Regional film agency Screen East has launched a new $5.5m (£3.5m) production fund, with a remit to cut the carbon footprint of the projects it invests in by 30%.

The Low Carbon Fund is made up of $4.8m (£3m) from European Regional Development money and $800,000 (£500,000) from the East of England Development Agency.

The agency has a remit to invest in a minimum of 15 projects – across film, TV and the digital world - over the next five years, with individual contributions being capped at $394,273 (£250,000).

Any film-making team that receives backing from the fund must be prepared to work with “low carbon consultants” to cut the carbon footprint of their production. This will involve attending workshops on business planning and carbon reduction, in particular relating to crew travel, electrical generators and the use of innovative lighting technology.

Only film-makers based in Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire will be eligible to apply for the fund. Films seeking to benefit should shoot mainly in the region, which has recently played host to Stephen Poliakoff’s Glorious 39 and Dean Spanley.

 The fund is supported by the Low Carbon Innovative Centre at the University of East Anglia and the UK Film Council.

Laurie Hayward, Chief Executive of Screen East: “We believe that this is a first for the UK and possibly for the world. The reality is that in the future all businesses will soon be asked to submit a carbon audit, in the way that they submit accounts. It would be great if the film industry could lead on that.”