Lancashire based small business group calls for more government support to help them go green, as COP26 is under way

Small firms should get support to go greener, the Lancashire based Federation of Small Businesses says as world leaders discuss action on climate change in Glasgow.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 4:55 am

The FSB has set out its environmentally friendly recommendations in the week the COP26 conference launched.

In its study, Accelerating Progress: Empowering small businesses on the journey to net zero, it wants to see a Help to Green initiative modelled on Help to Grow - encompassing £5,000 vouchers that firms could spend on environmental products and services.

It also wants a scrappage scheme, so diesel commercial vehicles can be recycled in exchange for grants towards cleaner hybrids and zero emission vehicles.

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PM Boris Johnson and US president Joe Biden at COP26 in Glasgow

It is also calling for a lowering of the capital requirements banks must stick to when lending to businesses for green improvements and a target-based strategy to deliver charging infrastructure for vehicles by 2030.

It said while a clear majority (56 per cent) believe that the planet is facing a climate crisis, only a third of members surveyed had a formal plan in place to go greener and 22 per cent they lacked funds to invest in cleaner tech.

With regards to the move to zero emissions vehicles, close to half (46 per cent) of those surveyed cite the extra expense of ZEVs as a barrier to change, and a third (35 per cent) say poor provision of charging points is holding them back.

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: “Adopting sustainable practices on the journey to net zero is everyone’s duty.

Mike Cherry

"Small businesses are keen to play their part, but often don’t have the resources and dedicated specialists enjoyed by larger counterparts, so can find identifying and taking the necessary steps a challenge.

“With world leaders in Glasgow for COP26, we need much more than a talking shop. This moment must be a catalyst for governments to remove the barriers that are holding small businesses back.

"If we are to successfully transition to net zero, it’ll be through grassroots action, enabled by smart and supportive policies. While the Chancellor rightly embraced some of our proposed changes in this area at the Budget, it was disappointing to see that the Government’s recent net zero strategy contained only four mentions of small business.

"We now need to see the changes announced last week brought in as swiftly as possible, so that small firms can install solar panels and heat pumps without fear of higher business rates bills.”