8.2.2023 | Tax

Fishing vessels to get green boost in latest round of government funding

Grants of up to £40,000 on offer through £100m UK Seafood Fund to trial greener engine technology, helping to create a safe and sustainable fishing sector whilst tackling rising fuel costs. 

In a bid to help the UK’s fishing fleet become more aligned with environmental targets, the government is set to invest an initial £2 million in funding.

The financial boost is to trial new, greener engines and help create a safer, more sustainable fishing fleet.

It is the latest round of the £100m UK Seafood Fund to open after the project was initially launched in 2021.

The investment into greener engines is vital, as according to a recent MARFISH report, over half of the boats across the UK fishing fleet are now more than 30 years old.

Therefore, new engines will be a big step towards more environmentally friendly fishing, as older vessel engines are some of the industry’s biggest polluters.

In fact, the annual energy use of the current fleet is estimated to be the equivalent to that of 110,000 homes.

From this week, vessels in the small-scale coastal fleet can bid for up to £40,000 to trial hybrid and electric engines and up to £20,000 to fund replacement petrol and diesel engines that are more environmentally friendly.

The trial aims to gather new data and evidence to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve efficiency and reliability, and help the fishing industry to reach net zero, as well as support the fishing industry to deal with rising fuel costs.

This latest round of applications to modernise and improve the small-scale fishing fleet is part of the £100m UK Seafood Fund, a government investment supporting the long-term future and sustainability of the UK fishing and seafood industry.

The government says some of the fund’s objectives include reforming and modernising infrastructure, enabling a sustainable fishing industry and boost UK seafood exports to new and existing markets.

Director at Beatons Nick Marshall said:

 “This is a very good opportunity for businesses in this industry to apply for financial support to modernise their vessels. The Defra guidelines say the fund will pay for replacement and fitting costs of new electric and hybrid engines to replace petrol and diesel engines regardless of age, as well as pay for new petrol and diesel engines to replace ones manufactured before January 2011. The deadline is October 2023, but applications are on a first come, first served basis, so we advise acting as soon as possible.

“Other guidelines do apply, and the fund could run out before the deadline.”

£20m has already been awarded in Round 1 of the scheme, and last year; the government confirmed a further £30m will be made available for infrastructure projects.

Overall, at least £65m in grant funding is available through the infrastructure scheme, and this includes investment in fleet modernisation and improved capability at ports, harbours, processing and aquaculture facilities.

There is also up to £10m in funding available through the Skills and Training scheme, the second round of which will be open to applicants shortly.

Applications to this fund will be administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), more details on how to apply can be found here: UK Seafood Fund: Infrastructure Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

For help and advice on the funding available and how it could benefit your business, contact info@beatons.co.uk or call 01473 659777.