Lancaster City Council invest in electric vehicles

March 02, 2020

Responding to the climate emergency and building community wealth were at the heart of Lancaster City Council’s budget for 2020/21.

On Wednesday (February 26) city councillors agreed proposals which focus on meeting the council’s aims of becoming a net zero emitter of carbon by 2030.

Initial plans to fulfil this include the purchase of two new electric bin lorries and replacement of 21 other vehicles with electric alternatives, which help to reduce CO2 emissions and contribute to an increase in air quality.

Another climate change measure included in the budget is the development of a six-acre solar farm to provide electricity for Salt Ayre Leisure Centre. The solar farm would see an annual CO2 reduction of 260 tonnes (over 8% of the council’s direct emissions) and electricity bills lowered by around £123,000 a year.

Regeneration proposals to receive a boost include the Canal Quarter, Bailrigg Garden Village and Heysham Gateway, with money set aside to further develop proposals for these sites.

Developing a bid from the Future High Streets Fund for Morecambe is also included. If successful, this would see up to £25million in Government grants coming to the town as part of wider plans to develop the economy.

Councillor Anne Whitehead, cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “This year’s budget sets out concrete plans for tackling the climate emergency and preparing us for a zero carbon future, while also developing proposals that will help to support the local economy.

“The Lancaster district has huge potential and ambitious plans. These include the Eden Project, supporting Morecambe Town Centre through the Future High Streets Fund, Bailrigg Garden Village, the proposed Heritage Action Zone in Lancaster and the Canal Quarter. All of these need investment if they are to be realised.

“With that in mind a modest increase in Council Tax is necessary to maintain service levels, and ensure that we continue to invest in the future of our wonderful district. I’m proud that we have not had to resort to making the major reductions to services that so many other councils have had to do, while also freezing car parking and green waste collection charges.”

To support the ambitious proposals, the portion of Council Tax collected by Lancaster City Council is set to increase by an average of £5 a year, or 10p a week, for those in a Band D property.

As 80% of the district's homes are in the lowest bands (A to C), the actual increase will be even lower than £5 for the majority of households.

While as the billing authority Lancaster City Council collects Council Tax, it only receives around 12% of the total bill to spend on its services.

Excluding parishes, of the remaining bill, the majority goes to Lancashire County Council (73%), with precepts from Lancashire Police Authority (11%) and Lancashire Combined Fire Authority (4%) making up the rest.

Lancashire County Council has increased its rate of council tax by 3.99%, Lancashire Fire Authority 1.99% and Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner by 4.96%