News and views from Paul Bull, the Labour and Co-operative Councillor for the St THOMAS Ward of Exeter City Council. Promoted by Dom Collins on behalf of Paul Bull, both of 26b, Clifton Hill, Exeter, EX1 2DJ.
A green-thinking council has won recognition at the highest level for its efforts to become an energy-neutral authority.
Exeter City Council beat off tough competition from dozens of other local authorities to win the Environment Award at last night’s Local Government Chronicle Awards in London.
Judges described Exeter’s submission as an “Excellent project, well-funded and supported and able to demonstrate achievements.”
The reward recognises the City Council’s work over recent years to reduce its carbon footprint and encourage others to do the same. By bringing in environmentally-friendly initiatives like solar panels and energy efficient lighting, the Council is able to save money and protect the environment at the same time.
The City Council is striving to become an energy neutral council by 2050.
Cllr Rachel Sutton, Lead Councillor for City Development, said: “I am delighted that the LGC has recognised the work we are doing at the City Council. Thanks to a whole host of green-thinking initiatives we will see a massive 37% reduction in energy consumption here at the Civic Centre and throughout our other buildings.”
The delivery of a vast programme of energy efficiency and solar PV projects, including some ground-breaking initiatives over the last year will bring about savings and a gross income of over £500,000 per annum. This is of huge benefit to the Council, reducing budgets and protecting Council services, as well as supporting the community and businesses.
Pioneering Solar PV canopies – the first of their kind in the UK – have been placed on two city centre car parks, and the latest installation is a 1.5MW array at the Council’s Livestock Centre. This is believed to be the largest roof top solar array in the South West, with 5,246 panels.
The PV array completed in December, follows the installation of a new roof on the building, funded by the savings and income generated by the solar panels. The array will produce 1,404mwh of energy a year, enough to power 335 homes and save 790 tonnes of carbon a year.
The Council also recently completed a solar PV installation at the former Electricity Building – now the Quay Climbing Centre – which enables the Council to sell renewable energy generated at a discounted price to the leaseholder. A second scheme of this type has also benefited the Exeter CVS at Wat Tyler House.
Other highlights have seen the City Council install Park & Plug car charging points in car parks around the City and the local authority’s involvement in the setting up of district heating networks like the one at Exeter Skypark and in the near future at the Monkerton housing development.
Exeter City Council has been nominated for two awards in the LGA Awards 2016
Environment Award [sponsored by Repic]
This award is awarded to mark excellence in any aspect of councils’ work in environmental services, including sustainability, recycling, refuse collection, and street cleaning. Entries will be judged on the innovation of their submissions and the extent to which it has improved the environment in their area and/or the efficiency of service delivery.
Submissions should focus on:
A full description of the project and its aims;
A detailed explanation of costs, how it was funded and where the expertise for it came from;
The impact of the council’s work on the lives of local people, for instance by showing how their concerns led to a positive response;
Evidence that the project has met its goals.
Award entries will be judged upon:
The extent to which the council’s work was an innovative response to a significant concern and potentially can be replicated in other areas;
The quality of the outcomes obtained from the project, for instance in improved or more efficient services;
Evidence of buy-in to the project or its goals from members of the local community or external organisations.
Bristol City Council
Cambridgeshire County Council
Exeter City Council
Keep Britain Tidy
Lincolnshire County Council/Keep Britain Tidy
London Borough of Lambeth
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Public Power Solutions, a Wholly Owned Company of Swindon Borough Council
Staffordshire County Council
Efficiency [sponsored by National Audit Office]
Councils face continued pressure to reduce costs and increase their efficiency. Many have now reached the point at which further efficiency can be achieved only by innovative approaches and new relations with citizens and partner organisations. The focus is on how to secure “better for less”. This award is intended to highlight how the most imaginative councils are facing this challenge.
Submissions should focus on:
Outlining your savings and efficiency targets for 2013-14, 2014-15 and beyond, the extent to which you achieved those targets and the evidence you use to both set targets and measure performance against them;
How you have used the pressure to cuts costs to prompt organisational change and secure improved outcomes;
The main drivers of and barriers to securing efficiencies;
How you have engaged local citizens, service users and partner organisations in this work.
Award entries will be judged on:
The scale of the council’s ambition and the extent to which it has succeeded in achieving it;
Whether securing savings and efficiencies has driven service improvements;
The process the council adopted, including stakeholder engagement;
The quality and use of the evidence base available to the council.
ENGIE & North Tyneside Council
Exeter City Council
Hampshire County Council and Argenti Teleheathcare
Leeds City Council
London Borough of Ealing
London Borough of Newham
Peterborough City Council
South London SEN Commissioning Programme
The submissions for both categories were based on this document
Becoming an Energy Neutral Council
Exeter City Council is a cost efficient, forward thinking Council, working to reduce its carbon footprint and encouraging others to do the same. A new commitment to make real change and deliver Exeter’s aspiration to become a lead sustainable authority has been embarked on. The goal is to deliver long term financial and carbon savings as Exeter strives to become an energy neutral council. This ambition is supported by an innovative programme of energy efficient and renewable initiatives, financially supported and already producing substantial savings.
