£10m loan to help reduce carbon emissions
Money will be spent on schemes including ‘liveable neighbourhoods’ and the electrification of council vehicles
21 February, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson
Green councillor Caroline Russell said the funding was ‘just a drop in the ocean’ in tackling the climate emergency
THE council has borrowed more than £10million to invest in a series of projects, including what it calls its traffic-cutting “liveable neighbourhood” scheme and the eventual electrification of its fleet of vehicles.
Announcing the loan of £10.2m from the Public Works Loan Board on Wednesday, the council revealed the biggest chunk would go towards a £1.5m substation at its Cottage Road waste recycling centre. This will tap into the National Grid, and eventually allow for around 230 of the council’s 500 vehicles to go electric.
Environment and transport chief Labour councillor Rowenna Champion said: “The vehicle fleet electrification is incredibly important for us. If we are going to get anywhere near our net zero carbon, we really have to tackle emissions.”
Another £1m will be ploughed into the council’s Liveable Neighbourhoods roll-out, starting with Mildmay and Highbury East.
Cllr Champion said the project was based on the Mayor of London’s “Low Traffic Neighbourhood” scheme, which allows councils to bid for cash to reduce traffic in specific areas.
“We know that we’ve got a crisis in health but also we know that neighbourhoods are suffering from not only the surge in the growth of London, but also in rat-running,” she said. “So our view is we’re really going to have to tackle that. It’s about changing the way we think about our streets. It will be about making sure we speak to residents and they are involved in the co-design of it.”
Green councillor Caroline Russell said the funding was welcome, but “just a drop in the ocean” of what was required to tackle the climate emergency.
“The Low Traffic Neighbourhood funding is very welcome, as is the commitment for the council to work with local people to co-design the scheme before a full public consultation,” she said.
The council is also going to use £400,000 to kickstart the stalled Finsbury Leisure Centre plans, which include social and private housing as well as new sports facilities.
Just under £500,000 will be spent on upgrading the council’s CCTV software, while another £1m was pledged by the council to roll-out a package of urgent works to primary schools across the borough. The works will not apply to every school in Islington, and will be allocated by priority order.
More than £800,000 will also go towards repairs and maintenance across the council’s early-years facilities and children’s centres, while Wray Crescent Cricket Pavilion will get to complete works and Tufnell Park Football pitches will get an all-weather pitch.
The council will accrue around £70,000 of interest for every million borrowed, and will pay the loan back over 20 years.