Zero Carbon Communities Grant

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Thank you for visiting our Zero Carbon Communities Grant Scheme page.

The Zero Carbon Communities Grant Scheme supports communities in South Cambridgeshire to take action on climate change at a very local level.

The grant is now closed to applicants.

Applications are invited for projects in any of the below three themes, or you can devise your own project to meet the objectives below.  


  1. Reduction in miles travelled in private vehicles
  2. Increase in take-up of cycling by people who would not otherwise cycle


A1. Improvement to cycling infrastructure

  • This is an opportunity to bring forward a cycle lane or cycleway, install cycle stands or make some other improvement which promotes cycling.  We are particularly interested in projects where a small improvement would have a significant impact, for example, by connecting a village to a new Greenway or National Cycle Network route.  If the work required is to the public highway, you will need to work with Cambridgeshire County Council through their Privately Funded Highways Initiative (PFHI) scheme.

A2. Electric bike or electric cargo trike

  • Here we invite you to apply not for a grant, but for an electric bike or electric cargo trike, which we will purchase on your behalf, allowing us to use our procurement power to get better value for money. Show us how you would make use of an electric bike or an electric cargo trike to reduce miles travelled by car or van. This could be for staff travel, or for a local share-bike scheme. You will need to show who you expect to use the scheme; how bookings will be taken if these are part of the scheme; where the bike/trike will be stationed; and how maintenance and insurance will be arranged and funded.

A3. Kickstart a commercial electric share-bike scheme in your area

  • This is an opportunity to work with a commercial operator to kickstart a share-bike scheme in your village. The operator will supply a minimum of two electric bicycles for use by registered users. Users will book and pay a rental fee of £4.50 for 12 hours through a mobile phone app or prepaid Smartcard. You will need to designate a suitably located hard-surfaced pick-up/drop-off station and arrange road markings. All maintenance, insurance and battery recharging will be provided by the operator. We will procure the services of a commercial operator and provide a 50% subsidy to the commercial operator for the first year to kickstart the scheme. 



  1. Reduced use of fossil fuel energy in community buildings
  2. Increased awareness of energy improvements to buildings by the wider public

In this theme we are interested in funding improvements to community buildings* to reduce the need for fossil fuel energy, (eg grid electricity, gas or oil). We will prioritise improvements which take a whole-building approach which takes into account the ‘energy hierarchy’ (see below), which ranks the stages on the way to using less energy in a building.

The Energy Hierarchy - 1. Energy conservation, 2. Energy efficiency and 3. Renewable energy

The value of projects on a community building is much greater if it can be used to raise awareness in the wider public about improvements which can be made to homes and other buildings. We will ask you for your plans to do this, for example by holding an open event, and/or providing an article for your local newsletter.

*Buildings must be open to the whole community, for example village halls.  Multi-purpose church halls and Scout and Guide buildings are eligible where clearly advertised as multi-purpose.  Applicants should have a freehold or leasehold interest in the hall in place.  If there is a lease in place there must be at least 21 years left to run on the lease. School buildings are not eligible for funding through this grant scheme. 

(For energy improvements to schools, please contact Cambridgeshire County Council’s Re:fit Schools Programme which arranges energy saving measures for schools funded through loans or managed service arrangements.)

B1. Energy survey

  • Here we invite you to apply, not for a grant, but for a package of advice on how to improve the energy performance of your community building, including an energy survey and advice on funding options. The service will be procured by the Council.   

B.2 Energy conservation or efficiency measures (eg insulation, upgraded windows or doors, lighting upgrade)

  • We are interested in funding insulation of walls, ceilings or floors of community buildings; replacement doors or windows; and energy efficiency measures such as lighting upgrades. We will prioritise these where they have been recommended on an energy survey. 

B3. Solar PV and/or battery storage system for solar PV

  • We are interested in funding solar PV and/or battery storage systems for solar PV where you can show that feasible energy conservation and efficiency measures have already been undertaken or you have a plan to undertake these, (eg funded by savings from the solar PV scheme).  We will prioritise schemes where a significant proportion of electricity generated will be used on-site, (either through daytime use of the building or through battery storage).

We encourage you to purchase solar PV and/or battery storage systems through our Cambridgeshire Solar Together group buying scheme, which promises high quality installations at prices which are typically at least 20% below the market rate.  Please complete the ZCC grant application form using an estimated price (these are available free-of-charge online) and also register with Cambridgeshire Solar Together by their deadline of 5 October. If your application is successful, and the offer from Cambridgeshire Solar Together is acceptable to you, we will make payment of your grant directly to Cambridgeshire Solar Together in payment for your installation of measures.  


  1. Reduced CO2 in the atmosphere and new habitats for wildlife
  2. Increased awareness of the importance of trees by the wider public
  • We are looking to fund a variety of tree-planting and other nature-based solutions to climate change, for example, small-scale restoration of peatland. Consideration will be given to projects which capture CO2 from the atmosphere or prevent its release, whilst at the same time creating or restoring natural habitats. You may have a small open space and would like to plant just one landmark tree. Or you may wish to plant a small tree population, community orchard, community tree nursery, hedge or larger village-wide tree canopy project. This is not an exhaustive list. Projects might also contain other types of planting.
  • Funding can be used to employ a consultant to provide expertise. Trees and equipment to plant trees can also be funded although applicants will be expected to have explored the possibility of obtaining free trees through other sources such as the Woodland Trust.  In your application you will need to demonstrate how your organisation has the capacity and resources to deliver your project and what your plans are for its long-term sustainability.
  • Where tree planting is on private land, consideration must be given to the ways in which the community will benefit, for example by way of access or landscape value. We would also like to see how the trees will be preserved in the future if land ownership changes.
  • Please note, unfortunately, we cannot include community allotments in this round of funding.


We wish to encourage South Cambridgeshire communities of all sizes and levels of experience to apply for these grants and bid for a share of £100,000. Please ensure you read the eligibility criteria at the start of our application form before applying.

The deadline for applications to be received by the Council was 5pm on Wednesday 30 September.

You can read about the local projects we funded as part of last year's scheme.

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