Growing the Low Carbon Economy

Across the South East

LoCASE Given Green Light for Grants for Green Vehicles

 

In an exciting development for SMEs in the Kent, Essex and East Sussex regions, the Low Carbon Across the South East programme can now assist with ERDF grant funding of up to £10,000 towards a variety of electric and hybrid vehicles which businesses may be looking to invest in.

As announced at the recent Innovations in Low Emissions Showcase at Wat Tyler Country Park near Basildon, this is set to complete the suite of financial assistance the programme can offer SMEs as they seek to improve their economic and environmental performance. Dozens of firms have already benefitted for funding towards IT projects which significantly improve their remote working capabilities, whilst several have also received support towards the purchase of retrofit Hydrogen On Demand fuel cells to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency on their fleet. There’s also support for route planning software, engine remapping, trailer adaptation and other means of improving fuel economy and thus reducing harmful pollutants.

The parameters and criteria put in place broadly align with the Government Plug-In grant for the range of ‘green’ vehicles and is set to offer a further incentive to move away from traditional diesel vehicles to cleaner and less-polluting models. The time is right to challenge the way in which we conduct our business; if we can’t adapt or reduce the trips we must make then reducing the impacts related to our travel is key. Reduced tax liabilities (road tax and capital allowances) as well as congestion charge and fuel spend can often tip the balance when weighing up options. It certainly did with Robin from Winterdale Cheese (pictured) who was something of an early adopter in business circles.

This revised approach provides a tangible opportunity to further promote best practice in transport-related emissions and the wider health and wellbeing agenda. There are clear links between levels of pollutants related to road traffic and detriment to human health.

These chiefly include nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from traffic exhaust and non-exhaust sources, such as brakes or tyre wear, as well as larger particulate matter (PM10). Intervention is needed whenever possible to realise air quality improvements at a national, regional and local level and LoCASE will look to act as something of a catalyst to increase the uptake and infrastructure for the commercial sector until Spring 2019 when the programme is set to report.

“As we pass the 500 grants awarded stage, it is an ideal time to not only reflect on the range of the projects we’ve worked with businesses on, but also to look ahead to how else we can use the remaining £2.8 million to make a real and lasting difference to the way in which our firms work and the technology they use to do it. Being able to help further with the adoption of low emission technology makes what we’re doing even more relevant to our local economy and air quality issues which continue to be a cause for concern in some areas. Whatever the nature of your business and plans for 2018 I’d be astonished if we can’t help you or any of your business contacts with grant funding and support. This could be as a supplier, a grant recipient or both…get in touch, we want to help where we can!”

Rob Robinson, LoCASE Project Manager, Kent County Council

We have produced an FAQ to address a number of anticipated questions about funding vehicles.