The City Council’s target is to reduce its base load energy consumption, deliver financial savings and cut carbon emissions to support Council services as well as supporting the community and business.
Building a Sustainable Council
Consumption across all council assets increased in 2012/13 at a rate of 19%. This pattern of energy consumption was unsustainable and presented a real threat to the ability of Exeter City Council to continue to provide quality services. As a result a new fully enabled commercially driven Energy Team was established in Corporate Property Assets to drive forward a Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme. The team laid down an ambitious programme to achieve energy reduction, to generate renewable energy, to be an energy neutral Council. In addition, the programme would tackle carbon produced (4500 tonnes in 2012/13) with a 20% reduction achievable by year 3.
The Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme
Solar PV installed in early 2013 to four main Council facilities proved far reaching and demonstrated the value of renewable technology. To date the PV array’s at the Council’s Civic Centre, Oakwood House Office, Materials Recycling Facility, and Museum Store has exceeded the Government’s performance data by 32%; subsequently the project is predicted to break even within 5 years and will provide an index linked income stream for a further 15 years. During the first full year of operation, the 180kW PV array delivered an income of nearly £48,000 and saved 82 tonnes of carbon.
The innovative Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme included further PV installations to Council buildings, including a pioneering Solar Canopy Car Park project (PV arrays to the top deck of 2No.city car parks), an installation on the Grade II listed Royal Albert Memorial Museum, City Climb Centre and a 1.5MW array to the Council’s Livestock Centre. In addition, the Climb Centre, Car Park Arrays and Livestock Centre all provide energy to other organisations. Using a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) the Council has become an energy provider, selling discounted renewable energy to its leaseholders, supporting local business and the voluntary sector with cheaper energy bills.
Real Innovation – Solar Canopy Arrays on Multi-story Car Parks
The Solar Canopy arrays are installed on two of our largest City Centre Car Parks, our most complex solar project to date. The solar Car Park project has broken new ground, not only in the South West, but also nationally and represents innovation that can be shared. The PV arrays will provide an income of over £50,000 per annum over 25years, generating 285,227 kwh per year of renewable energy, and saving 150 tonnes of CO2 per year. They present:
Zero Carbon. Linked to low energy lighting installed, a zero carbon parking service is achieved.
Dual Benefit. The Car Park Canopy structures provided undercover parking, providing for more attractive parking, happier customers and increased parking revenue.
Technical Innovation. The Solar canopy project is a UK first and provides a workable structural and parking solution.
Solar EV Charging. Car Park Users will be able to charge Electric Vehicles for free using renewable energy.
Community Benefit. Local installer, local design and engineering, visible profile promoting the benefits of solar PV, and sale of energy to local voluntary group based in a building next to Car Park.
Other energy efficiency measures in buildings
It can be seen that renewable technology provides for enormous cost savings and delivers long term income. By the same token, key energy saving projects are vital if Exeter is to reduce consumption and to make for a sustainable property asset.
An LED lighting replacement project at the Council’s main offices has proved a huge success reducing consumption by 60%, demonstrating significant long term energy and cost savings of £32,000 per annum. Additional benefits include reduced maintenance and improved lighting which has made for better working environment.
LED lighting has also been effectively installed in city centre car parks, again reducing electricity consumption, in some cases up to 65% (see snapshot below- Harlequins Car Park). As well as reduced maintenance/ administration costs the lighting is significantly improved, making for well lit and safer car parking.
The success of the LED project is shared with residents to promote the benefits of LED, featuring in the Council’s quarterly newspaper delivered to every home in the City.
Further energy efficiency schemes include removing paper towels and installation of low energy hand driers, water saving devices which have delivered savings of over £20,000 per annum since installation in 2013, and replacement of the incumbent oil fired boilers that heat the Civic Offices with gas boilers..
The new efficient boilers allow for a saving of over £28,000 per annum and the removal of oil provides a significant carbon saving. The space left as a result of the clearing the existing oil tanks provides a new bike store for staff, encouraging green travel.
Future energy saving measures planned include staff engagement projects to reduce consumption further, to tackle the unoccupied base load of the Civic Offices, utilising low energy kitchen facilities. This will not only deliver a financial return, but make for an improved and more creative working environment.
All in all the Civic Centre has been transformed into an energy efficient building, benefiting from significant cost and carbon savings, as well setting an example of best practice. This is clearly demonstrated by the energy consumption graph below.
The Council’s aspiration for Energy Neutrality, through self financed investment in renewables and other energy saving schemes, forms an essential cornerstone to achieving a 20% reduction in carbon emissions, whilst essentially safeguarding public services through income generation.
