Ards and North Down

This Council had had no idea of their income from renewable energy projects by way of rates. Department of Finance provided us with this information with ~£310,000pa . This figure is less half a percent of their rates and a long way from Fermanagh and Omagh where the figure is ~9% of overall rates. (see NI Council revenue league table here)

In its internal operations, Ards and North Down owned a wind turbine giving an income of £147,099pa and PV panels with an income of £6,862. There was also a small energy saving from solar thermal at the Environmental Centre in Bangor of ~£3500.  None of this appeared to be part of an organised plan to transition the Councils operations to the ‘New Economy nor part of a plan to reduce the Councils substantial power, heat and transport costs.

Given the Councils proximity to Belfast and its own urban areas, there is no reason why Ards and North Down could not own wind or PV farms in its own District or in other Council areas as is now becoming normal in GB -> see Warrington for instance.  Or West Suffolk. Or UK’s biggest Council Energy Storage Scheme. Here 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 Ards and North Down 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 or well paid 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 Ards and North Down’s reply; Council’s response.

Data Summary

See the breakdown summary of the Council here:

Annual £
Rates Income from Renewable Energy Projects £308,990
Income from Council’s own renewable energy £153,961
Cumulative annualised savings from energy savings campaign £3,500
Savings from the electrification of Council’s vehicle fleet £0
Rates Income from fossil fuel/nuclear electricity plants £0
Rates Income from grid infrastructure and related plant £0
Total  £466,451