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Low-carbon delivery concerns as Carbon Trust sees its funding cut

Contractors have criticised a funding cut to the Carbon Trust, complaining that the move is a further dent in much needed support for the construction industry’s delivery of low carbon.

The not-for-profit trust, which provides specialist support to help businesses cut carbon emissions and commercialise low-carbon technologies, announced on Friday its 2011/12 grant funding would be £50 million - a reduction of 40 per cent.

The move will bring about 35 redundancies from the trust’s 216-strong workforce.

UKGBC chief executive Paul King (pictured) said the announcement was a major concern to the industry, following cuts to similar organisations.

“This is very disappointing news. It is even more discouraging that they join a growing list of green organisations that have either been scrapped or face serious cuts, including the Energy Saving Trust, CABE and the Sustainable Development Commission,” he said.

“The main concern from the UKGBC is who is going to take on this work? It looks like the onus on the private and third sectors to carry out this role will increase further.”

The Energy Saving Trust, which provides grants and free advice to the public to help them reduce their energy use, expects to make around a third of its 300 staff redundant after a grant cut of around 50 per cent.

Electrical Contractors Association chief executive Steve Bratt said: “It is hard to see how reduced funding for the Carbon Trust fits in with government policy for achieving massive UK carbon reductions.

“If the government is serious about achieving UK carbon reduction targets, it must concentrate on ensuring that the UK develops new technology to cut energy use in buildings.”

Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay issued a statement stating that the business and funding environment it operated in is “fast changing”. The trust is now actively pursuing significant partnerships with the private sector, he said, both in the UK and overseas.

Public funding remains essential, said Mr Delay, to catalyse low-carbon innovation and overcome market failures while supporting smaller businesses. Mobilising the private sector in the years ahead will be critical to delivering a low carbon economy, he concluded.