available each year will vary considerably by ward from just £6,375 in Frognal and Fitzjohns to £379,463 in St Pancras and Somers Town.

Ward councillors have been given the responsibility for determining a priority list of projects by 8 January 2015 and we’d like to see community energy projects high on those lists.

As an example, the recent installation of solar panels at Camden School for Girls, estimated to save 14 tonnes of carbon emissions annually, shows that such projects are desirable, feasible and deliverable. The capital cost of £27,000 (including VAT) was difficult to raise from donors and is unlikely to be replicable but would not be a large sum in the context of the expected CIL funds for the ward.

Here at CamdenCAN, we are focusing on Cantelowes ward being a reasonably significant beneficiary of the CIL (circa £243,188 expected) and also one in which we have strong links. We have identified a number of potential sites to put forward but are interested in hearing about others. More importantly though we want to be able to demonstrate that we have the support of Cantelowes ward, so if you live in the area please please do get in touch. You can check which ward you live in here. If you’d like to take this idea forward in your own ward we’d be happy to help too.

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