The funding is to help them save money by becoming more energy efficient.
As well as improving resource efficiency for around 200 rural businesses, could the project aims to encourage and support the growth of locally based companies to review and 'green' their supply chains securing a stronger local economy. The project includes energy audits to identify where savings and efficiencies can be achieved, the development of green procurement strategies so that companies buy environmentally friendly services and products, as well as grants to help companies make the necessary changes.
The partnership behind this bold green project has secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund (Competitiveness Programme), the project requested in the region of £330,000 towards a total project cost of £854,000.
"The East Coast Carbon Efficiency (ECCE) project
represents a joined-up approach for rural businesses, showing not just how they can save energy, resources and money but also opportunities to receive grants to carry out any necessary works to implement those savings," said Cllr Geoff Holdcroft, Suffolk Coastal's Cabinet Member for Leisure and Economic Development.
"This project is aimed at creating more energy and resource efficient businesses in the rural coastal areas of Suffolk, which because of their isolation have specific and more profound needs than those in urban areas and often don't have the opportunity to access such support," added Cllr Holdcroft.
"Our actions will help businesses improve their profitability and competitiveness while of course playing an important part in reducing carbon emissions and so helping our environment. Environmental business advisors from Groundwork East of England will carry out comprehensive energy and resource use assessments and calculate the carbon footprint of each business, with an action plan to achieve savings," said Cllr Bruce Provan, Waveney's Cabinet Member for Leisure, Tourism and Economic Development.
Organisations will also be encouraged to implement a green procurement policy and advisors will provide them with a guide to implementing green purchasing into their workplace, along with assessments under the innovative Suffolk Carbon Charter accreditation which recognises carbon reduction measures in Suffolk 's SMEs.
George Kieffer, Deputy Chair of the Local Management Committee of the ERDF programme in the East of England said: "I am very pleased that the European Regional Development Fund is supporting this package of support for small businesses across the rural areas of Waveney district and the entire Suffolk Coastal district. The European Regional Development Fund programme in the East of England has a specific focus on low carbon economic growth and so I am particularly impressed that two hundred businesses will benefit from energy and green procurement reports and in addition, grants will be offered to these businesses to invest in resource efficiency measures and green procurement activities."
The partners behind the ECCE project are Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils, Groundwork East of England, the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership, the Greenest County Delivery Partnership, the New Anglia LEP, and Suffolk County Council. Groundwork East of England has been delivering environmental support services for businesses in Suffolk since 2008.
Operations Manager, Anna Martin, said that, "We are thrilled to be able to announce the support now available to SMEs in the East Coast of Suffolk through this project. ECCE will enable rural businesses to access expert advice, finance and recognition to strengthen their operations. We would encourage any business interested in finding out how ECCE can benefit them to get in touch with us to talk through the support on offer."
Within the Suffolk Coastal District, ECCE will be run alongside the Low Carbon Coastal Market Towns project. This is a co-ordinated project bringing several different agencies together to provide added value and has a total value in excess of £200,000.
The Low Carbon Coastal Market Towns project will develop low-carbon settlements and locality -based economic growth. This will include delivering services to support businesses to help them to start up, to develop, to lower their carbon output and to be sustainable within their localities.
Small or medium sized enterprises interested in taking part in the project should contact Peter Eyles, Project Coordinator on 01502 523394 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
with their contact details. For further information visit: www.waveney.gov.uk/ecce