Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

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 at ~£400,000pa (see below)  . This figure is 1/3 of one percent of their rates and a long way from Fermanagh and Omagh where the figure is ~ 9% of overall rates. Overall they were the second worst in N.I. and one of the worst in Ireland. (see NI Council revenue league table here)

In its internal operations, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon (AKA ABC Council) only had a tiny renewables income of ~£2163pa from PV panels and ~£1443 in savings from heat-pumps or solar thermal systems. They had no organised plan to transition the Councils operations to the New Economy‘. This Council will continue to suffer budgetary issues arising from cost inflation in fuel for power, heat and transport.

There appears to be no joined up plan to reduce energy costs overall and no plan to transition ABC Council Council to the ‘New Economy‘. Aside from the huge cost to the ratepayer in not migrating its buildings and fleets to cheaper forms of energy, there is no reason why ABC Council 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 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 ABC Council 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 energy transition by way of savings, additional income. or local well-paid 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 Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon’s reply; Council’s response.

Data Summary

See the breakdown summary of the Council here:

Annual £
Rates Income from Renewable Energy Projects £396,618
Income from Council’s own renewable energy £2,163
Cumulative annualised savings from energy savings campaign £1,443
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 £400,224