Antrim and Newtownabbey

Antrim and Newtownabbey Council in their Freedom of Information response were one of only 2 Councils that were aware they had rates income from renewables.  They estimated their rates or their energy savings from renewables at approximately ~£150,000 per annum rather than the actual rates per the Department of Finance for this District of ~£500,000 per annum (see below).  But this figure is less that 1% of their rates and a long way from Fermanagh and Omagh Council where the figure is ~9% of overall rates. (see NI Council revenue league table here)

In their internal operations, there appeared to be no joined up plan to reduce the millions of pounds Antrim and Newtownabbey spend on power, heat and transport. They had no plan to transition the Councils operations to the ‘New Economy. and put Councils finances on a firmer more affordable basis for the future. They only had PV panels producing ~29,000 kW hours pa worth about £5000 per annum.

Given their proximity to Belfast, and their own urban areas, Antrim and Newtownabbey could own a wind or PV farm in their own District or in other Council area as is now becoming normal in GB -> see Warrington for instance.  Or West Suffolk. Or UK’s biggest Council Energy Storage SchemeHere is a report from Bradford Council that backs up what other GB Councils have found – It is far cheaper and more efficient to ‘go green’ and the ratepayers benefit from the new circular economy. 

It is clear that when the transition in energy sources is complete in N.I., there will be an average of ~£20 million pa in rates for each of the 11 Councils in N.I..  But Antrim and Newtownabbey do not have a plan to realise their share of what will be the fastest growing area in rates income over the next 10 years and thus unlikely to reap the full benefit of the transition in savings and in additional income and local jobs for young people like us.

We have learned a lot these last 2 years. We now know the full potential of Councils in Northern Ireland to benefit their ratepayers in dealing with Climate Change. These powers are considerable, even though they are not as extensive as Councils in Britain and the Republic of Ireland.  N.I. Councils have, collectively MORE power than the Northern Irish Regional Assembly at Stormont in Belfast.  SEE HERE for the 2023 template where we are more thoroughly and extensively vetting councils. 

How do we know this information?

In Northern Ireland, we found that the Department of Finance was very helpful, providing a full breakdown of rates by council on each type of renewable energy project. Here are the 3 freedom of information replies we got from them.

  1. Rates for every type of renewable energy project by Council
  2. Rates for fossil fuel generators by Council (no nuclear in NI)
  3. Overall rates for each Council area.

Council’s Reply

See Antrim and Newtownabbey’s reply; Council’s response.

Data Summary

See the breakdown summary of the Council here:

Annual £
Rates Income from Renewable Energy Projects £487,912
Income from Council’s own renewable energy £0
Cumulative annualised savings from energy savings campaign £5000
Savings from the electrification of Council’s vehicle fleet £n/a
Rates Income from fossil fuel/nuclear electricity plants £0
Rates Income from grid infrastructure and related plant £0
Total £492,912