Local Net Zero Fund

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What is the Local Net Zero Fund?

The Local Net Zero Fund (LNZF) is a £1 million grant fund available to local authorities to increase the number, scale and quality of net zero projects in the region.

The fund has been created by the Hub to support local authorities in the region to deliver on net zero. The grants can be used to investigate opportunities, unlock barriers and get stalled projects moving.

Those who receive funding from LNZF will have 12 months to deliver their funded works. 

The current application window closed on Friday 15th March.

The LNZ Fund is made up of three grant pots:
Local Capacity Grant

Up to £25,000 for flexible support to a range of net zero initiatives prioritised by the fund, ultimately leading to the development of a capital net zero project. 

Project Development Grant

Up to £100,000 for stalled net zero capital projects that have already established a business case and technical feasibility. A key requirement is that the grant is likely to lead to the project achieving capital delivery. 

Strategic Development Grant

Up to £100,000 for knowledge, understanding collaboration and regional capacity building, and to help unlock a key barrier or opportunity. In addition to the grant, the Hub will provide up to 20 days project development support. 

Funding is available to Tier 1 and Tier 2 local authorities (unitary, county, district and borough level) and combined authorities within South West England and the Solent area (click for map). Partnerships are encouraged but not required. Local and combined authorities may formally partner with each other to apply.

(For community-led project grants, please refer to the Community Energy Fund.)

Initiatives supported by the LNZF will align with one or more of the following priorities:

  • Heat decarbonisation
  • Buildings decarbonisation (public and housing)
  • Local renewable energy generation
  • Green hydrogen
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Place-based approach/Net zero places (multi-vector and technology)
  • Electricity network constraint solutions and innovation
  • Net zero spatial planning
  • Place-based green finance

Please note that not all fund priorities are relevant to each grant. The relevant priorities are listed on each grant form.

Grants can be spent on revenue funding. This can include staff salaries, consultancy fees and statutory fees (e.g. permits, planning).

Grants can be shared directly with other local and combined authority partners. If you intend to work with community or private sector partners, onward funding from the grant must be compliant with the lead applicant’s own subsidy control and procurement rules. Private and community sector partners cannot be formally included in grant awards.

We strongly encourage that projects engage local community organisations in solutions; this will score more highly during assessment. Local authorities may also work with the private sector to increase opportunities for future commercial investment.

Other project partners from the public, private and community sectors are encouraged, but will not be party to the formal grant agreement, and applicants’ internal procurement rules will apply for onward funding.

Match funding will help improve your score in the assessment process, but only the Project Development Grant requires match funding. There are no restrictions on where match funding comes from, and it can include other central government funding. Additional and new funding will score higher, as will match funding from private and community sources.

Guidance and application forms can be found below. Before applying, please read the guidance form. You are also advised to complete a Pre-application Enquiry Form. This form is the same for all three grants. It is not compulsory.

Contact the Hub for advice on your application at any point during the application process. The Fund is intentionally broad to give flexibility, so do check with us if you are unsure whether your idea is within scope before completing any forms. Please contact LNZCDF@westofengland-ca.gov.uk

Forms and guidance

The current application window closed on Friday 15th March. We expect projects to commence in May 2024 following funding allocation in this round.

Investment readiness support

Alongside the LNZF, the Hub is offering a free Net Zero Investment Readiness Assessment Service. All local and combined authorities in our region can access this service, regardless of whether they are applying for a grant or not.

Local and combined authorities can apply for relevant projects (or project portfolios) to be assessed by the Hub team, who will review project finances and any outstanding work required for external investment. This will include:

  1. Assessment of any further technical and due diligence works required
  2. Commercial business case review
  3. Cashflow analysis
  4. Benchmarking against external funder requirements

This process should provide a helpful roadmap for local authority projects seeking external financing options. It can also act as a critical friend financial audit for council net zero projects progressing through a more traditional internally funded route.

Contact us

For enquiries about the Local Net Zero Fund please contact: LNZCDF@westofengland-ca.gov.uk

For enquiries about the Net Zero Investment Readiness Assessment Service please fill out the contact form on our website