POTEnT Interregional Learning phase is not finished yet. Within these last months, key learnings from the project will be capitalized and Regional Action Plans completed. Here is one of the last study visits of the project.

1st March 2022: Milton Keynes shows another original and unexpected policy to achieve Carbon Neutrality – the Carbon Offset Fund (COF), another bright example of a City Council transforming energy transition.

With the warm welcome from the Sustainability team of MK City Council, Christine Ballard and Jeremy Draper welcomed a large number of participants to the online event. Three different presenters were chosen to unravel the technicalities of the Carbon Offset Fund.

The COF is generated through a CO2 tax included in MK Council Planning Policy D4 “All new developments to be carbon neutral in operation”. Luke Gledhill, planning officer at Milton Keynes City Council explained that developers must comply with policy D4, but if they cannot deliver carbon neutrality they must pay a set fee per tonne of carbon emission into a local Carbon Offset managed by the council, equalling to 200 euros. Indeed, developers need to comply with a list of key requirements concerning energy-efficient design, renewables, water conservation measures, low-impact building materials, waste reduction, and carbon neutrality. When the work is complete, a payment is made to the council and ring-fenced in the COF. The amount is then spent by the council on a wide variety of carbon saving initiatives within the city area to match the emissions of the new developments.

Many are the possible projects financed through this fund, such as the installation of PV panels on refurbished buildings as shown in the case of Stony Stratford Town Council, a city nearby Milton Keynes.

However, other forms of aid were completed in the past, such as grants to help to upgrade heating boilers, free energy-efficient lightbulbs to householders, free energy advice via a helpline and website, financial assistance for more ambitious energy refurbishment in social housing, street lighting upgrades, and rooftop photovoltaic installations on public buildings.

On the agenda, there is now a new challenge for Milton Keynes: making the COF easier and more accessible in order to elicit a greater involvement of local communities.

Ready, Steady Go!