A North East business has been the first to receive grant from The Business Energy Saving Team to help cut their fuel bills by becoming more energy efficient.

JMF Group Ltd, a print and design company based in Swalwell, received a grant of £7765 to purchase and install new equipment to make energy efficiency changes.

The Gateshead business used the grant to assist their purchase of an air to heat pump, a low carbon air source that can provide four times as much energy compared to a standard electrical heater. The new equipment will produce an annual greenhouse gas saving of 7.2TC02e.

Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and investment at Newcastle City Council said: “It is extremely positive to see local businesses benefiting from the services this great project offers.

“Rising energy bills are one of the biggest spends for businesses and this project helps those businesses to cut energy costs and save money whilst making a valuable contribution to reducing harmful carbon emissions.

“I encourage all eligible businesses to take advantage of the advice and funding being offered by the five local authorities and use this opportunity to make positive changes.”

Michael Foggin, Chairman of JFM Group Ltd, said: “I would like to thank Newcastle City Council for helping us through the grant procedure.

“The process was made simple and hassle free and staff were always on hand to assist with any problems or extra needs.

“This heating system has allowed us to move one step closer in reducing our carbon footprint and becoming a zero emissions company.”

Up to 250 small and medium sized enterprises in Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland are also eligible for a free energy efficiency audit to help identify ways to save energy in day-to-day operations.

The project aims to achieve a local reduction of 1000 tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions.

It has been made possible with £670,000 from England’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme for 2014-2020.

For more information about BEST and an eligibility check, businesses can go to: www.best-ne.co.uk