Grant for Improving Your Resource
Guidelines for Applicants
Version 1.3 April 2009
Guidance for Applicants
Grant for Improving Your Resource Efficiency
The Northwest Regional Development Agency has been instrumental in working with regional
partners to develop the Climate Change Action Plan for England’s Northwest 2007-09.
As part of this, the Agency has made available financial support in collaboration with the
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to encourage regional Small to Medium Sized
Enterprises (‘SMEs’) to invest in the most environmentally friendly capital equipment.
Grants may be available where companies are seeking to reduce their carbon foot print,
through waste, water and energy efficiency as well as through recycling.
As such, projects supported by this grant will directly contribute to the objective of moving the
region to a low carbon economy as set out in the Regional Economic Strategy and the
Climate Change Action Plan.
Project funding is available up to ?200,000 under European de-minimis rules (provided at a
maximum 50% intervention rate). The minimum grant is ?10,000, which means the smallest
project value will be ?20,000.
This guidance note is intended to support applicants in understanding eligibility for and the
requirements of the scheme. The accompanying electronic application form can be found at:
Companies considering investments where the primary objective is to expand, rationalise,
modernise or diversify their business, should consider an application under Grant for
Business Investment (GBI). This grant is specifically designed to assist both small and large
scale investments. Details can also be found at: http://www.nwdabusinessfinance.co.uk
2. Who can apply?
Only SMEs with eligible projects (see sections 6-10) based in the Northwest of England are
eligible to apply for support under this scheme. SMEs are generally defined by the E.C. as
independent enterprises (i.e. those where not more than 25% is owned by another
company/group etc) that have fewer than 250 employees, and an annual turnover not
exceeding ?34 million or a balance-sheet total not exceeding ?29 million. These figures allow
for fluctuation in Euro exchange rates. The full definition of an SME can be found at:
The following business activities are ineligible under European Funding Rules:
? Those covered by EC sectoral restrictions: These include the production of synthetic
fibres, textiles and clothing, shipbuilding, coal and steel, agriculture and Annex 1 food
? Banks and insurance companies.
? Establishments providing generalised (school age) education.
? Provision of local social welfare facilities eg hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations,
day nurseries, child-minding facilities, sports facilities, parks, public libraries.
Note also that the following activities are not normally eligible:
? Retail facilities.
? Coastal protection, soil conservation and infrastructures; all with an exclusively
agricultural bias, reafforestation and prevention of forest fires, insofar as such
infrastructures can be financed under EAFRD.
? That proportion of public expenditure incurred in land acquisition not directly linked to
productive investment or investment in infrastructure.
? Building and renovation of housing or major infrastructure in ports.
3. When to apply?
stApplications for funding under this scheme can be made at any time from the 1 of April 2009 and stprojects must be completed by 31 of March 2011. There are no specific application dates under
this scheme, but the budget is limited so the scheme may close earlier to applications once all the funding is allocated.
4. How to apply?
Applications for grant awards under this scheme will only be accepted via an online
application process, which can be accessed on the Finance for Business website. Before
completing the application please read the following guidance notes carefully. Help is also
available via help buttons with each question on the online application. In order to proceed to
complete an application under this scheme you will first need to register online at:
5. Where to get help?
If you require assistance to identify whether your company can benefit from this grant scheme
or intend to submit an application, you should first contact Business Link on 0845 00 66 888.
You will need to undergo an on-site environmental review, this will help support your case for
grant and should accompany your completed application together with copies of any
competitive quotations provided by suppliers.
Onsite reviews can be carried out as part of the Environment Connect service offered through
Business Link. Environment Connect is a business support sign-posting service operating in
the Northwest, it is free, confidential and provides advice and practical assistance for
The support is designed to help companies increase productivity and profitability as a result of
improving resource efficiency and reducing waste.
Environment Connect brings together both regional and national partners, providing one
contact point for businesses and organisations requiring environmental help and assistance. It
is ideal for businesses looking for environmental advice and information and more information
can be found at: http://www.environmentconnect.co.uk
6. What technology is eligible for support?
Grant for Improving Your Resource Efficiency funding is designed to specifically support
resource efficient capital investments made by SMEs. This encompasses the provision of low
carbon, waste and water technologies, which are designed to reduce energy and water usage
on site, minimise waste generation and maximise recycling / reuse of waste and include:
? Water usage - Water efficiency solutions which involve minimising water usage on
site, or maximising reuse of water.
