Tower Hamlets’ carbon fund from planning levies wins local government award

Solar panels on Poplar Harca's Lansbury estate in Leven Road helps families cut electricity bills. P

Solar panels on Poplar Harca's Lansbury estate in Leven Road helps families cut electricity bills. Picture source: Poplar Harca - Credit: Poplar Harca

A carbon fund using planning levies on new developments to eradicating ‘fuel poverty’ and reduce emissions in homes and schools has won Tower Hamlets Council a prestigious national award.

Marina Martin gets a new boiler in her home in Bethnal Green under Tower Hamlets Council’s replaceme

Marina Martin gets a new boiler in her home in Bethnal Green under Tower Hamlets Councils replacement scheme. Picture source: LBTH - Credit: LBTH

The authority took top Environmental Services title at the Local Government Chronicle awards.

The fund is drawn from ‘planning obligation’ payments to cover the cost of schemes helping reduce fuel emissions by making homes and schools more energy efficient.

“This award is national recognition for our Carbon Fund,” the council’s energy service manager Abdul Khan said. “The fund comes from planning levies we use to improve energy efficiency.”

The fund aims to alleviate the East End’s fuel poverty crisis and maximise incomes for families hit by welfare cuts.

Solar panels in Cordelia Street, Poplar. Picture source: Poplar Harca

Solar panels in Cordelia Street, Poplar. Picture source: Poplar Harca - Credit: Poplar Harca


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It also pays for an ‘earth rock’ project teaching primary schoolchildren through music how to look after the planet for future generations and a project which has helped 17 schools to reduce costs and improve classroom heating.

Another project is the boiler replacement scheme for owner-occupiers to get rid of inefficient systems and faulty radiators and install energy efficient boilers, draught-proofing and insulation.

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Marina Martin (pictured) had a new boiler fitted in her home in Nelson Gardens, Bethnal Green, under the council’s boiler replacement programme in time for the winter.

Housing estates in Poplar and Bromley-by-Bow are using rooftop solar panels installed by their social landlords, Poplar Harca, which won a European sustainability award in October. The panels help 800 households keep their homes warm and snug.

Harca is also running a project tackling fuel poverty, like the council, helping families struggling to pay their energy bills.

The council’s Carbon Fund is also soon launching a scheme for small firms to improve energy efficiency and a ‘community solar’ project with grants to install renewable energy technologies in buildings like Poplar Harca’s solar panels.

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