Pioneering Green project hailed a success

9th April, 2014
A local project aiming to get businesses to go ‘greener’ has been hailed as a success for the Leader 4 Torridge and North Devon programme.

The ‘Green Business Exemplar’ competition was launched in December 2011 with a second round launched in December 2012. Run by the Leader 4 programme and funded by Defra and the European Union, the scheme  offered companies a grant of up to £10,000 to go greener whether in the workplace or on the production line. Seven local businesses were successful in securing a grant.

Local Action Group member and Chair of the decision making panel for the programme, Tryphena Huntingford said: “This competition has really shown the business benefits of thinking positively and creatively about green issues.”

The aim of the project was to enable companies to find innovative ways of bringing best practices or new technologies into their businesses that would substantially improve their environmental sustainability as well as helping growth and development.

The successful applicants came up with a wide variety of schemes all with very distinctive aims ranging from providing composting toilets for rural play areas, purchasing an ultrasonic sewing / welding machine to eliminate the need for toxic industrial glues and installing a water regeneration storage system to recycle water in a cooling system.  The winners were:

* Albion Plants – Roborough
* Clearwater Brewery - Bideford
* Green Deal Mobile App – Ilfracombe
* Higher Hacknell Farm- Umberleigh
* Reed Chillcheater – Braunton
* TK Play - Torrington
* Wheatland Farm - Winkleigh

The scheme was funded by Leader 4 Torridge and North Devon, which had a £3.628 million grant to support projects to improve the quality of life in rural areas.  The programme ran from 2008 to the end of 2013.

Senior Projects Officer for Leader 4, Lisa Cetinkaya said: "This project has worked really well – businesses have introduced new environmental measures and also increased their bottom line as a result.  We want to share how they’ve undertaken these steps and are encouraging other local businesses to take a look at the new web portal to find out more – some simple, practical steps are easy to implement and have been proven to make a real difference.”

Braunton-based manufacturers Reed Chillcheater specialise in the production of surface-water sports clothing. The company were awarded a £6168 Green Exemplar grant earlier this year.

Director Christopher Reed said: “We were thrilled when we were informed that we’d been given an award.  We were using heavily toxic glues to make our products fully waterproof.  We used our grant to buy a new ultrasonic welding / sewing machine.

“Everything is better for us now.  It’s as though the new system has relaunched us as a company – we’re more efficient, more productive and more competitive as a result.  Our margins have improved and we’ve had to take on another person.  It’s made us feel much healthier too!”

The Green Business Exemplar programme was just one scheme run under the Leader 4 Torridge and North Devon programme, which was managed by North Devon+.