? Energy generation & control - Low carbon energy generation can be supported
under certain circumstances (see general exclusions listed below) and includes on-
site heating, cooling and electricity generation and distribution such as turbines,
ground or air source, combined heat and power, biomass and anaerobic digestion.
Any offer of assistance will take into account income generated as a result of your
project, if applicable.
? Recycling - Any recycling technologies should clearly demonstrate how they
significantly increase capture rates for reusable waste, or offer multi-material
? Information Technology - Innovative applications of information technology directly
concerned with a reduction in emissions such as equipment control or heating
systems are eligible as part of a wider capital investment.
? Transport - The provision of infrastructure to facilitate the adoption of low carbon
vehicle technologies such as electric and hybrid vehicles is eligible.
7. Exclusions from eligible technology & support
Grant for Improving Your Resource Efficiency does not support the following types of
? Sustainable drainage or disposal of water
? The purchase of low carbon vehicles, the provision of infrastructure for sustainable
transport modes, or investment to facilitate the running of public transport services
? The purchase of Information Technology hardware is not eligible if its primary
purpose is not related to energy saving, but rather replacement or productivity
? The provision of off-site generation to compensate for on-site energy demands
Additionally the grant can not be utilised as a substitute for, or in addition to other grant
sources for low carbon or resource efficient technology investment. Applicants will be
expected to demonstrate that such sources have been explored prior to application.
In particular, projects that can be funded by Carbon Trust Interest free loan scheme are not
eligible for support under this product. Further details about the Interest Free Loan scheme
can be found at:
Bio-energy projects focused on Biomass heat boilers and combined heat and power (CHP) equipment, including anaerobic digesters for heat-only or CHP are also
excluded where support is available under the national Bio-energy Capital Grants scheme.
Information about this Bio-energy scheme can be found at:
This scheme will also not fund installations that are or should be subject to the waste
Incineration Directive. The aim of this directive is to minimise the impact of negative
environmental effects on the environment and human health resulting from emissions to air,
soil, surface and ground water from the incineration and co-incineration of waste. Information
about this Directive can be found at:
Further assistance on the identification of a wide range of sources of funding is available
through Envirolink Northwest at http://www.envirolinknorthwest.co.uk and in the following
The Northwest Regional Development Agency may consider applicants who have been
rejected by other sources of support, or those who can not meet the criteria of national
schemes, providing they can demonstrate eligibility for funding under this grant.
8. Eligible costs
The following costs are eligible under this scheme.
? Capital equipment purchased specifically for the project.
? Costs incurred specifically for installing the purchased equipment specified in the
All eligible costs must have been incurred and defrayed by the applicant after the acceptance
of the grant offer and must have been supported by formal quotations from suppliers and
have been accepted as part of the original grant application.
Please note, for costs to have been defrayed liabilities must have been incurred and
discharged by payment by you. Liabilities incurred but not yet discharged cannot be claimed.
This means payment for the purchased equipment must have left your bank and been
received by the supplier before grant can be claimed.
9. In-eligible costs
The following are not eligible costs under this scheme.
? The applicants own Labour or overhead costs incurred through use of the applicants
own staff including, management
? VAT except where it cannot be reclaimed by the applicant
? Hire Purchase interest, interest and service charges, inflation and contingency
allowances, bank Interest charges or bad debts
? Expenditure under an operating lease
? The cost of land or planning consent, buildings or building works
? Any mark up or profit added by the applicant
? Training associated with the installation and use of the eligible equipment
? Free of charge (In-kind) work, materials or services
? Equipment, installation or certification costs incurred prior to the offer of funding or
after the end of the project
? Costs covered by other grant funding sources such as Carbon Trust Interest Free
? Estimated proposals where costs are not fixed
? Any additional costs not included the original application
10. What environmental impacts will be considered?
The main purpose of this award is to contribute to reducing CO emissions in the Northwest 2region through investment in more efficient technology as such the amount of CO savings 2will be a central measure in assessing your application. We will look at how your investment
has reduced the cost per tonne of CO emissions. In order to calculate the CO costs please 22refer to the Carbon Trust Factsheet CTL018 or visit the Carbon Trust website at,
We will look at the wider environmental impact of the project so you might consider;
? Is the investment likely to reduce quality rejects therefore improve output
production and reduce wastage?
