Most of us are by now, well aware that as consumers, we are all responsible for doing our bit to reduce carbon emissions and to help save the planet. And, although sustainable build projects are largely still in their infancy, the government, with the help of other organisations who have an interest in this area, is keen to offer grants and other assistance, where possible, to help both individuals and businesses alike to address some of these issues.
The Sustainable Development Fund
Our National Parks in the UK represent all that is good about the promotion of sustainable living and since 2002, they have been able to apply for financial aid from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to help promote sustainable development. The grant scheme is aimed at encouraging individuals and local communities to develop different ways of living and working whilst, simultaneously, conserving and improving the local wildlife and landscape and preserving local culture and traditions. Projects can get up to 75% of their total cost from a sustainable development grant and this can run from just a small amount up to many thousands of pounds. Encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved, the National Parks have so far supported projects relating to wood burning heating systems, the harvesting of rainwater, cycle centres and eco-buildings, along with training many young people to become ‘green ambassadors’.
The Energy Savings Trust
Following the 1992 Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, when the real threat of global warming first became prominent from a global perspective, the UK Government set up the Energy Savings Trust a year later to address the damaging effect of climate change and to help cut CO2 emissions by promoting the sustainable and efficient use of energy. Working in conjunction with the electricity, gas and water companies, they can help individual householders with the costs of improving energy efficiency in the home by offering grants and subsidies for things like cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and draught proofing, heating appliances and energy efficient boilers etc.
The Environmental Action Fund
Also run by DEFRA, the Environmental Action Fund (EAF) offers financial aid to both voluntary and community sector groups to support the Government’s sustainable development projects within England. Grants can range from £25,000 over a year to up to £750,000 over 3 years and have been used on projects concerned with biodiversity and others relating to raising awareness and devising strategies to remove barriers to sustainable development in areas such as climate change, resource productivity and waste.
In addition to national projects such as those mentioned above, many other forms of financial help are available via our local authorities and other organisations, both private and public who have a keen interest in the area of sustainable development and who seek to promote the importance of the health and well being of the environment and its inhabitants, both people and wildlife, and protecting the economy and to help encourage us all to live in a sustainable way that doesn’t harm the planet now or for future generations to come.