A TOTAL of  £5m worth of funding is now available to fund schemes aimed at achieving net zero.

Businesses, colleges and universities across the Solent region can now apply for new loan funding ranging from  £100,000 to £1m.

Succesful projects could include schemes to improve technology, tackle climate change and reduce pollution.

Each project is expected to be rolled out by the end of June 2022 and completed by March 2024.

Private sector businesses, further education colleges, universities and social enterprises in the Solent area have time until January 14, 2022 to apply for the grants.

The loan fund has been launched by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – which is a partnership between business, education and local authorities.

Its chairman Cllr Daniel Fitzhenry, said: “It is incredibly important the businesses have access to the fund they need to transition to net zero.

“I would encourage businesses to either apply or seek further information from the LEP to see how this scheme can work for them.”

Cllr Fitzhenry, who is also the leader of Southampton City Council, said the scheme would be expanded if successful.

“This is just a start in supporting businesses in the journey to net zero. We will be looking at other schemes both as the LEP and the council as wider partner,” he added.