? Will process efficiency be improved - less input of raw materials, energy
or water consumption?
? Will the investment help to raise staff awareness of environmental benefits
efficient business production?
? Will housekeeping improve - less pollution potential?
? Will process flow be improved in the business?
? Will the investment increase packaging efficiency?
The onsite environmental review carried out under the Environment Connect service will help
you to consider these issues and identify those actions you need to take as part of your
11. Completing the application form
You will need to complete the online application form, which is split into several sections.
Each section has supporting help notes. However before beginning it is worth gathering
together the information you will need to complete all the sections. You can save and return to
your application to complete it at your own pace once you have registered on the website.
We need to know some basic details about you and your project. This includes, the name of
your business, project title, estimated start date, the length of project, the likely cost and the
amount of grant needed. We will also need to know who to contact about your application and
your company address during the appraisal process.
Monitoring – Business owner
To understand your company and to review its eligibility you will need to provide us with some
detailed information. We would like to know,
? The majority ownership of your company, by sex, age and ethnicity (further details
? If it is a new company
? Business registration numbers for Limited companies ? VAT numbers for VAT registered businesses
? Also if your company is quoted on the stock exchange ? If your company has any linked partner enterprises
There will also be further information needed to confirm if your business has a parent
company and if it has you will also need to let us know who they are, including any ultimate
We also need to establish your SME status and know the background to your business
? Principal Business Activities/Products
? Business Background and History
? Details of your Business Setup, i.e how it is structured ? Details of any product development undertaken
? Date of establishment
? Any quality standard you have
? Any company policies for, the environment, equal opportunities and sustainable
To confirm the grant amount we also need to know how much public funding you have had
from other sources. This is because under European Commission ‘De-minimis’ regulations
there is a rolling three year limit on how much funding a company can have.
Importantly we need to know about your project and how it will benefit both your company and
the environment. Consequently we will need,
? A summary description of your project and its location (where will the equipment be
? To know why you need the grant funding, for example a shortfall in available finance ? How many staff your company employ
? Confirmation of any new jobs that might result from the project or any that will be
? We will also need to know how you will fund your contribution to the project. Both the
finance section on the website and template provided will help you provide us with
As the environmental benefits are the key driver for the funding we will need you to answer a
number of key questions related to your environmental review, this will include any CO 2savings that result from your project and any wider environmental benefits as described in
section 10. In order to properly review your proposal we will need to understand how you
reached these conclusions.
We will also need you to support your application and business case with a project
expenditure and cash flow forecast, which will also tell us how you plan to finance the project.
You should note that if you plan to finance the purchase of the equipment through Hire
Purchase (HP) or finance leasing you should be aware that,
? The grant will not cover the interest or service charges
? Any equipment financed must be owned by the applicant on completion of the finance
agreement (Expenditure under an operating lease is not eligible) st? The applicant can only claim the cost of payments incurred and defrayed prior to 31
of March 2011.
If your project involves energy generation you will need to declare any income resulting from
supplies to third parties.
We will also ask you to confirm how you will manage the project. We need to be confident that
you have the resources to ensure that the project will be delivered successfully. We would
also like to know what your aims are for the project and how these will help your company.
The last item we will need is a declaration by you that the details contained in your application
are true and accurate. You should keep in mind that any information that we subsequently
find to be false, deliberately misleading or fraudulent will result in a rejection of your
application or possibly clawback of any grant paid.
Finally remember to upload any documents needed to support your application (see section
12 stage 2 below).
12. The Application & Decision Making Process
The four basic steps to obtaining an award are as follows:
Stage 1: Preparing your application
Companies seeking support will need to identify potential solutions, which will help them to
reduce their CO emissions. Applicants will need to demonstrate that the solution they wish to 2fund provides the most environmentally friendly outcome when compared with the alternatives
and the likely investment costs.