A strategy to deliver an Energy Neutral Council is one built on:
Maximising our Commercial Business Opportunities. All projects are delivered on the basis of a robust business case. The income and savings delivered create new income streams which support key Council services.
Leadership. Exeter has been able to share its expertise and influence local residents and business as well as influencing the national energy agenda.
Wellbeing. Energy projects can help to improve wellbeing and supporting community energy schemes, and to assist in reducing fuel poverty.
Sustainable Economic Development. Energy projects present an opportunity to stimulate growth by generation of local jobs.
Energy Security. A consistent, reliable and affordable energy supply providing greater sustainability, energy security and protection against environmental and carbon taxes.
Carbon Reduction. Lover environmental impact, improved well being for the people of Exeter. A low carbon City.
To date the savings are clear, with energy consumption of the Council’s total estate cut by 2.5milllion kwh. Based on projects completed up to December 2015 a reduction of 15.25% is achieved in 2015/16 and a gross income of £319,000. Moreover projects recently completed, all within year 2 of the programme will provide for considerable decline in consumption, a reduction of 37% in 2016/17 and a gross income of £522,000, with a carbon saving of 24%.
The above is the work of a dedicated and enthusiastic Energy Team of two people, that in itself demonstrates real achievement. The projects realised are substantial and already provide real and significant savings, demonstrating leadership for community benefit. The Energy Team’s individual expertise has gained support from elected members, enabling all projects to be self financed by the Council. Future projects planned and future development of the Renewables and Energy Saving Programme will ensure Exeter continues to reduce energy consumed, increase renewable energy generated and achieve its aspiration to be an Energy Neutral Council.
Other Projects and Collaboration
The following projects demonstrate Exeter is fast becoming a lead authority, one that is collectively making ground breaking steps to be a truly low carbon City, and one that sets a standard for all.
Last year, the Council underwent a fleet review by the Energy Saving Trust. This indicated that savings could be generated by the replacement of life-expired vehiclesby electric rather than petrol or diesel versions. Generally our vehicles do not travel beyond our compact administrative area, so the limited range of such vehicles is not an issue. The first phase of a new electric vehicle fleet is underway with electric pool cars and small operational vans already in service.
The above acquisition was made possible by our success with a bid to OLEV in 2013, which has provided for seven twin charging points. The chargepoints are called ‘Plug and Park’ Stations and the design is a highly visible one promoting Electric Vehicle use. The chargepoints are situated in key city locations, including car parks where they are available for public use. Drivers pay the normal parking charge but do not have to pay for charging.
Low Carbon Task Force
The Council is an active member of the Exeter and Heart of Devon Low Carbon Task Force, an association of public and private sector organisations reporting to the Growth Board for the area, including local authorities, Chamber of Commerce, Eon, the University of Exeter, and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RDE).
The Task Force drives the delivery of a low carbon economy, working to: Develop low carbon heating and power solutions in the Exeter and East
Devon Growth Point. Explore opportunities to develop a city centre heat network. Help local businesses to save energy and adopt new technologies. Develop Eco opportunities to eco-refurbish homes.
District Heat Networks
The Council is working with key stakeholder and the Low Carbon Task Force to develop goals listed above, including two district heat networks in Exeter. Such a system is already operating in Cranbrook, this takes heat from a CHP plant to dwellings in the town and the Skypark employment area.
A similar scheme is underway for Monkerton, a strategic development area in the east of the city, with a site available for a CHP plant to which major landowners have signed up. A further scheme, as part of a city centre regeneration project on thecurrent Exeter bus station site, includes retrofitting some existing large premises such as the RDE, and linking to a new Energy from Waste Plant at Marsh Barton. The Council is working with partners on a delivery model, including an Energy Supply Company with public sector involvement to deliver the city centre scheme.
The Council has used planning conditions and section 106 obligations to ensure that new development in the relevant areas is designed to be compatible with a district heating network, and to connect to such a network when it becomes available. Section 106 obligations have also secured essential financial contributions.
Low Emissions Strategy
In 2013/14 the Council was awarded Air Quality Grant funding by DEFRA to develop a Low Emissions Strategy for Exeter. This is important because the city was designated an Air Quality Management Area where nitrogen dioxide concentrations exceed objectives because of traffic emissions. The strategy will deliver innovative and sustainable ways to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions, working with key stakeholders to ensure that carbon and air quality policy are mutually beneficial, and improve the health of those living close to the busiest roads.
The Green Accord is a proven environmental accreditation scheme developed by Exeter City Council, Global Action Plan and key local businesses. It has received national acclaim (see national award recognition below), endorsement from the audit commission and is a standard used by other public bodies such as Exeter University and the MET Offce.
