£160,000 paid to local businesses and taxi drivers to replace non-compliant vehicles through the St Helens Business Vehicle Grant

05 Sep 2023

Business

The St Helens Business Vehicle Grant was launched in June 2023, and since then has supported over 30 recipients providing over £160,000 to provide part-funding towards the replacement of older, non-compliant commercial vehicles that operate within the Borough.

As part of the ongoing progress and support of the Air Quality Action Plan, the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), have provided investment that will enable St Helens Borough Council and St Helens Chamber to help local businesses and taxi drivers tackle the reduction in NOx emissions across the borough.

David Marnell, Director of Business Services at St Helens Chamber, explained: “The Grant has been extremely popular with local businesses and taxi drivers alike, and we’ve seen over 160 expressions of interest from those wanting to replace their commercial vehicles in preparation for the introduction of low emission and clean air zones.

“The grant will contribute to the cost of replacing older, non-compliant vehicles with new or newer vehicles that will reduce the level of NOx in our environment. So, it will ensure we as a Borough can reduce our emissions while making operating a vehicle in the area more cost effective. We’ve now opened Phase two for applications, and would encourage anyone who has an eligible vehicle to apply.”

Phase 2 of applications for the St Helens Business Vehicle Grant launched in July 2023 and will remain open until the grant is fully spent; with a total of £550,000 to be distributed to local Taxis and businesses. Eligibility criteria does apply with full details provided on the St Helens Chamber website.

David continued: “So far, over 30 recipients have replaced an older vehicle with a Euro 6 standard vehicle. The predicted mileage for the replacement vehicles funded in part by the grant is just over 627,000 miles over the next 12 months”

“These have been a mix of nearly new or new vehicles including Electric, Hybrid, Petrol or Diesel ranging from a coach, heavy and light goods vehicles to taxis. Combined this investment had reduced NOx emissions by nearly 60% whilst providing essential funding to our local business community.”

One successful grant recipient is Sarah McDonagh, Development and Quality Manager at The Hope Centre who has used the grant as a part payment for a replacement vehicle.

“We would love to say a big thank you for the support in funding a replacement van. The current van has been used by St Helens Foodbank, one of The Hope Centre’s corner stone projects, collecting donations from supermarkets, schools and businesses across the borough, dropped ‘orders’ to the distribution hubs across the town and most recently is being used by Hope Pantry – I couldn’t tell you how many people the van drivers and teams have supported over the 9 plus years we’ve had it, but like the bigger boat needed in the film Jaws we have come to that point with the van.

“We had started saving for a new van with a discretionary fund so this support has meant that we have been able to put the grant back into the project which will mean we have money to buy more food on the weeks donations are running low – so not only will we have a smarter, bigger, more environmentally friendly van but we can support more people in the borough, making lives that little easier in difficult times.”

Another Grant recipient Jason Hall at Express IT commented:

“The grant scheme support provided by St Helens Chamber and St Helens Borough Council has enabled us to advance the acceleration of the purchase of a Euro 6 compliant vehicle to add to our fleet, without the grant scheme support then this would not have possible.

“The grant scheme application process was very easy and straightforward, along with the support from St Helens Chamber to clarify any questions that we had.”

St Helens Borough Council and St Helens Chamber are working in collaboration on the St Helens Business Vehicle Grant to help local businesses and taxi drivers operate more cost effectively and to reduce the emissions in our local area for the benefit of the community as a whole.

Councillor Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Business and Skills, said:

“We’ve set out an ambitious climate change response plan with a target to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, supported by investment in upgrading our own vehicle fleet, from modern diesels and electrics to the country’s first custom built hydrogen waste collection vehicle.

“But with the council making up just 3 per cent of local emissions, our bigger focus has to be on supporting residents, communities and businesses to reduce emissions in a managed, sustainable and expedient way.

“This is a big challenge, but one that we are prepared to tackle head on with the support of our partners like St Helens Chamber, and targeted schemes like this one. I’m delighted with the response so far from the local taxi trade and other businesses in taking up this great opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint, supporting our borough on its road towards a greener future.”

Phase 2 of applications are now open, and interested applicants are invited to apply via the website below.

For more information please visit: https://www.sthelenschamber.com/business/st-helens-vehicle-business-grant/  or email info@sthelenschamber.com