Applications will need to include copies of supplier proposals for supplying and installing the
alternative solutions you have considered and will need to back up the chosen proposal with a
copy of an onsite review carried out under the Environment Connect programme accessed
through Business Link. The review should clearly support the need for investment in the area
identified in your application.
Companies should also prepare a project expenditure forecast using the template provided
and an estimated project cash flow.
Stage 2: Full application
Full applications can be made on the Finance for Business website and will need to be
accompanied by the following,
? Your three most recently filed annual accounts ? Your latest management accounts (provided that if the enterprise is a start up, then
management accounts will suffice) ? A copy of your onsite environmental review ? Copies of the competitive proposals from your suppliers ? A project plan
? Forecast expenditure (using the template provided) & cash flow
On submission you will be allocated a member of the Finance for Business team, who will
support you during the application process and will handle and questions that might arise.
Stage 3: Assessment
On receipt of the application the Agency will carry out a due diligence appraisal. This will
consist of five elements.
? A review of the financial viability of your business ? A review of the project costs & technology (against the criteria for grant funding) ? The need for Grant assistance
? The level of CO savings forecast 2
? And the wider environmental impact that the project will achieve
The Agency will also utilise external assessment where required to assess the technology
specified and environmental benefits
Stage 4: Decision Making
The decision to recommend a grant award will be taken by the NWDA Finance for Business
Team in conjunction with the Climate Change Team. The approval of awards will be made on
an ongoing basis and individual awards are made solely at the discretion of the Northwest
Regional Development Agency.
Stage 5: Offer
If your application is successful, a formal written ‘Offer Letter’ will be provided. The offer letter
will confirm the amount of Grant award, the timescales, milestones and the terms and
conditions of the contract. You will be required to sign and return this, including a SME De-
Any unsuccessful applicants will be informed by letter and the reasons for this will be clearly
outlined. There is no appeal process against the decision, but applicants with concerns can
write to detail their concerns and this will be handled as part of the NWDAs complaints
Each application will vary in terms of complexity and scale so you will be advised as to the likely timescale involved once we have been able to ascertain the size and scope of your proposed project. Applications will typically take up to 30 calendar days to review. Applicants should also note that it is imperative that any questions raised by the Agency are answered as quickly and as clearly as possible in order to avoid delaying the decision making process.
If your application is successful, a Finance for Business Team member will liaise with you for the duration of your project. All successful applicants will need to agree a monitoring and evaluation process with the team at the offer letter stage. This will depend upon the exact nature of the intended activity but will enable the Northwest Regional Development Agency to monitor the effectiveness of the funding in meeting both your objectives and those of the Agency.
Typically monitoring will continue for a period of up to five years following the first claim or 18 months following the final claim, which ever is the longest. Applicants will need to complete an online record of the environmental performance of equipment purchased under this scheme using an online Carbon Calculator. This will provide us with a record of the savings being achieved. Details of this will be provided at the offer letter stage.
14. Claims and payment
At the offer letter stage we will agree the project milestones with you and this will include when you can make a claim. Typically you will be able to make a claim once you have made the intended investment and can provide us with evidence to show you have paid the supplier/s. This will need to include; a accountants report, copies of formal orders, invoices, receipts and details of the associated bank transactions, which confirm payment has been made to the supplier.
This may mean you only make a single claim, but if you have a longer term project the claims may be spread over a longer period. The Agency will retain 20% of your final claim until we are satisfied that you have met the objectives of the project.
Payments to applicants will normally be made within 30 calendar days, providing all the required evidence of expenditure has been provided. Please note that you will need to retain the original documentation associated with your purchase as this may be required to support future audits of the scheme. Also all final claims will need to be supported by an independent auditors certificate.
15. Changes in projects
It is a requirement of EC State Aid Law that offer letters contain a general provision to allow the recovery of all state support in the event of a grant not being compliant with State Aid regulations.
This general provision gives the NWDA wide ranging powers to withhold, delay, reduce or reclaim (clawback) all or part of the proposed assistance in certain circumstances and in particular in the event of: