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Carbon Trust to End Free Energy Audits

The Carbon Trust, a non-profit funded by the U.K. government, will end free energy audits for businesses after having its funding cut by 40 percent.

The trust will receive £50 million from the government in 2011-12, forcing it to end free on-site energy surveys for businesses and cut 35 of its 216 staff, the Guardian reports.

A grant for research into biofuels from algae has also been eliminated, according to Biofuels Digest.

The trust will now look to supplement its income with help from the private sector, chief executive Tom Delay said. “Public funding still remains necessary and important to achieving our mission, especially in catalysing low-carbon innovation to overcome market failures and in supporting smaller businesses to cut carbon,” Delay said.

The government says that a proposed “green investment bank” will take over part of the Carbon Trust’s duties. But a business plan from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills says that the bank will not be operational before September 2012, the Guardian reports.

Meanwhile the Energy Savings Trust (EST), which provides grants and advice to the public to help them reduce energy use, has lost half its grant money. But the government argues that its “green deal” to provide home insulation will take on some of the EST’s work.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) said: “The Carbon Trust will continue to play an important role in the drive towards energy efficiency and supporting innovative low-carbon technologies, and is being funded accordingly next financial year. At the same time we are acting across the board to ensure we get value for the taxpayer as part of tackling the deficit.”

Last June the Carbon Trust and Energy Savings Trust were placed on a list of bodies under review by the newly elected Conservative- Liberal Democrat coalition government, which has made reduction of the national deficit a top policy priority. The two agencies escaped the ax in October, as 192 government agencies or arms-length bodies were abolished, another 188 were merged and 171 substantially reformed.

Last week Motorola, British Land and Mothercare took the number of companies in the Carbon Trust Standard certification scheme to 500.

Under the standard, organizations must implement carbon reduction strategies and commit to reducing their footprint year-on-year.

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