The Green Accord is an accreditation that drives sustainability and addresses the environmental responsibilities facing those who procure. It demonstrates best practice and the reduction of environmental impact through the whole supply chain, by demanding practical actions and the instigation of alternative working practices. To date the scheme has helped hundreds of businesses to make efficiencies, improve working practices and reduce operational costs, not only providing for environmental savings but also improved business worth.
Exeter City Council was announced WINNER of the Environment category at the LGC Awards 2016 ceremony on the evening of 16 March 2016.
Earlier tonight, Exeter City Council met in the Guildhall to set the Council’s budget for 2016-17.
There has been a series of meeting that contributed towards the setting of the Budget since the Government announced the provisional Local Government Settlement on 17 December 2015. The Council is to receive £5.802 million in 2016/17, which is £110,000 lower than predicted within the Medium Term Financial Plan. However, it was decided NOT to revisit the budgets as the shortfall could be managed within the budget.
The Local Government Finance Settlement also set the referendum level for District Councils in the lowest quartile of Council Tax rates at no more than £5 rather than 1.99%. Exeter falls into this category and therefore has the opportunity to increase its Council Tax by £5 (3.7%). Along with the increase in the taxbase this will raise an additional £269,000.
It should be noted that in the Government spending calculations, they have assumed that all authorities in the lower quartile will raise their Council Tax by £5 and have set the spending reductions accordingly.
The Council’s revenue estimates for next year were considered during thecycle of Scrutiny Committee meetings and the final budget report was discussed at the Executive meeting on 9 February 2016.
Regulations dictates the Council holds an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council when setting its budget
In the absence of Leader Cllr Pete Edwards [LAB, Whipton Barton], the Budget speech was delivered by his Deputy, Cllr Rachel Sutton [LAB, Exwick].
Thank you Lord Mayor.
I would like to start off by paying thanks to the Officers, especially Mark Parkinson, Dave Hodgson and his team, for their help in preparing these figures, and indeed for their work throughout the year.
I would like to set the context for this year’s budget by reminding everyone – members, officers and the wider public – that the reductions in funding received by local authorities like Exeter over the last few years from central government are amongst the most severe cuts we have faced in living memory.
This Council has had a 12.6% reduction in Government Formula Grant for the year 2016/17 on top of equally drastic cuts in previous years. Last year it was a cut of 15.6%.
Between 2010 & 2015 Exeter’s government grant has dropped from £12m to £7.7m but Exeter, unlike some local authorities has not been sleep walking towards oblivion, we have been working hard to make the necessary changes and plans for a future when the money we get from central government will have been cut to a fraction of what it was if indeed it doesn’t disappear completely.
In the financial year 2014/15 we made £1.5m in savings, and we continue to streamline and modernise the services we offer to residents and businesses by finding smarter and more efficient ways of working like setting up Strata with our neighbouring councils to deliver IT services across three local authorities and gain financial savings of 7m over the next 10 years.
We are working with our partners in the NHS, the voluntary sector and at Devon County Council to offer the Integrated Care for Exeter [ICE] project that will deliver better services that meet the needs of our citizens and which will save money and resources across all the partner organisations.
But in setting the budget for 2016-17, I am proposing a balanced budget with much of the lost formula grant replaced by additional income streams guaranteed long into the future. These include the guaranteed income from the Feed In Tariff payments on solar panels fitted on the rooves of two of our Car Parks, the Museum, the Quay Climbing Centre, The Phoenix and the largest solar array in Exeter at over 7,000 panels at the Livestock Centre, which on its own will generate over £160,000 a year in income for the Council. And in addition to the financial savings we are reducing our carbon footprint .
In addition to these solar panels we have also replaced our inefficient boilers at the Civic Centre and installed LED lighting in our offices and car parks.
These projects have also delivered tangible savings without affecting front line service delivery.
Cllr Edwards joined the leaders of more than 50 Labour-run councils in pledging to make all our towns and cities across the UK 100% clean before 2050, in line with the commitments made nationally and internationally at the Paris Summit on Climate Change in December 2015.
Our new and emerging partnership with Exeter City Futures and our own ambitious plans to be an energy neutral council by 2020 will go a long way to deliver the Leader’s Green Pledge.
We continue to deliver much needed housing:
In the last year we have built 26 brand new council houses for local families and we are about to begin work on providing an additional 26 new flats for older people next door to Rennes House
Since 01 April 2014, 64 affordable homes have been delivered with 235 further affordable homes consented and in the pipeline for national house builders.
In Exeter we have seen 3,468 new homes built since 2011-12 – more than any other district in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay – earning the Council £10.2m in New Homes Bonus with a significant proportion of these new homes suitable for wheelchair users.
However it must be pointed out that the Housing & Planning Bill currently going through parliament might put much of these plans in jeopardy threatening our ability to make decisions about how we run our Housing Revenue Account and plan for future building of council houses
We have provided new floodlights for the new and improved Flowerpots Skatepark so that the young people who use it can get the maximum benefit from the facilities
New businesses are now moving on the Exeter Science Park
Work is now progressing on a landmark building to house the Met Office’s £97m High Performance Computer.
