The government has received mounting pressure to invest in UK renewable energy over the years, which eventually led to the Ten Point Plan for Green Industrial Revolution.
This included increasing the amount of renewable energy it would subsidise and subsidising onshore wind and solar energy. Auctioning off such subsidy contracts is expected to generate further investment into these renewable energy sectors.
The changes are welcome, as they bring the UK business into a greener age. However, investment can only go so far as long as antiquated business rating measures are still in place, holding companies back from making more ethical changes.
Potential reform in this department had been briefly covered in the chancellor's spring budget statement. Introduced is a relief scheme set to benefit those making greener changes to their business. Those eligible include low-carbon heat networks and machinery used in onsite renewable energy generation and storage.
This scheme can also be used to collect backdated overpayments on business rates, for those who already comply with it. If you think you might fall into this category, it’s in your best interest to seek out professional advice sooner rather than later, to capitalise on a potential rebate.
In its current state, there is a lot of work to do before the current business rates model is a suitable platform to facilitate such changes. The government had originally slated these changes to take place in 2023, allowing a year for the system to be reformed. However, the scheme has been pushed forward and applications for green relief are now being accepted this spring.
Historically, businesses that had installed renewable energy for their use have faced significantly higher rates bills, than those that produce renewable energy for use elsewhere. This is due to a benefit that businesses can receive through the “tools of the trade” exemption clause. This is now set to change for eligible plants and machinery, such as solar panels and renewable energy battery storage. It could also include electric car charging points, meaning that if your business has dedicated space for eligible facilities, you could be due a reduction on your business rates.
We welcome the introduction of support to help companies decarbonise, however, complete guidelines for successful applicants have not yet been confirmed. This means that any applicant now will have heavy speculation and so it’s more important than ever to ensure evidence for your appeal is presented in a professional format.
We're eagerly anticipating announcements on policy changes regarding “green business rates relief” to ensure our clients are kept up to date. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.