WORCESTERSHIRE County Council is urging businesses across the county to sign up for a new grant to help reduce running costs.

The council, working in partnership with Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, has been awarded funding from the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme to support small and medium sized enterprises in becoming more resource efficient.

Businesses can qualify for grants and free assessments to help reduce costs of energy, waste, water and raw materials, and improve profitability. The free assessments involve providing businesses with a practical appraisal of their current premises, equipment, processes and performance to identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption and waste, and improve use of water and raw materials.

Businesses will receive a comprehensive report and advice, including changes that can be introduced at little to no cost. They can then also apply for a grant to make other improvements more affordable by contributing up to 45% to projects costing up to £15,000.

Grants can cover the installation of energy efficient equipment such as heating, insulation and ventilation, in addition to supporting water saving measures and programmes for better use of waste and recycling.

To be eligible for an assessment or grant a business must be located in and trading from Worcestershire in a field other than agriculture or retail, employ fewer than 250 employees, and have a turnover of under 50 million Euros (approximately £40 million).

The funding is available to businesses until March 2015 – however businesses are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible in order to be able to take advantage of the free assessments and grants as soon as possible.

For more information, or to register for an assessment, call 01905 822833 or visit business-central.co.uk/resource-efficiency-grants.