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£12 million 'green' scheme opens to Northern Ireland's businesses

A new £12 million 'green' scheme designed to encourage Northern Ireland's businesses to become more energy efficient has been launched by the country's enterprise minister Arlene Foster.

The Government hopes the Invest Northern Ireland's Sustainable Productivity Programme will increase the overall competitiveness of local business.

It will provide support to businesses to achieve savings in water, energy and raw materials and help identify gaps in the high growth renewable energy market.

The programme includes an energy efficiency loan fund which will provide interest free loans to businesses worth between £3,000 and £400,000 over four years, specifically for the installation of energy efficient equipment. The size of loan will depend on the scale of energy saving potential.

A capital grant scheme, project management support and an industrial symbiosis service, which will help identify commercial opportunities for exchanging waste materials, will also be available.

Arlene Foster said: "This new package of measures from Invest NI aligns with the Programme for Government's aim to grow the green economy. I would encourage Northern Ireland firms to take advantage of the advice and financial support that is on offer through capital grants and interest free loans to implement projects that can help them increase their productivity and save money."

Businesses with an annual expenditure of more than £30,000 on water, energy, waste and raw materials, can apply for the support, although the threshold may change depending on demand.