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A family-run electrical engineering business has secured a £100,000 loan from Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Finance to step up its presence in the renewables sector.

Robinson & Lawlor, which employs 29 people in Nelson, specialises in working on anaerobic digestion plants, which convert waste into energy. The finance will allow it to bid for bigger contracts and take on six new apprentices in the next three years.

Robinson & Lawlor was established in 1957 by Norman Robinson, who is now Chair of the business and whose son Steven is Managing Director.

In recent years it has moved away from general industrial work to specialise in the renewables industry, which now accounts for around half of its turnover. The company designs and fits the process control systems which operate anaerobic digestion (AD) plants.

AD plants use natural biological processes to break down waste and convert it into fuel and fertiliser. The process can be used with any biodegradable materials, including food, farm waste and sewage. The UK currently has over 100 active AD plants and the number is expected to rise considerably.

Rosebud is a finance package supporting Lancashire firms to grow and expand their business. It is managed by Enterprise Ventures on behalf of Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL) – the county council’s economic development company.

Paul Taberner of Enterprise Ventures said: “Anaerobic digestion is central to the government’s policies on waste. Robinson & Lawlor has successfully repositioned itself as a specialist within this growing market. The Rosebud finance will allow it to bid for more profitable contracts and tap into the opportunities within the energy from waste sector.”

County Councillor Niki Penney, chair of LCDL, said: “We’ve identified the energy and the environment sector as a key area with growth potential for the future. We’re pleased to be supporting a growing Lancashire business while creating apprenticeship opportunities.

“Apprenticeships are important because they allow people to learn on the job, building up their knowledge and skills while earning money at the same time.”