Warrington launches UK’s second-ever local government green bond

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Warrington's Community Municipal Investment (CMI) will help fund a multi-million pound solar and battery storage project near Cirencester.

Warrington has launched the UK’s second local government green bond as part of its plans to become Britain’s first carbon-neutral town.

Warrington Borough Council is raising £1m through a Community Municipal Investment (CMI), in partnership with Abundance Investment, to help its efforts to reach their net zero by 2030.

Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, commented on the venture: “This is a really exciting project, which forms part of our ongoing programme to mitigate climate change and carbon emissions, protect council services, create employment opportunities and reduce fuel poverty.

“Warrington’s CMI gives people a fantastic opportunity to make a positive contribution toward a carbon neutral future while providing them with a financial return and deeper engagement with one of Britain’s most environmentally-focused local governments.”

Warrington has already reduced its carbon footprint by 50% since 2009, and this investment forms part of the next phase of its Climate Change strategy which was launched back in 2007.

The CMI will help fund a multi-million pound solar and battery storage project near Cirencester.

The electricity and revenues generated by the solar panels will be used to accelerate other green projects on behalf of Warrington’s community as part of its recent Green Energy Strategy.

The Warrington CMI will pay investors 1.2% per year in half yearly payments over its five-year term, although holdings can be sold on to others at any time free of charge via the Abundance Marketplace, with a minimum investment of £5.

Warrington’s Green Energy Strategy, published last year, sets out the specific aims of the projects the Warrington CMI will help fund, from reducing fuel poverty to energy self-sufficiency.

West Berkshire was the first local authority in the UK to partake in a CMI last month, with the scheme now more than 50% subscribed by over 400 investors.

According to Abundance, a third CMI, from Leeds City Council, is also in the pipeline.

Abundance Investment Joint Managing Director, Bruce Davis, commented: “Following on from the success of the West Berkshire CMI, Warrington’s green bond is a perfect example of how enlightened councils up and down the UK can supercharge their efforts to tackle climate change by working in partnership with the public, whether in the local area or further afield.

“Local government green bonds are a practical and already popular way for people to be part of building back greener.”

CMIs are the product of four years of research and development by Abundance Investment in partnership with the University of Leeds, funded in part by the UK government and the EU.

They are a new source of financing for local authorities in the UK, which allow local citizens to invest directly in their council and get a ‘competitive low-risk, long-term return, while helping to finance the green infrastructure investment the UK needs to ‘build back greener’ post COVID-19.’

A recent report from Abundance, funded by the Place-based Climate Action Network, showed that 73% of UK savers and investors would consider investing in a CMI.

Abundance’s analysis also shows that CMIs could have a potential impact of as much as £3 billion if taken up by all 343 local authorities in England, matching the Chancellor’s recently announced green stimulus package of £3 billion.

This represents just a small fraction of the £157 billion UK citizens currently lend to the UK government via National Savings and Investments.

Find out more about the Warrington CMI and download an offer document here