Businesses across South Essex and Mid Essex, which includes Thurrock, Southend, Basildon, Rochford, Maldon, Brentwood, Chelmsford and Castle Point, are set to benefit from the newly extended Low Carbon Business Programme TGSE. The initiative will receive a financial contribution of £3.68 million by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is now managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The aim of the programme is to continue to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to reduce their carbon footprint and therefore increase their competitiveness. A co-ordinated programme of support will be provided at an individual business level, including expert advice on ‘greening’ businesses such as how to use products and services more efficiently, identifying tailored carbon reduction solutions and providing small capital grants for investment in carbon reduction processes and equipment.

David Morrell, European director of EEDA said at inception: “All businesses are facing the same issues as we move towards a low carbon economy but, with South Essex having the highest level of carbon emissions within the East of England, companies in this region are facing significant challenges. ERDF are contributing to many projects to help small businesses and are very pleased to support the TGSE project in assisting companies in Thames Gateway to develop greener processes and products.”

Some of the key activities provided by the programme include assistance with producing environmental action plans, one to one business support, green audits for individual businesses, engagement and awareness raising events and access to support and expertise to assist businesses to access appropriate solutions.

The programme (from 2009-2014) will cost a total of £9.2 million and will focus mainly, but not exclusively, on the most polluting sectors such as ports, logistics, waste, utilities and construction.
In addition to Thurrock Council, which instigated and led the initiative, the project has been and/or will be delivered by 12 further partners including:

Essex County Council
Groundwork South Essex
Southend Borough Council
Basildon District Council
Rochford District Council
Castle Point Borough Council
Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation
Thurrock Local Enterprise Agency
National Industrial Symbiosis Programme
Brentwood Borough Council
Maldon District Council and
Chelmsford City Council

About the European Regional Development Fund

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is a seven-year investment programme part financed by the European Union. Its objective is ‘towards low carbon economic growth’ in the East of England and €110.9 million has been allocated to our region.

The fund aims to help small and medium size enterprises respond to the challenges of climate change and the huge commercial potential behind a low carbon economy.
With more funding available until 2013, the ERDF programme is set to play a big role in helping our businesses and communities seize the opportunities of a low carbon economy.
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About the East of England Development Agency

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) was the driving force behind sustainable economic regeneration in the East of England: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. EEDA’s vision was for the East of England to be an ideas driven region that is internationally competitive, harnesses the talent of all and is at the forefront of the low carbon economy. It was closed in March 2012 and its operations subsumed into the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

EEDA’s impact

An independent report from PA Consulting and SQW published on 31 March 2009 showed that EEDA has had a positive impact on the region’s economy. The report drew on evaluations of over 60 per cent of EEDA investment between 2002-07. It found that for an investment of £142 million, between £525 million and £820 million of wealth has already been created for the region. This represents a return on investment of £3.70 to £5.80 for every £1 invested – with a mid point of £4.75.

With future benefits of projects and programmes taken into account, EEDA’s contribution to the regional economy would be worth between £874 million and £1.3 billion. This would represent a return on investment of between £6.10 and £9.10 for every £1 invested – with a mid point of £7.60.