Following last month’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), a UK lifting equipment specialist is calling for more incentives and support to help businesses play a bigger part in tackling climate change.

Penny Hydraulics has more than played its part by bringing down in-house emissions, but they face barriers that prevent them from doing even more. Managing Director, Robin Penny, feels more should be done with tax breaks, guidance and legislation so that businesses could invest with confidence in eco-friendly initiatives. He comments:

“Businesses want to contribute towards hitting the Government’s net zero targets but more needs to be done to encourage firms that going green now will safeguard the future of both their company and the environment.

I’m proud of the changes we’ve made at Penny Hydraulics, but businesses like ours – who are doing their bit – need to be allowed to carry out eco-friendly activities without restrictions. Incentives could certainly be a way to achieve this and encourage more firms to step up.”

Penny Hydraulics has invested heavily in solar panels, LED lights, state-of-the-art heating controls and electric vehicles to help reduce their carbon footprint. The installation of solar panels has been a major benefit to the business, generating on average 50% of the energy they use.

Despite the business wanting to install more solar panels – and having the space to do so – they have been limited as to how many they can fit by an arbitrary limit set by the local grid operator.

Penny continues: “It’s very frustrating, as we know we can progress further than we have already. For example, we cannot install more solar panels due to limitations of the grid and there is no long-term strategy to change this.

We would also start operating battery service vans, but too greater part of the payload is taken up with the weight of the battery. Legislation needs to be changed to take the weight of the battery out of the sum for a 3.5 tonne vehicle classification”.

Robin Penny

Penny Hydraulics has seen around a 250% increase in cost per kWh of gas since January, a situation that Penny says “successive governments have sleepwalked into over many years of short-term energy policies.”

Prudent investment in the past has left Penny Hydraulics with systems in place to minimise energy wastage but such large and sudden changes in costs are difficult for any company to manage. Energy hikes have come along with other raw material and packaging price rises of up to 200%. Penny discussed the potential improvements for how the UK is set up to deal with energy generation:

“There is plenty of empty industrial roof space not just on our site, but around the UK, and it should be a planning requirement that every new factory roof has solar panel coverage as standard. It is a win/win situation as it would cost the government nothing and be a major cost saving benefit to the occupier. The electricity grid should be adapted to accept the changes without delay. Using valuable farmland for solar farms cannot be the way to go until all other options have been explored.

Businesses want to play their part in the climate change revolution, but the Government needs to give them the tools and support now.”

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