Torbay Council plans £1m green bond for local schemes

The money would be used to finance green council projects such as providing solar panels

The money would be used to finance green council projects such as providing solar panels - Credit: pxhere.com

Torbay Council is planning to set up a green bond scheme for people to invest in environmentally friendly projects in the area.

A provider would run the £1million fund with a guaranteed minimum return for investors, at no cost to the council.

The money would be used to finance green council projects such as providing solar panels.

A report highlights a scheme set up by West Berkshire Council which was the first of its kind in the country.

The Community Municipal Investment raised £1million from more than 600 investors in 2020, with a fifth from local people. 

The five-year bond gives 1.5 per cent net annual interest to investors. The fund was used to build rooftop solar panels at council-owned sites, supporting the policy to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Torbay Council has also committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and is developing solar energy schemes including two solar farms.

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The bond scheme is one of three financial initiatives recommended for approval in a report to a meeting of the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, May 18.

Councillors are being asked to invest £25,000 in the South West Mutual Bank, a co-operative bank which wants to provide a West Country-based alternative to the big high street institutions.

It aims to invest in local small businesses and social enterprises, and support people to manage their finances.

Other councils have already invested in the bank, which is applying for a licence and is expected to go live in 2022. 

It states: “We exist to help the people of the South West live fulfilling and meaningful lives, to get the most out of the place that they love and put the most back in to support the local economy.

"Our customers will also be our members meaning local people get a vote and a voice in everything that we do.” 

The Cabinet is also being recommended to invest £10,000 to improve access in Torbay to credit union funds.

The aim is to work with current providers to expand the use of credit unions in the area to provide an alternative source of finance for residents.

A report to the meeting says all three schemes would support community engagement, the council’s green agenda, and its aim to 'turn the tide on poverty'.