Job creation continues to increase with new businesses relocating to the city – our own team have helped create 476 jobs in the city.
We continue to be an ambitious Council and are determined to ensure that the City achieves its potential and our residents receive quality services. We continue to support the City ensuring it stays at the forefront of economic recovery and will support the delivery of:
• A new Leisure Complex built to Passivhaus standards that the City will be proud of
• A modernised Bus Station fit to meet the needs of travellers to and from the City for many years to come;
• Two major events in and around the City in 2016 have already been announced – the Radio 1 Big Weekend at Powderham Castle and the European Rugby sevens event at Sandy Park. The Rugby sevens event will be held at Sandy Park for the next three years and building on the success of the Rugby World Cup, last year will further enhance the reputation of the City.
And all this is without the need to increase our overall borrowing requirement.
As a Council we have also supported greater investment in the infrastructure of the City.
We have this year agreed to provide:
• £1.3 million towards the delivery of the new railway station at Marsh Barton;
• £1.025m towards the delivery of a fully operational junction at Sandy Park to enable further development in the area;
• Over £200,000 towards the improvement of our car parks and to provide a permanent electricity supply to Exeter Farmers market.
Finally, for next year’s budget we have made further efficiency savings in the region of £1.1m.
We have again managed to achieve this without a reduction in front line services.
Lord Mayor, Councillors – the budget that I am proposing to you this evening aims to deliver a balanced budget that will protect and maintain the services which the citizens of Exeter need the most.
I therefore propose to you the recommendation set out in the papers before you in terms of the approval of both the revenue estimates and capital programme for the year 2016/17 and which will result in the setting of a District Council tax of £140.05 for a Band D property.
This is an increase of £5 a year for a Band D property less than 10p a week and still means that Exeter sets the 4th lowest Council Tax of any district.
I so move.
There was then a debate on the Budget.
The Leader of the Tory Group, Cllr Andrew Leadbetter [CON, St Loye ] agreed that central Government were cutting funding – but at the same time were enabling local authorities to find other ways to raise money to fund revenue budgets
However, he felt that his group would have to abstain because, although there were some good things in the Budget, there were other things in it that he and group couldn’t support.
Cllr Phil Bialyk [LAB, Exwick]said that imaginative leadership is taking this Council forward. He was pleased that the Budget proposed by the Labour Group had no additional cuts to frontline Council services. He pointed out that there was all that extra investment – all for an extra fiver a year.
Cllr Rob Hannaford [LAB, St Thomas] pointed out that the Council were working to best practice. He thought that we are still leading the way in delivering an ambitious programme despite the risks in the future – reduced revenue support grant, challenges to the self-financing of Housing Revenue Account, welfare reform cuts, unexplained programme of business rate retention following a futrure NNDR revaluation, devolution, and more. He concluded that he would be supporting a good, balanced and robust Budget.
Cllr Rosie Denham [ LAB, Whipton Barton] looked at one element of the Budget – the role Exeter City Futures will make in the work of the Council and the impact that will have on all of us, and our residents. She was grateful for the cross-party support for the initiative and hopes that the project, by taking a strategic approach, would tackle concerns over traffic congestion, health and the environment. Rosie was adamant that we should always think carefully over proposed schemes, programmes and policies, and noted that we are in the incredibly lucky position to be able to come up with imaginative and creative ways to balance our Budget but we shouldn’t take any of this for granted. She concluded that other local authorities were so fortunate and was frightened for the state of the roads, the schools, heath and social care elsewhere.
Cllr Stella Brock [LD, St David’s] questioned the no cuts message of the Budget and questioned the spending on the Bus Station development site [having voted against it at the outline planning stage].
In reply, Cllr Sutton said that the changes to services highlighted by Cllr Brock were not cuts per se but changes to work in smarter and more efficient ways. Rachel also pointed out that without the planned interventions from ECC, the Bus Station development site wouldn’t have levered in an investment of over £75m from the Crown Estate and TH Real Estate and would remain a blot on the landscape of the city centre.
In concluding the debate, Cllr Sutton said she was disappointed that NO alternative proposals were coming forward from the Conservative Group, describing it as lazy opposition. Indeed, she pointed out that we know what they are against, but they never state what they are for.
