Islington’s green investment fund raises £1m target – with one resident throwing in £50k just before deadline

Environment and transport boss Cllr Rowena Champion. Photograph: Islington Council

One resident stumped up £50,000 in a last-minute investment into Islington Council’s £1m green fund – designed to bankroll projects that tackle the climate emergency.

The deposit means 54 Islington residents invested a fifth, or £207,150, of the total, which the council hopes will help it achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

The community investment fund is the first in the capital and was launched during the Islington Together green festival in the autumn.

It comes as the authority estimates it will cost £1bn to decarbonise Islington, and with London Councils saying £100bn is needed to retrofit the capital’s three million homes to make them greener.

The Town Hall extended the fund’s deadline by a month after it raising more than three quarters of its target by the end of last year.

Overall, 661 investors across the country put money into the scheme, with the minimum investment as little as £5.

The council’s environment and regeneration scrutiny committee heard about the level of local investment as it discussed financing green projects.

Investors will get a return of 1.55 per cent , with interest paid every six months and the promise of the original outlay being paid back after five years.

It is a “cheaper form of borrowing” for the council than traditional routes such as the Public Works Loan Board.

The fund will be run in partnership with crowdfunding platform Abundance Investment.

It is the first UK fund that is eligible to be part of an innovative finance ISA.

The money will help fund schemes such as School Streets, which shut roads to traffic at school pick-up and drop-off times, zero-carbon waste collection, and the installation of electric vehicle charging points.

The council also plans to improve local facilities to boost its recycling rate of 30 per cent and to put in low energy lights and solar panels on council buildings.

The Town Hall has pledged to keep in touch with investors each month to tell them about the progress of these green projects.

Executive member for environment and transport Rowena Champion said: “Tackling the climate emergency and creating a cleaner, greener, healthier borough is a leading priority for the council, but it’s always been clear that we can only achieve that with the support of local people. ”

West Berkshire Council became the first in the UK to launch a £1m green community investment scheme, and a quarter of the 640 investors were local.

Warrington Borough Council in Cheshire also launched a fund in 2020 to  raise £1m for a new solar farm near Cirencester in Gloucestershire.

Camden Council is planning to reveal details of its own scheme this year.