News release from 01/05/2019

Fund to help communities shift towards zero carbon approved

Fund to help communities shift towards zero carbon approved

It’s been confirmed that a grant fund is to be established to help community groups across South Cambridgeshire shift towards a zero-carbon future.

The District Council’s Cabinet met today (Wednesday 1 May) and approved plans for the authority’s new Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme. It will provide funds for local groups to spend on ambitious activities that reduce carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels – as well as helping communities spread awareness and promote behaviour change towards low carbon lifestyles.

As a result, this summer community groups will be invited to bid for grants of between £1,000 and £15,000 each. These funds will be able to be spent on projects such as:

  • Energy-saving improvements to community buildings, such as insulation, secondary glazing, energy efficient lighting, battery storage for solar panels or other low carbon energy generation measures
  • Community energy projects such as solar panels, community wind turbines and battery storage
  • Electric vehicle charging points which the community could use
  • Purchase of an electric vehicle for community use
  • Community tree planting, to absorb carbon and increase biodiversity
  • Community schemes to scale up local circular economy initiatives (food, fashion, waste, travel)
  • Cycle paths and stands
  • Projects that tackle fuel poverty
  • Simple proposals such as cycle racks at bus stops or drinking fountains to encourage the use of reusable water bottles

A total of just over £90,000 is being made available for the scheme for 2019/20. The money comes from business rates from renewable energy sites in South Cambridgeshire that are retained by the Council and earmarked for use in green initiatives.

Non-profit groups or organisations that are based in South Cambridgeshire, or parish councils based within the district, will be able to apply from a date to be confirmed this summer. Other groups, such as schools, colleges and community interest companies will also be able to apply, as long as they apply as part of a partnership with a parish council or not-for-profit group.

The Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, Cllr Pippa Heylings (pictured - above), said: “I’m hugely excited that the Cabinet have backed this plan to give local, community groups the chance to play their part in tackling the climate emergency which we face. We’re doing everything we can as a Council to be green to our core and these grants give other local people, who are eager to do their bit to help the environment, the chance to be part of this journey. I’ve said many times recently that not enough action has been taken to address the environmental challenges we face and that’s why we are doing what we can at all levels to play our part. This is just the latest stride forward in our efforts to make the Council a green beacon. We’re working towards making South Cambridgeshire zero carbon by 2050, trialling electric vehicles where we can, putting more solar panels on our buildings, ensuring our Council homes are warm and properly insulated and making it as easy as possible for residents to recycle. There’s much more to come too.”

Cllr John Williams

The Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr John Williams (pictured - above), said: “Our Cabinet was unanimous in supporting this excellent new fund. It’s going to be a very effective way of helping grass-roots groups that are passionate about making a positive difference to their local environment. We’ll be announcing further details about when groups can start bidding this summer, so keep an eye on our website and social media for more information. I’m looking forward to receiving lots of bids later this year – whether they be for big, ambitious projects like community wind turbines or simpler ideas like water fountains or bicycle racks.”

The report discussed by the District Council’s Cabinet is available to read on this part of our website.