Use ‘Big Society’ ideas for localising carbon cutting

Carbon cutting initiatives should have been refocused on local areas instead of just being scrapped later this month (March), according to one Carbon Trust consultant.

Lincolnshire-based Barrie Davis is one of around 300 accredited consultants who will lose the vast majority of their funding next month as a direct result of a 40% cut in Carbon Trust funding.

The trust said earlier this month – I’ll put a link to another story in here – it was going to make savings following the Government’s decision to slash its funding.

But the way the axe has fallen means it’s the English small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and public sector organisations who will lose the funding.

Those in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland will continue, which is a source of much frustration to Mr Davies.

Environmental professionals, such as Mr Davies who has worked for the trust for a decade, speak to businesses and then submit reports identifying energy efficiency projects to the trust.

Their recommendations are then peer -reviewed, once reviewed the trust can provide further technical assistance and, if eligible, interest free loans, to help implement the ideas, until the scheme was shelved last month.

Mr Davies said: “You hear all about how doctors are going to take over their local NHS, so why not get government accredited consultants to work with businesses in their area?

“It took about ten years for the government to establish the present system and pool of accredited consultants and generally we are well respected by public and private sector throughout the UK.

“I believe the Carbon Trust, and particularly the service from its independent consultant, is extremely good value for money.

“Consultants are paid only for the work, are not paid a retainer, in fact have to pay the Carbon Trust to become accredited.

“After many years of government developing the service all this will now be thrown away.”

Mr Davies, a former RAF engineer who also worked for 25 years in the oil and gas industry, added: “It’s such a waste.

“The average Consultant probably receives no more than £25,000 per year in assignment so we are talking about £7.5m of the total budget.

“At this moment I’m busy trying to finish the remaining Carbon Trust surveys I have been assigned before the cut-off date of mid-March.”

“The consultants are mainly dealing with SMEs with an energy spend of less than £500,000 and these companies desperately need the advice.

“We’re cutting off support just at the time when many organisations, both public and private, are reducing spend on environmental initiatives and need our advice the most.”

The trust said in a statement: “At present we are actively pursuing significant partnership opportunities to rapidly scale up and expand our work both in the UK and overseas.

“We will be making a number of announcements on these exciting developments in the weeks ahead.”

Luke Walsh

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