Lisburn and Castlereagh

This Council had no idea what increase in rates it has had from the energy transition for the ratepayers of Lisburn and Castlereagh. The NI Department of Finance were able to break down £466,386 pa from 4 different types of renewable energy projects.  This is less that half or one percent of rates. This compares to Fermanagh and Omagh at 9% very unfavourably.  Lisburn and Castlereagh is the 3rd worst Council in NI, and one of the worst in Ireland. (see NI Council revenue league table here)

In its internal operations, Lisburn and Castlereagh appears to be considering energy savings from renewable energy of a thermal or electrical nature like heat pumps.  It also has a wind turbine installed but not operational. The neighbouring Ards and North Down Council has a turbine producing an annual income of ~£150,000 pa.

There appears to be no joined up plan to reduce energy costs overall and no plan to transition Lisburn and Castlereagh 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 Lisburn and Castlereagh as an urban council area could not own wind or PV farms in its own District or in other Councils 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. 

Given this Districts location on the outskirts of Belfast and the big urban areas within the District it is ideally placed to have millions of pounds a year in rates either from its own PV or wind farms, or from any of the 9 main types of renewable energy from private planning applications.

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..  Lisburn and Castlereagh 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 in savings, additional rates income or local well-paid jobs.

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 Lisburn and Castlereagh’s reply; Council’s response.

Data Summary

See the breakdown summary of the Council here:

Annual £
Rates Income from Renewable Energy Projects £466,386
Income from Council’s own renewable energy £0
Cumulative annualised savings from energy savings campaign £0
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 £466,386