Green funding for businesses – could you get a slice of the pie?

Increasing numbers of businesses are working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but nobody ever said it was easy. Achieving significant reductions usually means significant organisational change, which can draw resources away from your core business. But there are funding opportunities out there for businesses who want to take steps towards going greener. Here are a few that may be worth looking into.

Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS)

This UK government scheme helps towards the upfront costs of buying and installing electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints for businesses. (Charities and public sector organisations can also apply.) It covers up to 75% of the costs. You apply via an online form, and successful applicants get a voucher code in just five working days, which can be shared with any authorised installer.

The grant is capped at £350 per socket, with a maximum of 40 sockets per business. This means there is up to £14,000 available for any business that wants to electrify its fleet or provide EV chargepoints in its customer car park.

Energy efficiency grants and loans for business premises

We wish we could direct you to one simple UK-wide grant scheme to help businesses with their energy efficiency, but the reality is more fragmented.

In Scotland, SMEs can apply for an interest-free, unsecured loan from the Scottish Government for between £1,000 and £100,000. You also get a free independent assessment to help you plan your energy efficiency scheme and apply for the loan.

In England, the help available varies depending on where you are. Low Carbon Workspaces offers grants in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes. These grants of up to £5,000 per business are for SMEs to make changes to their buildings that will result in a measurable carbon saving.

In the west of England, you may be able to apply for one of the West of England Green Business Grants. These are also for SMEs to make improvements to the energy efficiency of their buildings. There is a total pot of £1.7m, of which about £200,000 has been spent so far.

Greater Manchester has an energy efficiency grant scheme offering between £1,000 and £12,500, to help SMEs with up to 50% of the costs of their energy efficiency improvements.

For other parts of England, contact your Local Growth Hub to ask which schemes are available in your area.

Clean Air Zone adaptation funding

Several UK cities are planning to introduce Clean Air Zones, and this may mean funding to help businesses adapt. For example, Birmingham’s Heavy Duty Vehicle Fund is a £10.05 million pot to help SMEs with the costs of buying or leasing compliant vehicles (up to £15,000 per vehicle), retrofitting their existing vehicles (also up to £15,000 per vehicle) and even ending leases early (up to £15,000 total). It is funded by DEFRA and administered by Birmingham City Council.

Bath is offering small businesses and sole traders up to 35% of the costs of upgrading to a cleaner vehicle. This is capped at £4,500 for cars and vans, £20,000 for HGVs and £35,000 for buses and coaches.

Other cities likely to implement Clean Air Zones in the near future include Bristol and Greater Manchester. Taking advantage of any available funding to upgrade fleets will have twofold financial benefits for your business: you save on the costs of upgrading and you will avoid pollution charges in future.

The funding landscape for green initiatives changes frequently, and we can definitely expect more change after May’s crop of elections. In the meantime, if you’d like advice on cost-effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint, get in touch for advice.