Firms urged to take advantage of interest-free green loans

Interest-free loans worth £100 million over two years are being offered to businesses looking to invest in new, energy-efficient equipment and machinery.

The loans are administered by the Carbon Trust, and the amount of money available has been boosted significantly by announcements in the Budget.

In 2008, the Trust lent some £23 million to firms that wanted to cut their energy costs through more efficient heating and lighting systems and greener machinery.

To encourage more firms to make use of the loans scheme, the Trust said that it has simplified the application process, with average approval times coming down from a month to 10 days.

The scheme is limited to SMEs in England wanting to borrow between £5,000 and £200,000, although larger firms can apply in Scotland.

The Trust said that the loans could help businesses save more than £20 million a year in energy bills and reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 140,000 tonnes.

Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust, said: “The additional funding for the Carbon Trust loans scheme means many more companies can take advantage of reducing costs by up to 20 per cent, whilst also helping to reduce carbon emissions.

“We urge UK businesses to prioritise action on carbon reduction and to contact the Carbon Trust to find out more about the free loans and other support available to help.”

Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, added: “This real help, delivered by the Carbon Trust in England, means that businesses in every corner of Britain can now improve their energy efficiency and make real savings on their energy bills at a time when every penny counts.”

The Carbon Trust website can be found at http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/default.ct