Small and medium-sized County Durham businesses are to receive a £160,000 boost to help them cut carbon emissions.

As well as being good for the environment, this investment should help the SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) save cash.

The money has become available thanks to Durham County Council being accepted into a European-Union-funded project which helps SMEs change their approach to using energy.

The project – named SME Power and run by Interreg Europe – has granted the council £160,000 from a total funding pot of £1.5 million. The money will support projects running from now until July 2022.

Environmental experts from across Europe will be working with the participating SMEs, helping the businesses by carrying out energy audits, monitoring their energy use and advising them on developing more energy-efficient products.

Guidance will also be given on refurbishing buildings and making processes more innovative.

Coordinated by the Resources Recovery Regional Agency of Tuscany, SME Power has partners and advisors from Ireland, Germany, Slovenia, Spain and Finland, as well as the UK.

Durham County Council was accepted into the scheme because of the achievements of its Business Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP), which has helped 200 local firms improve their energy efficiency and reduce their energy bills.

The council hopes that more funding can be accessed so it can run a BEEP2 initiative and go on to assist more companies.

The council’s climate champion, Cllr John Clare, said, “In February, we declared a climate emergency and set ourselves a target to be carbon neutral by 2050. This funding will help us to meet that target and we are delighted to be a part of this project.”

“It can be difficult for SMEs to know how to reduce their carbon emissions. This project encourages businesses and energy experts to work together to explore methods that will not only benefit our planet but increase profits by reducing production and running costs.”

For more information about BEEP and how this scheme could help your business, please visit http://www.durham.gov.uk/beep.

To learn more about Interreg Europe, please go to https://www.interregeurope.eu/.

(This article’s featured image shows, from left, Durham County Council officers Nadia Wetherell, Stephen Beresford, Helen Grayshan, Maggie Bosanquet, Dorothy Gibson and Ros Farrow, who helped secure the funding.)





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