Clegg confirms £100m for energy efficiency

12th April 2012


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A government initiative to encourage private sector investment in the green economy will begin by leveraging £100 million of funding for businesses' energy-efficiency projects, the deputy prime minister has confirmed

In a speech, Nick Clegg argued that it makes more sense now than ever for businesses to embrace sustainable practices and pledged the government’s support through the business department’s UK Green Investments (UKGI) scheme.

The UKGI has been created to support investment in green infrastructure projects, particularly offshore wind, energy from waste, recycling, the green deal and non-domestic energy efficiency.

The initiative is due to start lending money this month and investment fund managers interested in financing energy-efficiency projects across business and industry are asked to apply for funding.

Between £20-£50 million of backing is available for funds willing to invest equally in projects, such as the retrofit of buildings and industrial energy efficiency.

The support forms part of the government’s action to prevent energy-intensive sectors, including steelmaking and chemicals manufacturing, moving operations outside the UK, confirmed Clegg.

“It is in no one’s interests for these industries to pack up and go abroad… Would we rather have them here, where we can help them cut their emissions? Or in countries with lower environmental standards and ambitions?”

In his speech to industry leaders, Clegg also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to protecting the natural environment, following the publication last month of the controversial national planning policy framework and the outcome of the red tape challenge review of environment legislation.

“Is it not true that the best way to unleash growth is through a bonfire of environmental protections,” he said.

He criticised the view that “struggling businesses must be liberated from burdensome environmental regulations” and that in times of financial difficulty efforts to improve environmental impacts, both nationally and at the business level, were too expensive.

“This new wisdom, however widely held, is utterly wrong. Yes, right now climate change may be lower down some people’s thoughts. Yes, we need to be sensitive to businesses' needs. But in so many ways… for so many firms, going green has never made so much sense.”

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