Cheltenham Zero business fund

CheltenhamZero logo

In 2019, Cheltenham Borough Council declared a climate emergency and a commitment to be a carbon neutral council and borough by 2030. This ambitious target cannot be achieved without the support of residents, businesses, and other organisations within the borough. 

Following the success of the Cheltenham Zero community fund, we are delighted to announce the Cheltenham Zero business fund. This fund will support businesses on their carbon reduction journey and add a much needed boost to local SME’s seeking to reduce their energy and fuel bills.

This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Funded by UK Government logo

The council is releasing a total of £100,000, secured through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, for use by SMEs toward new energy efficiency measures. The grant can be used for the purchase and installation of materials and equipment, as well as necessary expertise. Projects which save on fuel/mileage will also be considered.

We are now inviting applications for funding to support climate measurement and reduction activities across Cheltenham.

The funding will be made available to support initiatives that will result in carbon reductions including energy and fuel savings.

A pre and post application support package is available to interested businesses. This includes sustainability tools, pre-application advice, free workshops, mentoring and one to one support.


Any business signed up to the Cheltenham Zero partnership, with an active Zellar account, a registered premise within the borough of Cheltenham, fewer than 500 employees and a turnover under 50 million euros (approx £43m) is eligible to apply.

Visit the Cheltenham Zero website for pre and post application support.

Key note: We don't want to put any barriers in the way of enabling local SMEs to apply for funding and we are realistic about the pressures facing local businesses. Whilst applications which include an element of match funding/in kind support, and also include basic emissions data and an action plan, will be favoured this does not necessarily prevent you from applying. There is a package of free pre and post application support including online tools, 1-2-1 consultations, workshops, webinars and mentoring.

However if you simply don't have the data available, or the time to engage at this stage, so long as you demonstrate your willingness to engage during the delivery stages we will still consider your application.

How to apply

Please read the full application guidelines before making your application.

For more information and guidance please email [email protected].

Applications open on 25 October 2023.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 7 February 2024.

Apply online

Application guidelines

Who can apply?

Businesses which meet the below criteria can apply for a maximum amount of £10k:

  • has a registered premise within the borough of Cheltenham
  • is signed up to the Cheltenham Zero partnership
  • has claimed their free Zellar account (provided free of charge for CheltenhamZero members)
  • has measured their building(s) and energy emissions
  • for EV specific applications has measured their travel emissions
  • has fewer than 500 employees and a turnover of less than €50 million (approximately £42 million)

How much can be applied for?

Any business may apply for a single award up to a maximum of £10,000. Please be aware that there is an available fund of £100,000 in the initial grant pot and the council will fund those projects offering the highest rate of carbon reduction.

Applications which evidence match funding or part investment will be viewed favourably. Any contributions in-kind and non-cash contributions will also be considered, including staff time etc. Partnerships with energy suppliers are also encouraged.

Implementing projects

The applicant business will be responsible for the project management and delivery of the successful scheme. Consequently the council will be looking for applications that demonstrate clarity of both planning and delivery of the projects with an understanding of what permissions will be required to see the successful implementation of the project.

What we will fund

Projects must be in support of the council’s carbon reduction targets and focused on measurement and reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The projects should create a lasting legacy for the business. We will only fund time-limited projects that can be delivered within 12 months from the project start date.

Applications must be accompanied by evidence that the applicant will secure the necessary permissions to enable the work to proceed.

  • Initiatives for improved carbon measurement, for example:
    • Installation of sub-meters and smart meters
  • Energy reduction initiatives, for example:
    • Energy efficient lighting and lighting controls
    • Improved heating systems
    • Building controls systems, including building management systems
    • Solar shading, blinds and solar film to reduce heat gain
    • Timers for electrical equipment
    • Draught proofing for doors and windows
    • Insulation for roof spaces, suspended floors, cavity walls and solid walls
    • Installation of renewable energy technology such as solar PV
    • Energy efficient / saving equipment
  • Projects resulting in reduced mileage or fuel consumption, for example;
    • Pool bikes or shared vehicles
    • EV charging points
    • EV vehicles/last mile delivery solutions

What we won’t fund

  • Projects where the impact cannot be measured
  • Projects solely focused on the production of information materials or awareness raising
  • Political campaigns
  • Projects being delivered outside the boundaries of Cheltenham borough.
  • Projects that cannot demonstrate that the necessary permissions will be achieved within the appropriate timescales

The assessment criteria

After the closing date, a small panel including a technical expert, will assess all submitted applications. They will consider the information supplied on the proposals form and assess the following:

  • The project’s contribution to our carbon reduction targets and the climate emergency agenda
  • The project’s value for money in terms of its environmental benefits versus the amount of grant requested
  • That the project will meet an identifiable need or build on an opportunity
  • What will the project achieve
  • What the longer-term legacy of this project will be

All licenses and permissions necessary for project delivery should be considered and identified within the application. Successful applicants will be required to evidence that all permissions have been approved.

Applicants must put in place a robust system for collecting, monitoring and assessing the impacts of the project and for reporting and sharing this information.

Where projects involve working with children and young people, we will also ask you about what measures you have in place to safeguard their wellbeing.

Businesses will also need to have current and relevant liability insurance in place before any agreement can be signed and you will be expected to provide copies to prove this. Applicants will be held liable for any damage caused to public property and the council will not accept any liability for claims for damage, loss or injury resulting from this work.


Can a business make more than one grant application?

Businesses can apply for more than one project if they choose, but no more than one grant will be awarded to any one business.

Making an application

Please complete all pages of the online application form. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Agreements and performance management

The council and the applicant will enter into a project agreement detailing the required obligations for both parties including a requirement for inspection and audit to ensure the project is completed in good time.

Grant payments

For successful applicants, grants may be made as advanced or staged payments.

The council reserves the right to reduce, suspend or withhold payments of the grant, or require all or part of the grant to be repaid by the organisation to the council if satisfactory progress is not made.

Cheltenham Zero

Successful applicants will be expected to work alongside the council and Cheltenham Zero to publish case studies of their project work. These will be shared publicly online, including on social media.

Other considerations

Please be aware that as this is public money, the funding will be subject to inspection and audit. Any fraudulent activity will be quickly identified and reported to the police.

Completed Cheltenham Zero business fund applications must be submitted online no later than 7 February 2024.

Apply online


The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit the UK Shared Prosperity Fund webpage.