Council pours in extra £1m to climate agenda

North Kesteven District Council is recommending a 2.84 per cent increase to its share of the Council Tax for the coming year, with a view to investing a further £1 million in its climate action agenda.

The authority’s executive board says it wants to progress its goal to become a carbon-net-zero council by 2030 and promote a parallel ambition for the district as a whole.

Coupled with the allocation of £1m in measures to build up reserves and resilience for post-covid recovery and £1m for investment in leisure assets, visitor venues and broader economic activity, this additional £3m is hailed as a clear commitment in moving forward NKDC’s ambitions.

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The proposals from the executive board will go to full council on March 3, along with other recommendations to progress the council’s revised strategic plan for the period to 2025, the NK Plan, and its finance strategy.

North Kesteven District Council's offices in Sleaford.

The tax increase equates to £4.95, taking the figure to £179.95 for a full year at Band D, making up around nine per cent of the total bill which also includes police, county and parish council shares.

The district council explains that by making small annual increases it is trying to striking the right balance.

Council leader Coun Richard Wright said it is through careful and cautious financial management that the council is able to bring forward this unexpected additional sum for green investment, some of which had been put aside in anticipation of a change in the way councils are financed, avoiding any sudden shortfalls and service cuts.

“Being of course very mindful of the increased costs of living and the importance of maintaining free and low-cost access to excellent services, such as our leisure and arts provision, countryside walks, support for those in financial hardship and various public protection and wellbeing measures, we are again proposing only a moderate increase in the level of our council tax charge. For three-quarters of households living in Band A to C homes, this will be a rise of between £3.30 and £4.40 over the year, to between £120 and £160 for everything the district council contributes to theirs and their communities’ lives.

“Equally, we feel it is important to lead in those areas where we can effect positive change, such as in progressing climate action and inspiring active lifestyles.

“By bringing forward this additional £3m, we will be better placed to invest in improving the environment, facilitate more cycling and active travel and promote opportunities for decarbonisation; to build the resilience of services impacted by covid such as leisure provision and promote post-pandemic recovery; and continue investing in leisure and cultural assets like Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum, attracting visitors to the area and boosting economic activity.

“In these and many other ways we are extending and accelerating our aims and ambitions in support of our vision for ‘A District of Flourishing Communities’, giving more momentum to our carbon ne-zero aspiration and connecting climate action into everything we do,” said Coun Wright.

Some final rates have still to be agreed and precise rates may vary depending on which parish but an average band D property bill is predicted to rise by £87 to £1,985.88, an increase of 4.58 per cent on the total bill.

That includes an increase of £9.99 for the police (3.74percent), and a five per cent increase for the county council.