The meeting voted and RESOLVED:-
(1) That the following, as submitted in the Estimates Book, be approved:-
(a) the Revenue estimates for 2016-2017
(b) the Capital programme for 2016-2017;
(2) that it be noted that, at the meeting of the Executive on the 26 January 2016, the Council calculated the figure of 35,429, as its council tax base for the year 2016-2017 in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012 made under Section 33(5) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992;
(3) that the following amounts be now calculated by the Council for the year 2016-2017 in accordance with Sections 31A of the Local Government and Finance Act 1992:-
(a) £103,925,695 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2)(a) to (f) of the Act;
(b) £98,963,864 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3)(a) to (d) of the Act;
(c) £4,961,831 being the amount by which the aggregate at (3)(a) above exceeds the aggregate at (3)(b) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act, as its council tax requirement for the year;
(d) £140.05 being the amount at (3)(c) above divided by the amount at 2 above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B(1) of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year;
(e) Valuation Bands
(4) That it will be noted that, for the year 2016-2017, Devon County Council, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall and the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority have stated the following amounts on precepts issued to the Council, in accordance with Section 83 of the Local Government Act 2003, for each of the categories of the dwellings shown below:-Being the amount given by multiplying the amount at (3)(d) above by the number which, in the proportion set out in Section 5(1) of the Act, is applicable to dwellings listed in a particular valuation band divided by the number which in that proportion is applicable to dwellings listed in valuation band D, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 36(1) of the Act, as the amounts to be taken into account for the year in respect of categories of dwellings listed in different valuation bands.
Devon County Council
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority
(5) That, having calculated the aggregate in each case of the amounts at (3)(e) and (4) above, the Council, in accordance with Section 30(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, hereby set the following amounts as the amounts of council tax for the year 2016-2017 for each of the categories of dwellings shown below:-
Although the amended legislation came into force on 25 February 2014. there was anexpectation of the Government that authoritiesholding their annual budget meeting before this date will adopt the new ruling when setting their annual budget and council tax. ECC used a named vote at their budget setting meeting in 2015.
Cllr Bialyk, Cllr Branston, Cllr Brimble, Cllr Bull, Cllr Buswell, Cllr Choules, Cllr Denham, Cllr George, Cllr Hannaford, Cllr Hannan, Cllr Laws, Cllr Lyons, Cllr Morse, Cllr Owen, Cllr Packham, Cllr Pearson, Cllr Raybould, the Deputy Lord Mayor [Cllr Robson], Cllr Sheldon, Cllr Spackman, Cllr Sutton, Cllr Wardle, Cllr Vizard and Cllr Williams
Cllr Baldwin, the Lord Mayor [Cllr Foggin], Cllr Harvey, Cllr Holland, Cllr Leadbetter, Cllr Mottram, Cllr Newby, Cllr Prowse, Cllr Shiel and Cllr Thompson
It’s election countdown time – so time to prepare an elevator pitch for a floating voter!
“You’re a floating voter, you say. Over the next one hundred days or so, you’re going to be bombarded with facts and figures by all parties to try and convince you to vote for them.
And I’m going to be no different!
I’m proud of what Exeter Labour have done for the city.
Council Tax in the city is one of the lowest in the country, but by using our assets – our car parks and property portfolio – we’ve managed to avoid the worst ravages of auterity cuts imposed by the Tory-led Coalition Government. 
Exeter’s track record of increasing productivity has been highlighted as one of the best in the UK, second only to oil-rich Aberdeen. 
As a result, Exeter has a thriving economy – with vacant shops in the city at half the national average.
We see culture is an economic driver of the city – and Exeter is only 1 of 3 local authorities that spends 50p per week per person on arts, culture and heritage.
It’s always risky claiming to be the first…with 14 men and 13 women as part of the ruling Exeter Labour Group on the 40 member Exeter City, Council, I believe that we are one of the first to come close to 50:50 parity. Each and every time, I take care to qualify this claim.
So when I read on the website of Association of Green Councillors: 05 December 2014 Green councillor wins £200k for Britain’s first solar car park
alarm bells start ringing.
I started to read the article and notice Green councillor Simon Grover on St Albans Council is a little more cautious in describing his victory at the annual budget setting meeting on 03 December 2014 , where he as 1 of 29 who voted through an amendment that approved £200,000 investment in solar PV units for council-owned open air car parks (with a majority of one).
Simon said: “I am not aware of any other UK council car parks that use these, though there will be privately-run ones.”
And he went on to say that this would be “subject to all the usual planning and costing checks, but work should start..next year.”
But I KNOW that St Alban isn’t the first local authority to place solar PV panels on the top decks of their car parks.
Exeter City Council started to install solar PV panels on the roofs of Council building in March 2013, and by April 2013 Exeter Labour Party were already considering schemes for placing solar panels on other buildings including building canopies above the top deck of car parks.
The purpose of the report was “To support a programme of renewable and energy saving initiatives that will assist in the delivery of corporate priorities around improving the environment and maintaining the assets of the city as well as providing essential income and long term savings to the Council.”
The Resources Committee agreed to the recommendations and the report moved on to be considered at the Executive meeting of 01 April 2014.
