Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme Announced*

*But hurry, applications close January 10, 2021

(England Only)

Last month, the government introduced a new £1 billion grant funding scheme to encourage economic growth, cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change. Here, our CEO, Sarah Watts, looks at the huge opportunities this creates for leisure operators.

Why is the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme relevant for public sector leisure providers?

In the UK, it is estimated there are more than 2,720 ageing leisure centres, with many dating back to the 1970s. These buildings are inefficient money pits. This funding is designed to help English councils invest in energy saving measures to improve efficiencies and also to encourage councils to meet their legally required carbon neutral targets. Investing in works also creates employment, helping to re-energise the economy at a time when it is really needed.

What is the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme?

Through The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the  Government has launched its Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS), providing grant funding for energy efficiency measures across the public sector in England.

PSDS will offer £1 billon of grant funding which aligns with BEIS’ new mission and priorities: fighting coronavirus, backing business, unleashing innovation and tackling climate change. The scheme will also encourage green investment, supporting the Government’s net zero and clean growth goals. It will reduce non-traded carbon emissions from the public sector equivalent to taking nearly 45,000 cars off the road.

The funding is available for capital sustainability and heat decarbonisation projects within public sector non-domestic buildings, including central government departments and non-departmental public bodies across England.

Public sector bodies can apply for a grant to finance 100 per cent of the costs of capital energy saving projects which meet the schemes criteria – and there is no minimum or maximum grant value.

The scheme is managed by the BEIS delivery body Salix Finance

Which projects might qualify for a grant?

To access the funding, councils must apply for big ticket, Cat1 technical equipment such as air or ground source heat pumps — the kind of upgrade with the potential to deliver significant decarbonisation. Applying for Cat1 equipment then unlocks opportunities to access funding for Cat2 and Cat3 equipment. There is no minimum or maximum cap on the grant, but applicants must evidence a return on investment delivered over the lifetime of the installation. 

Who can apply for Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme funding?

As the registered owner of the building, only the local authority can submit an application. Leisure trusts and operators can support local authorities with an application, providing data to evidence the validity of the application and the estimated return on investment ­— partnership working is absolutely key.

Is Alliance Leisure working with any clients to access PSDS funding?

Yes. We are currently working with eight local authorities on applications for this funding, with potentially more to follow.

What is the application window?

The application window is very tight. The fund was only officially made available in October and the current closing dates for applications is January 10, 2021. There is also a caveat that agreed works must be completed by September 2021.

Is this grant only applicable for existing stock?

All new build developments will be decarbonised by legislation anyway, so this Grant Funding Scheme is specifically aimed at ageing stock.

How do you apply?

The application process is complex. Acting as a conduit for our clients, we are employing the expertise of our trusted partner, Leisure Energy, to facilitate applications. Delivering projects exponentially through the UK Leisure Framework means we can also access significant application discounts, which we pass directly on to our clients.

Time really is of the essence. We have just a few months to apply for £1 billion of funding before the opportunity closes. If you think your leisure stock could benefit from a Cat1 decarbonisation project, give us a call today to discuss the next steps.

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