A SCHEME set up to help businesses reduce their carbon emissions has supported over 200 firms in Leicester and Leicestershire with funding totalling more than £1.1million.
The Green BELLE project has provided grants of up to £10,000 as match-funding to 205 local small and medium-sized companies to help cover the costs of low carbon, energy-efficient improvements to their premises.
The scheme, which was part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is now closed.
Over its six years, the project has supported the installation of measures worth almost £3million, backed by private investment of around £1.8million. This has helped achieve carbon savings of around 1,500tCO2e – equivalent to the total carbon footprint of around 450 typical homes.
The types of measures supported include solar photovoltaic panels, low-energy LED lighting, insultation, double glazing and energy efficient heating.
As well as cutting their carbon emissions, businesses have benefitted from lower energy bills, with support from Green BELLE helping to achieve a total estimated reduction in operating costs of almost £700,000 across the project. About 100 new jobs have also been created at businesses that have taken part in the project.
The sorts of sectors supported by the Green BELLE scheme include arts and entertainment, education, food, construction and retail, with manufacturing accounting for almost 40 per cent of the grants awarded.
Deputy city mayor for climate, economy and culture Cllr Adam Clarke said: “The Green BELLE scheme has given local small and medium-sized businesses the support they need to become more energy-efficient, cut their carbon footprint and benefit from lower running costs.
“We have ambitious plans to help make Leicester a net zero and climate ready city. The Green BELLE scheme has demonstrated that with the right support we can welcome all kinds of local firms on board and show them that becoming more energy efficient is good for business and for the city. The feedback we have received from businesses taking part has been very encouraging.
“But we know there is still more that needs to be done. It is important that local businesses continue to be offered support to invest in low carbon, energy efficient improvements and that will require significant and ongoing support from the Government.”
Cllr Blake Pain, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for the environment and the green agenda, said: “The Green BELLE scheme has been a shining example of the work that is being done across the city and county to achieve net zero and has provided real support to businesses to help them come with us on that journey by reducing their carbon footprint and becoming more energy efficient.
“We need a team effort to reach that net zero target, and this scheme has demonstrated it is possible for businesses of all sizes to play their part.”
Green BELLE stands for Green Business Energy in Leicester and Leicestershire. The project was run by Leicester City Council with support from Leicestershire County Council.
Leicester City Council is now consulting on a new draft Climate Emergency Action plan that sets out a series of proposals for how the city can further reduce carbon emissions and adapt to a changing climate over the next five years.
People can have their say on the council’s proposals, including what would make it easier for them to do their bit as part of city-wide efforts, by completing an online survey at www.leicester.gov.uk/consultations
The closing date for comments is Sunday 10 December.