Council considers local carbon offsetting scheme

Plan to set up scheme for residents, businesses and schools to offset emissions, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Tree planting (credit Trees for Cities)
Residents could help ‘offset’ their carbon emission by planting trees (credit Trees for Cities)

Enfield Council is planning to spend up to £100,000 on drawing up proposals to help people offset their carbon emissions.

The council will work with a team of specialists to carry out a feasibility study into a carbon offsetting scheme, which will include gauging local customer demand, ahead of the development of a full business case.

Enfield’s climate action plan pledges to make the council carbon neutral by 2030 and for the whole borough to reach net zero by 2040. Carbon offsetting, which involves paying for schemes such as tree-planting projects that reduce CO2, is expected to help compensate for the emissions that cannot be eliminated by other means.

A report presented to a cabinet meeting on Wednesday revealed a project undertaken earlier this year found there was “potential to create a locally based offsetting platform for both residents and businesses”. Having already outlined plans for an offsetting programme for local businesses, the council wants to extend the programme to include residents.

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Tim Leaver, cabinet member for finance and procurement, told the meeting the council would “scope out” a carbon offsetting scheme that would be available to “businesses, schools and, more importantly, Enfield residents”.

He added: “This is about coming up with a platform for people to identify what the carbon exposure is in their actions, it is identifying projects that individuals can […] invest in, and it is a mechanism by which we manage and galvanise that to invest in Enfield.”

The report includes weighing up options for “verified” and “unverified” carbon offsetting schemes.

Cllr Leaver said unverified schemes, such as tree-planting backed by charitable donations, would “logically” reduce carbon, while verified schemes involved more measurements and monitoring. He added: “To actually do the schemes that matter and the large-scale schemes, and to widen the appeal, you do need to look at verified schemes as well.”

The plan to carry out the scoping exercise was unanimously approved by cabinet members.

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