The Carbon Trust has had its funding cut by 40 per cent, causing the cancellation of grants to a number of major projects and dozens of redundancies. The trust, which provides funding and free advice to the public in order to help them reduce their energy spend, expects to make around a third of its 300 staff redundant and is now actively seeking private investors to fill the funding gap.
In a statement on its website, the Trust expects to receive approximately £50 million in government funding for 2011/12 – a reduction of £33 million from the previous year.
When our current leaders set out their manifesto, they pledged to be the “greenest government ever” yet they are denying many organisations the funding essential to making a commitment to achieving necessary CO2 and energy reductions. We all understand that the government needs to make cuts and it was always clear that a number of quangos set up by New Labour would fall victim to the cull. However, it is impossible to deny the success the Carbon Trust has achieved in helping the UK take strides to meeting emission targets.
By getting industry to think about its environmental impact, the Trust has also increased UK competitiveness through reduced energy spend, as a consequence, organisations are able to make themselves more competitive whilst safeguarding employee positions.
Our government says we are about to see the inception of the new Green Investment bank, however the details of this are still being finalised, the government has already made it clear that funding for this will be limited and the bank will not be operational until at least September 2012. What about this year and the first seven months of 2012? Many organisations are already struggling with rising costs and with a faltering economy, may struggle to find funding until an underfunded Green Investment bank comes to fruition.
More needs to be done to help organisations take the steps to reduce their CO2 and energy use otherwise the UK will struggle to meet its emissions reduction targets in 2020 and 2050. Lets hope the private sector steps in and provides the Carbon Trust with the funding it needs because CO2 reduction and energy sustainability are key to the future success of UK PLC.