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Smaller businesses will, from today, find it easier to register under the Small Company Environment and Energy Mana...
Smaller businesses will, from today, find it easier to register under the Small Company Environment and Energy Management Assistance Scheme (SCEEMAS).

Announcing the changes, which will now bring in companies with an annual turnover of under £32m, environment minister James Clappison said this will make SCEEMAS more accessible to a wider range of companies.

Announcing these new changes Mr Clappison said:

The government is committed to helping small business and runs a variety of support schemes. SCEEMAS is unique among these as it helps promote both business competitiveness and environmental improvement.

I am delighted to be able to make SCEEMAS more accessible and hope that many more smaller businesses will use the grant scheme to secure benefits from developing environmental management systems.

Although larger companies cannot apply for SCEEMAS, I hope they will encourage their suppliers and customers to use the grant scheme. The DoE stands ready to provide bulk supplies of material to companies who wish to stimulate supply chain activity, said Mr Clappison.

Businesses can now apply for SCEEMAS if they:

-- Employ fewer than 250 (or full time equivalents)

-- Are not more than 25% owned by any other business

-- Have an annual turnover of less than £32m or have an annual balance sheet of less than £21m

-- Are involved in manufacturing, power generation, waste disposal or recycling

The European Commission recently revised the definition of small to medium size enterprises which govern the application of State Aid. This revision has allowed the eligibility criteria for SCEEMAS to be relaxed. The annual turnover limit has been doubled, the balance sheet criteria has been introduced and the ownership requirements have been eased. Previously businesses needed to be 100% independent.

SCEEMAS provides funds to help manufacturing companies improve their environmental performance and register under EMAS. The grant scheme applies to manufacturing companies which have fewer than 250 employees. It provides them with between 40 to 50% of the cost of employing consultants to advise on how to establish an environmental management system in preparation for EMAS registration. Payment is made in three stages covering the environmental review, the creation of the environmental management system, and finally publication of a validated environmental statement and EMAS registration. Stages 1 and 2 provide 40% payments. Fifty per cent of total cost paid on completion of the third stage.

EMAS - The EC Eco-Management and Audit Scheme - requires manufacturing companies:

-- To develop a clearly defined strategy for environmental management, complete with quantified objectives

-- to go beyond passive compliance with existing legislation by proactively seeking to and improve environmental performance, and register under EMAS

For general details of EMAS and the promotion of SCEEMAS to suppliers and customers, please ring 0171-276-3377. For SCEEMAS grant scheme, ring 0345-023423.

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