Practice wins interest-free green loan

A practice in Wales has become the first to receive an interest-free 'green loan' under a deal between the RCGP and the Carbon Trust.

Mr Gimblett (left) and Castle Surgery GP Dr Rhidian Lewis: loan was ‘instrumental’ in green decision (Simon Ridgway / UNP)
Mr Gimblett (left) and Castle Surgery GP Dr Rhidian Lewis: loan was ‘instrumental’ in green decision (Simon Ridgway / UNP)

The Castle Surgery in Neath, West Glamorgan, is to receive a £16,500 loan, which it plans to spend on an overnight storage heater.

The loan is the first agreed under a deal, revealed in GP last year, in which the Carbon Trust agreed to lend practices up to £500,000 interest-free to help cut their carbon footprint (GP, 11 December 2009). The loans could pay for double glazing, replacing oil boilers or for structural premises alterations.

Steffan Gimblett, practice manager at the Castle Surgery, said the new overnight storage system will not only cut down the practice's carbon footprint but will also cut costs.

'With the new system we will be using a quarter less power,' he said. 'This means our carbon footprint will be three-quarters of what it is now.'

The Carbon Trust estimates the practice will make annual energy savings of £4,550 and CO2 savings of 24.8 tonnes.

Mr Gimblett said the Carbon Trust's loan was 'absolutely instrumental' in the practice's decision to opt for a greener system.

'The practice's current system is quite old and expensive to run, so the partners decided we needed a change.

We explored a number of new systems and found the green option was the most attractive option, but also the more expensive option,' he said.

Mr Gimblett said banks would have offered the practice a high-interest loan, but the interest-free loan helped it go ahead with the green option.

Meanwhile, the Carbon Trust has revealed the maximum loan available has now been reduced from £500,000 to £100,000 after the offer proved 'enormously popular' in 2009/10.

A spokeswoman said: 'With a fixed amount of funds available the Carbon Trust wants to make sure as many small and medium businesses benefit as possible. That is why it has reduced the maximum loan available to each company from £500,000.'

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