More than £1million is available to businesses across the Marches to improve energy efficiency and drive down carbon emissions thanks to the extension of a hugely successful funding programme.

The Marches Energy Grant, in affiliation with the pilot Business Energy Advice Service, has reopened for applications to give more businesses the chance to access free advice, and funding for eligible projects.

Nearly £340,000 has already been awarded to businesses to help reduce their energy bills whilst also cutting emissions under the scheme which is funded through the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, via Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Councils.

The funding is open to SMEs in the region, as well as community buildings, and offers a free energy efficiency review and grants of up to £20,000 towards more energy efficient equipment.

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Thirty companies and community groups across the region have already been awarded grants to help fund projects worth £1.3million leading to projected carbon savings of 276 tonnes. A further 100 businesses and community groups have also been assisted with support and advice.

Rachel Laver, Marches LEP chief executive, said the programme had been extended to help meet the huge demand.

“We’ve been thrilled with the response to the scheme which is already delivering fantastic results in terms of reducing operating costs and delivering on our environmental responsibilities.

“We’re now looking for new applications so that this great work can continue. Businesses from a wide range of sectors in the Marches can apply, subject to eligibility criteria.

“Experts will carry out an energy audit at your company and then give you a report about how you cut your usage to drive down costs and emissions. Grants will be available for eligible projects to meet 40 per cent of the cost of implementing the recommendations.”

The grants could help fund a range of energy and carbon-saving projects, including the installation of solar panels, electric heating upgrades, LED lighting and air filtration and dust extraction systems. One business has already been able to buy an electric forklift truck through the scheme.

Rachel added: “The Marches Energy Grant is a real win-win and shows the LEP delivering on its promise to take decisive, positive action to support our business community and drive down carbon emissions.”

The Marches Energy Grant programme is administered for the LEP and the Marches councils by Worcestershire County Council.

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