Phase 5 Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund

Open for applications

Scheme pic

Sector eligibility

Latest news

17 April 2024

We are delighted to inform you that our Phase 5 Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund Application Portal has opened for applications. 

The fund was announced on Wednesday 20 March 2024. 

Please ensure you have read our information about the fund, including the Guidance Notes before applying through our portal. The portal will remain open until 2pm on May 1 2024 and you can apply anytime during the opening period. 

We would like to remind you that applications to Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund will be assessed based on a random order, issued after the application portal has closed. Applications WILL NOT be assessed in the order they were submitted. 

About this scheme

Welcome to Phase 5 of the Low Carbon Skills Fund. The Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund provides grants to boost decarbonisation skills and unlock decarbonisation in the public sector. We would like to invite you to familiarise yourself with the statement made here by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero on the Government website.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, which runs the scheme, has made available up to £16 million of funding for the Phase 5 Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund that will provide grants for public sector organisations to engage the specialist and expert advice and skills required to create robust heat decarbonisation plans to prepare for heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency works. The Phase 5 Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund will be delivered in 2024/25.

Salix is the delivery partner for the Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund and this website area provides you with the information you will need to know about applying for this fund, including the Phase 5 LCSF Guidance Notes, FAQs, Applicant Journey as well as additional resources.

Organisations interested in applying for these funds should read the Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund Guidance Notes and Heat Decarbonisation Project Development Guidance. 

Applicants awarded funding must complete their projects by Monday 31 March 2025 at the latest.

The application portal will open on Wednesday 17 April and close on Wednesday 1 May 2024. Once the portal closes, we expect to be able to inform applicants of the outcome by the end of July 2024.

We will continue to update this website area with the latest news. Thank you for your interest in the Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund.

What is new?

Our learning: At Salix we have used our learning from delivering the previous phases of the Low Carbon Skills Fund to work with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to design the model for delivering this next phase. We have listened to feedback from our clients, stakeholders, decision-makers, and other professionals and made improvements for Phase 5. There are several new elements that the public sector applicant needs to be aware of.

Please read the Guidance Notes for details about how the scheme will be administered, which includes further detail on these changes.


Assessment of applications in a randomised order

Following the closure of the application portal, all applications to the Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund will be sorted into a randomised order prior to assessment and assessed in that order. Under previous Low Carbon Skills Fund phases, applications were assessed in the order that they were submitted. This change reflects feedback that assessing applications in the order they are submitted does not create a favourable user experience. The portal will remain open for two weeks, between 17 April – 1 May, giving applicants ample time to submit their application.

As with previous phases, the applications will go through a rigorous assessment process to ensure they meet the requirements of the scheme eligibility criteria before being allocated funding.

Grant value ranges

As in the Phase 4 Low Carbon Skills Fund, the available funding will be divided across three grant value ranges to mitigate the risk that a small number of high-value projects exhaust a large proportion of the available budget, and to ensure that the available funding is distributed across a range of grant values.

  1. 34% of the total Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund funding will be allocated to applications with a value of £100,000 and below.
  2. 38% of the total Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund funding will be allocated to applications with a value between £100,001 and £500,000.
  3. 28% of the total Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund funding will be allocated to applications with a value between £500,001 and £1,000,000.

The maximum grant that can be applied for is £1,000,000.

Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund Application Form

Phase 5 will see the introduction of the Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund Application Form that all applicants must complete in full and submit via the application portal. To support the assessment process, a scoring framework is being introduced which will apply to some questions and facilitate comprehensive and consistent assessment of applications against the scheme criteria. 

End-of-life requirement

The Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund will see the inclusion of an end-of-life heating system requirement for some of the activities that are being funded by the Low Carbon Skills Fund. This is to prioritise funding later stage project-specific planning for buildings most imminently in need of heating system replacement and therefore support organisations ready to begin capital works.

For feasibility stage and design stage activities - feasibility studies, technical site surveys, investment grade audits and detailed designs - the building must be serviced by at least one end-of-life heating system to be eligible. To satisfy this criterion the boiler and/or plant must have either reached the end of its useful life sooner than is typically expected and can be evidenced, or be older than 10 years. 

Organisations can still include buildings with non-end-of-life boilers when developing activities in the strategy stage; development of a heat decarbonisation strategy, desktop assessments and building audits.

Maximum number of applications

Please note that a maximum of one application per organisation is permitted. This reflects that demand for the Low Carbon Skills Fund is consistently higher than the available funding, and we want to give as many eligible organisations an opportunity to benefit from Low Carbon Skills Fund funding as possible.   

Tenancy arrangements

Applicants must either own the building that is the subject of the application or occupy it under a long-term lease arrangement.

Where an organisation applies in respect of a building that they occupy under a long-term lease arrangement, there must be enough time left on their lease to benefit from developing a heat decarbonisation plan and subsequently replacing their fossil-fuel heating system. Therefore, occupying the building for the expected lifetime of the replacement plant will ensure that the public sector realises the full benefits of the low carbon heating system. In line with conservative estimates of installation timelines and heat pump lifetimes, remaining lease length is expected to be at least twenty years. 

Updated eligible activities

The scheme has been updated for the Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund to reflect feedback from previous phases and introduces more activities as eligible standalone options for funding. This means that rather than the three discrete options available for Phase 4, it is now more straightforward to apply to the Low Carbon Skills Fund to carry out more focused activities that will suit your current needs. 

To guide applicants through the activities eligible for funding, a separate guidance document - the Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund Heat Decarbonisation Project Development Guidance - has been created to provide further details and introduce an illustrative three-staged approach to planning the decarbonisation of heat across your estate through the strategy, feasibility and design stages. 

The proposed three stage structure spanning strategy, feasibility and design stages is intended to help applicants understand the purpose and outcomes of different activities, and how they can fit together and contribute to a robust heat decarbonisation plan. They are illustrative and there is flexibility around which combination of activities an applicant can apply for. The application questions have been updated to reflect the changes to the guidance and organisations will be required to explain how their project is in alignment with the stages and combinations of activities outlined in the guidance. 


Purpose of the scheme

One of the greatest challenges today in meeting the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target is decarbonising the way buildings are heated. Most of the buildings in the public sector still rely on fossil fuel-based heating and expert skills are required to identify and plan how these heating systems can be replaced, ideally at the end of their working lives.

Having a robust heat decarbonisation plan will put organisations in a strong position to take the next steps in decarbonising, including by enabling them to develop detailed project proposals that will help them to apply for any future grant funding for capital decarbonisation measures, or alternative sources of finance. This means organisations can think more strategically and be better prepared for future decarbonisation opportunities.



Support and advice

Our expert Low Carbon Skills Fund team will be happy to take your questions about the scheme. We will also continue to update our website area with any new information. You are also welcome to subscribe to our news updates here.

Please don’t forget to look out for our webinars which offer a chance to meet the team, ask questions and find out more about the Low Carbon Skills Fund.

All Phase 5 Low Carbon Skills Fund enquiries should be sent by email to [email protected]

Key dates

  • Guidance published Wednesday 20 March 2024
  • Application portal opens Wednesday 17 April 2024
  • Introductory webinars during March/April 2024
  • Application portal closes Wednesday 1 May 2024
  • Applicants informed of application outcome end of July 2024
  • Projects delivered Monday 31 March 2025


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