Growing the Low Carbon Economy
Across the South East
LoCASE Can Continue to 2023!
Following the continued success of LoCASE delivery across the South East LEP area, MHCLG has given the Whitehall rubber stamp to a follow-on programme until the Spring of 2023. The first phase took the number of SMEs offered grant funding to 1,248 to the tune of over £8.4M and overall businesses supported to 1,278. Given this backdrop and current COVID crisis and fallout we are all still facing, the two short stopgap extensions have paved the way for a much more substantial offering of support. Yes, this is even though we ‘left’ the EU at the end of 2020.
So what does this mean to businesses in the region? Well, we’re able now to put up to £10K of grant funding towards the same sorts of projects as before but with a slight tweak. So yes, this can include anything from simple retrofit LED projects to renewable energy installations but also less obvious projects like software and hardware to enable remote access and home-working capabilities for staff.
We’ve already accounted for over 8,200 tonnes per year of CO2 equivalent savings, creating some significant air quality impacts by taking dozens of old diesels off the road and we’ll continue to help where we can with business and resource efficiency interventions. We do have a budget for helping with ‘capital projects’ such as machinery that runs cleaner, more efficiently or can help with waste management issues (improving resource efficiency) but ULEV fleet cannot currently be supported given the continued existence of the OLEV Plug In Vehicle Grant. That said, Kent REVS is available for those who drive on Kent and Medway roads and would be interested in trialling an electric van for up to 2 months for their fleet.
We will look to once more be able to support more comprehensively the transition of firms to a low carbon economy but also seek to support firms who are looking at implementing many of the smaller, more immediate adjustments which may help them get back off the ground from dormancy/disruption. It will also seek to help implement the sorts of measures that are needed longer term to enable our SMEs to run a smoother functioning ‘modern’ business or innovate to find new markets with circular and/or sustainable business cases.
We’ll continue to work even more closely with the region’s Low Carbon, Renewable Energy Economy (LCREE) and related sectors. The 518 SMEs supported with £4.4M to date has helped them establish, expand or enhance their operations and activities. Again, we’re seeking to supplement extra R&D support, consultancy or marketing activity, smaller plant/machinery purchases and generally assist our ‘green businesses’ wherever we can. We’ve already helped part fund development and marketing of 87 new products and services and helped create over of 350 regional jobs (and helped 87 new firms) in what is an exciting and growing sector. There is additional support for our LCREE and clean growth sector via Clean Growth South East a Sector Support Fund initiative being coordinated by KCC so we really do want to identify, work with and develop all those firms who are looking to promote positive change in the South East region. If that’s you or anyone in your network then pass this message on!
We’re looking to implement a new way of delivering our STEM scheme in response to business need by webinar and online content to supplement our EMS workshops alongside other streamlining of our process through digital signatures and remote business support sessions. We continue to partner with The University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform as a valuable link between higher education research expertise and our SME community, there’s plenty of opportunities to work together at all stages of your innovation journey so get in touch.
Please do speak to your LoCASE contacts within your region as there are also several other schemes which will link in to dovetail support with ours. For example, Low Carbon Kent has two exciting circular economy projects to help reduce your waste and turn it into new products, support to enter the offshore wind supply chain, this ‘try before you buy’ electric van scheme AND some business resilience toolkits to support your ongoing planning. Please spread the word that we’re not just about getting new lights and heating! Welcome back!