West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin has introduced new support measures today to assist businesses grappling with the challenges posed by inflation and the climate crisis.

The Mayor’s Business Sustainability Support aims to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to reduce their energy consumption and counter the impacts of climate change.

In collaboration with interested businesses, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority will develop and implement tailored sustainability plans, with the objective of cutting energy costs and enhancing resilience against escalating temperatures, supply chain disruptions, and flooding.

Upon conducting a complimentary evaluation of a company’s environmental impact, these customised plans will propose workplace modifications, including energy-efficient lighting, waste reduction measures, and equipment that harnesses affordable, clean, and renewable energy sources, such as solar panels.

Furthermore, guidance will be provided on executing the plans, securing public and private investments, and implementing sustainable changes that ensure long-term savings on annual energy bills.

Mayor Tracy Brabin remarked that the new support initiative will be a transformative development in the region’s endeavour to establish a more resilient, Net Zero carbon economy by 2038. This £10 million fund follows the recent launch of the West Yorkshire Plan, which commits to building a greener and more prosperous West Yorkshire that benefits all its residents.

Speaking about the scheme, Mayor Tracy Brabin said, “Amid the persisting cost of living and energy crisis, it is imperative that we intensify our support for the hardest-hit businesses, helping them manage costs, safeguard jobs, and stay afloat during these challenging times.”

She added, “This new £10 million scheme will aid us in achieving a greener West Yorkshire by reducing the carbon footprint of our SMEs while safeguarding them against the detrimental effects of climate change.”

“As we transition towards a net-zero carbon economy by 2038, we are committed to ensuring that no business is left behind. We strive to implement positive, environmentally friendly changes that benefit all communities across the region.”

The initiative will build upon the previous sustainability support offered through the Mayor’s Resource Efficient Business program, which assisted 360 businesses in West Yorkshire in saving an average of £11,500 annually on their energy bills.

Last year, Lowe Engineering Limited, a power plant equipment supplier based in Leeds, received a £5,000 grant from the Mayor. The funding was utilised to install modern LED lighting in the company’s warehouse and offices, resulting in potential annual savings of up to £2,000.

Graeme Walker, Operations Director at Lowe Engineering Limited, shared his experience, stating, “Upgrading the lighting throughout our premises had been on our to-do list for some time. However, due to the high initial costs and slow cost-saving recovery, it was always relegated to the back burner when it came to building repairs and improvements.”

Walker continued, “Nevertheless, with the rise in energy prices and the support provided by the Mayor, we were encouraged to install LED lighting throughout the building. We were able to recoup 50% of the expenses within a short period of time.”

He concluded, “It is safe to say that without this scheme in place, this improvement would still be pending on our to-do list.”