They RESOLVED that:
(1) progress made to date in delivering renewable and energy efficient initiatives be noted;
(2) proposed new initiatives, included in Phase I and II as set out in the report be endorsed;
(3) the Corporate Manager Property, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder Enabling Services, Deputy Chief Executive and Assistant Director Finance be authorised to approve delivery of further energy saving projects within the Capital Programme funding allocation; and
(4) progress and outcomes of the programme be reported to Scrutiny Committee – Resources on a regular basis.
One of the first ideas to be explored was to progress the earlier plans to install solar PV panels on the City Council’s car parks.
So I’m not going to claim that Exeter City Council will be the first local authority to install solar PV panels in our owns car parks – but we are certainly in their with the vanguard with our ground breaking plans.
Earlier this evening I seconded a motion, proposed by Cllr Catherine Dawson of Mincinglake condeming the Conservative/LibDem coalition governments sham consultatioj over the rushed plans to change the level of Feed-In Tariff payment to those installing solar PV panels on their roofs.
Announced at the end of October, the changes came into effect yesterday, 10 days before the end of a consultation on the matter.
The motion: This Council calls on the Government to reverse its cruel cuts to the tariff which will harm a lot of residents in Exeter.
They are planning to cut the tariff for solar PV installations with a capacity of 4KW or less by more than 50% from 43p/kWh to 21p/kWh. For multiple installations the rate falls to 16.8p/kWh.
Their rushed cuts to the Feed in tariff for solar PV goes too far, too fast, hits families trying to protect themselves from soaring energy bills, put thousands of jobs and businesses in the solar industry in jeopardy and give lie to the government’s promise to be the “greenest government ever”
My speech seconding the motion: My Lord Mayor
As a long-time supporter of Green causes, it gives me great pleasure to second this resolution.
And I’m pleased that this is on a day when there are protests outside Parliament asking the Government to Cut Not Kill the solar power industry and two days before a legal challenge to the changes
But first I must declare a couple of interests.
Earlier in the year, SunGift Solar installed a Solar PV system on our roof and it’s currently generating electricity.
I’d like to thank Sungift Solar for honouring their pledge to put up Exeter’s Christmas lights for free.
The change in payments under the FiT scheme has meant they’ve been extremely busy, trying to install 6 months’ worth of orders [some 50 systems or so] in 6 weeks.
I am also a member of the Labour Party – the Party that in April 2010 introduced the Feed-In Tariff scheme [which is commonly shortened to FiT]
The FiT scheme is a process used by over 40 countries around the world that pays people to generate electricity from solar photovoltaic [PV] panels funded by a small levy on all energy bills
When the FiT was introduced by Labour in April last year, the Uk belatedly joined the party in one of the fastest growing markets of any kind globally.
The Feed-in Tariff certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s been incredibly successful at getting panels on roofs.
This doesn’t just help people reduce their electricity bills and carbon emissions – there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that seeing the panels in action (and reaping the rewards) can change the way people think about energy.
They then are more likely to make climate-friendly choices in other areas of their lives.
Yet back it when it was announced back in April 2010 it was criticised by the Conservative opposition.
Greg Clark, then Shadow Energy Secretary said: “FITs are essential to allow decentralised energy to play a major role in our energy mix, but Labour’s proposals today lack ambition.
“Ministers should have been bolder with this scheme so more jobs could have been created and greater reductions in emissions could have been achieved.”
But even before that, back in 2007, David Cameron welcomed FiT schemes when spoke [on video] to a Greenpeace conference.
Yes he was green. He was extremely green.
He was green with envy of the generous FiT scheme in Germany.
He saw how it was taking British-made technology and putting it on German roofs.
He wanted – and I quote –
“The right plans and the right political will to drive through a mass market for micro-generation”
So here’s a phrase I thought I’d never utter –
I AGREE WITH DAVID
In Opposition, both the Lib-Dems and Tories dismissed the Labour initiative as pitifully unambitious.
In Government, they pledged to do much more.
The Coalition Agreement even pledged to make FiT the centrepiece of their commitment to ‘community owned renewable energy generation’.
But you would never guess it now.
So what went wrong?
Were they got at by the Big 6 Energy Companies – and their paid lobbyists?
Did they listen to the Nuclear Industry – and their paid lobbyists?
All I know is that the solar energy industry was too busy putting solar PV panels on people roofs to have time to pay for lobbyists.
I’m proud of my green credentials to add to my socialist beliefs. I’m a Green Red
David seems to have taken his green thoughts, mixed them with his true blue blood and turned yellow.
I’m not criticising him for changing his mind – I’m criticising him for changing his mind from being so right to being so wrong.
Let’s look at some figures:
The UK solar energy industry employs 25,000 professionals compared with just 3,000 in 2010 The number of solar businesses has increased from 450 in 2010 to over 3,000 today Since the introduction of tariffs in 2010 a total of 87,769 solar installations have been completed in the UK
All of which could help the Tory Government meet its claim of being the greenest government yet – and at the same help the private sector create new jobs.
