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Council takes step towards launching local climate bonds

Photo of Councillor Jonathan Dow

Eastbourne Borough Council is among the first six councils in England and Wales to pledge its support for a local climate bonds campaign to fund green projects.

The Green Finance Institute and Abundance Investment launched the campaign this summer to raise awareness and support councils through the process of releasing their own bonds.

The bonds would allow the council to raise money through a crowdfunding model, with residents able to invest from as little as £5.

Funding could be used for clean energy initiatives including wind farms and solar panel installations or climate action projects from rewilding through to electric vehicle planning.

Councillor Jonathan Dow, Cabinet member for Climate Change, said: "I am delighted we are among the first councils in the country to support this campaign, underlining our commitment to delivering a carbon neutral town by 2030.

"This is one of various steps being taken towards that goal and particularly attractive because it would give local residents the option of investing some of their savings, which in turn contributes to helping our town tackle the climate emergency."

By supporting the campaign, Eastbourne Borough Council has committed to exploring the launch of local climate bonds within 18 months of the global climate conference, COP26, this November.

Local Climate Bonds were first piloted by West Berkshire and Warrington councils in 2020, raising £2 million in total for projects including solar panels, habitat restoration, tree planting and LED lighting.

Karl Harder, co-founder and managing director of Abundance Investment, said: "Local councils will play a vital role in the success of the UK's transition to net zero, and launching a climate bond has proven an effective way to galvanise local interest and energy.

"Individually the challenge of the climate emergency can feel daunting but by investing together we can kick start hundreds of local green revolutions, investing from £5."

Eastbourne Borough Council recently completed the Net Zero Innovation Programme funded by the Local Government Association. The council's partner, The University of Sussex, carried out research and workshops with council staff to understand the barriers and opportunities for crowdfunded projects to address the climate emergency.

The report on their work, including how the council might progress with council bonds, can be found at: lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk - Eastbourne climate emergency