Growing the Low Carbon Economy
Across the South East
LoCASE Gets Second Extension
Following the continued success of LoCASE delivery across the South East LEP area, MHCLG this week gave the Whitehall rubber stamp to a second extension until the end of September 2020. This follows the initial extension to April which took the number of SMEs assisted with grant funding past the 1,000 mark (1,006 firms to be exact!) to the tune of over £6.5M. Given the backdrop and current crisis we’re all facing, this short extension was granted instead of a much more substantial follow on programme now planned for October this year.
So what does this mean to businesses in the region? Well, we’re able now to put 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 software and hardware to enable remote access and home-working capabilities. We’ve already accounted for over 6,500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent savings and some significant air quality impacts of taking dozens of old diesels off the road and we’ll continue to help out where we can with business and resource efficiencies. One of the key differences now is that though we can help firms we may have helped previously with follow on projects to get even more sustainable, we’ve only got a very limited budget for helping with ‘capital projects’.
Where ‘LoCASE 2’ will look to once more be able to support more comprehensively the transition of firms to ULEV vehicles and other larger value plant/machinery, this 5 month window will 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.
We’ll also continue to work even more closely with the region’s Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services (LECGS) sector. The 404 SMEs supported with £3.25M 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 80 new products and services and helped create just over of 350 regional jobs (and helped 60 new firms) in what is an exciting and growing sector. Please spread the word that we’re not just about getting new lights and heating!
We’re looking at a new way of delivering our STEM scheme in response to business need by webinar and online content to supplement our EMS workshops. 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 circular economy projects coming online to help reduce your waste and turn it into new products, support to enter the offshore wind supply chain, a ‘try before you buy’ electric van scheme AND some business resilience toolkits to support your ongoing planning.