A PROJECT spearheaded by Warrington Borough Council as part of its green energy strategy has been backed by more than 500 investors.

The council was seeking – and has now succeeded – in raising £1 million to deliver a new solar farm in Cirencester to meet the aims of its climate emergency declaration and help Warrington to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The council’s first ever community municipal investment (CMI) attracted 523 investors from across the UK, with an average investment of almost £2,000 each.

It was developed by ethical investment platform Abundance to offer an ‘accessible, low-risk way’ for people to back councils in the UK leading the fight against climate change.

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 green energy strategy.

These include reducing fuel poverty and energy self-sufficiency, helping save taxpayers’ money and supporting the council with delivering front-line services.

The council says it is leading other local authorities in taking climate action and aims to become the UK’s first carbon neutral town, with a net zero target of 2030. It has already reduced its carbon footprint by 50 per cent since 2009.

Warrington Guardian:

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said: “I am absolutely delighted that our first ever community municipal investment has been such a success, generating a huge amount of interest and attracting hundreds of investors from Warrington and across the country.

“Reaching our £1 million investment target is a fantastic achievement, particularly in such challenging times.

“It shows that tackling the climate emergency is something that people really care about.

“It is so important that the public is engaged in our carbon neutral ambitions, and this project is an important part of that work. Its success bodes really well for our green future.”

Bruce Davis, co-founder and managing director of Abundance, added: “Warrington was particularly hard hit by Covid-19 during this investment offer, so the success of its green bond is a testament to the town’s green vision which has inspired investors across the UK.

“This is clear proof that ordinary people want the recovery from the pandemic to be led by the green economy, and they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is."

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The success of Warrington’s CMI follows hard on the heels of West Berkshire District Council, which also raised £1 million through the UK’s first ever CMI which closed last month.

Abundance has a number of other CMIs from other local authorities in the pipeline expected to launch in 2021.