There are even more figures being bandied around about the cost of the FiT scheme.
I believe that might cost each household about £1.50 each year.
Ofgem, the energy regulator, confirms this estimate.
But is only might because other studies say the Treasury gets more back in tax and NI (from the jobs created) than it costs to run the scheme.
Either way, it is not a sum around which the economy will crumble
Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, isn’t sure what it will cost.
Each and every announcement seems to put the cost higher –
First £26, Then £28 but its assumed that was a slip of the tongue Then it went up to £55 and now rests around £80.
However, a figure that can’t be disputed is the one for decommissioning nuclear power stations.
The UK tax payer pays hundreds of times more than this towards the cost of decommissioning nuclear power stations and looking after the nuclear waste they generate.
According to the Government’s own figures, £6.93bn of taxpayers’ money was given to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in 2010-2011.
That figure equates to £260 per household.
We talk about micro-generation but it can generate a lot of electricity
the energy generation of solar power now exceeds the 225 megawatts maximu operating capacity of the Oldbury nuclear power plant
The cuts to the Feed-In Tariff will deprive the UK of a booming green industry that is driving jobs growth and providing an environmentally sustainable and long-term alternative to other fossil-fuel dependent methods of electricity.
Already leading solar firm Carillion has confirmed that some 4,500 jobs are now under threat due to the planned cut to the subsidy.
Indeed the firm that put solar panels on the Kensington roof of the Prime Minister have already laid off 2 workers.
So rashly withdrawing support from this burgeoning industry will be disastrous for both our economy and the environment.
What might not be known is that from the start it was always planned that Feed-in Tariffs were supposed to decrease annually, as the price of technology falls.
Unlike nuclear, solar does not need subsidising forever.
That was part of attraction.
There would be staged reductions in in the tariff, down to zero within the decade.
These reductions in tariff were to have been there to fairly reflect falling solar prices, and were planned so as to be not be too deep to stall the development of a domestic UK solar industry.
Cutting so far and so fast as this Government has done will put thousands of solar workers out of a job and pull the rug out from under small community groups that have already poured time and effort into their projects, but don’t stand a chance of meeting the new deadline.
Take Brighton Energy Cooperative, which was due to start selling shares but has been forced to put the entire project on hold until further notice.
Reading Council announced that they’d be drastically scaling back their school solar programme.
Even this Council’s own programme for solar PV panels on nearly 500 council homes was in doubt – but thanks to quick negotiations from our officers that one, at least, was rescued
Do these cuts need to happen at all?
Unlike other government programmes, the FiT scheme isn’t funded from general taxation – the costs are covered by a levy on energy bills.
When the Labour government was designing the scheme, they came up with an estimate of how much it would cost, and planned to revisit this figure once they had some proper take-up data.
When the coalition came into power and kicked off the spending review, they took this estimate, cut it by 10% and set that as the overall budget for the whole programme.
It’s not clear why the scheme was included in the spending review at all, since it isn’t funded directly by the treasury and doesn’t increase the deficit; but whatever the reason, it means that the whole idea of a Fit ‘budget’ is an invention of this government.
Decisions like this are really just a question of priorities – if a government really wants to do something it wil always find a way of financing it.
But in any case the impact of the Feed-in Tariff is tiny compared to spiraling gas prices and energy companies’ profits
And even if we rule out any bill increases, there are plenty of other ways to meet the cost – from a direct levy on energy company profits, to reallocating money from other programmes that have underspent.
Yet it recently emerged that climate minister Chris Huhne never even asked the treasury whether they could provide emergency funding to allow the cuts to be phased in gradually.
The real measure of a government lies in the choices it makes when there’s no easy option. Ministers need to ask themselves: when all is said and done, will these cuts bring us closer to a truly low-carbon economy, or will they push it further over the horizon?
Any government that wants to be remembered as the “greenest ever” must put this question at the heart of every decision, but especially over this particular decision.
I say “From the greenest government ever to the meanest government ever”.
The co-coalition has done a huge U-turn and is now doing nothing less than demoralizing – and demonizing – the solar power industry as a matter of course.
Over the weekend I was speaking with Caroline Flint, Labour’s Shadow Energy Secretary and we agreed that history will record that Labour began this growth industry and the Tories will all but kill it off in its infancy if these mindless changes to the FiT scheme are not reversed.
It gives me great pleasure to second the resolution
A lively debate followed with the motion falling to a Lib Dem amendment suggesting sending comments from the City Council to the very consultation I believe is a sham – only passed by local Tories and Lib Dems voting together and the casting vote of the Lord Mayor.
For me, the most pleasing comment came from Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, who commended Labour “Central Office” for supporting us both with all the facts and figures.
No James, that was all our own intelligent factual research! We both hae enquiring minds that we like to put to good use.