Unitary authority Durham County Council is the latest to announce it is proposing establishing a carbon offset fund. Carbon offset funds would receive contributions from developers unable to meet carbon obligations on site, and these pooled contributions could then be used to invest in low carbon projects elsewhere. Given the Government's objectives of promoting economic growth (with a minimum of regulation), and of cutting carbon emissions, these funds appear to tick a number of boxes. However, one difficulty is the mechanism used to capture the payments in the first place. Although CIL may be used, it would be difficult to distinguish between differing carbon impacts of developments so that CIL may be seen as unfair. Section 106 seems to be the preferred route but of course it has a limited shelf life given the CIL Regulations. The problem here is the "tying" of the obligation to the grant of planning permission - far better to be creative with the use of Grampian planning conditions which might allow for "postponement" of any 106 until the approval of a future scheme eg, brought forward with reserved matters (see also our blog 2 March 2011 on the Crawley decision).