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Government offers £10m of interest-free energy loans

01 July, 2002

Government offers £10m of interest-free energy loans

The UK Government is offering small- and medium-sized engineering companies interest-free loans of up to £50,000, repayable over four years, to help them become more energy-efficient. The £10m scheme is part of larger initiative, called Action Energy, designed to help engineering businesses to cut their energy costs by providing them with free advice and assistance.

Action Energy will be run by the Carbon Trust, the body that the Government set up last year with the aim of providing UK businesses and industry with advice on cutting carbon emissions. As part of the new programme, the Trust is taking over responsibility for managing, promoting and monitoring the Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) scheme which allows companies to write off the cost of investing in energy-efficient equipment, including high-efficiency motors and variable speed drives.

Although small businesses are responsible for a significant amounts of carbon emissions, they find it hard to save energy, says Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (shown above with Action Energy director, Garry Felgate)..

"A key barrier is that they may not have easy access to the capital they need to make the necessary investment," Beckett explains. The Energy Loans programme "addresses this head-on by offering up-front, interest-free loans for practical and realistic energy efficiency measures, recycling the Climate Change Levy straight back to small levy-payers to help them save both energy and money".

The Energy Loans are available to smaller companies in England and Wales. The initiative builds on similar schemes already operating in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Action Energy succeeds the previous Energy Efficiency Best Practice programme which, the Government says, has generated energy savings worth around £800m a year since it was inaugurated in 1989. The new scheme will include a free helpline offering expert advice (0800 58 57 94), free energy surveys, publications and a Web site at www.actionergy.org.uk




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