300 of the region’s least efficient properties are set to receive funding towards energy efficiency upgrades, renewables and low-carbon technologies from two Government grant schemes.
South Gloucestershire Council – along with the six other Gloucestershire authorities – have been awarded over £5 million of grant funding to improve hundreds of inefficient homes across South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire. The consortium successfully bid for part of the £430 million Sustainable Warmth Competition being invested by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy across England from 2022. The funding will be used to install improvements to insulation and heating, as well as solar and heat pump technologies on suitable homes.
The £5.25m will be targeted towards the region’s least efficient properties – those with Energy Performance Certificates rated D, E, F or G – and will aim to benefit households most at risk of fuel poverty. £1m will be used to improve 100 properties on the gas network, and the rest will increase the efficiency of 200 properties off the gas grid, mainly in rural areas.
The seven local authorities already work together to provide the highly successful Warm and Well programme, which is delivered by local charity Severn Wye Energy Agency to support the nearly 40,000 households in the region who suffer from fuel poverty. In South Gloucestershire alone, there are 9,439 households who live in properties that are too inefficient to heat and power affordably. This figure is expected to rise as the cost of energy increases this winter and into next year. The funding will be distributed to households that meet certain eligibility criteria so that it helps them out of fuel poverty.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Housing Cllr Ben Stokes said: “By investing over £5m in improving the least efficient homes in South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire we will help prevent people from living in fuel poverty and also raise the level of sustainability across the whole region. As well as tackling fuel poverty, any heating works installed with grant funding will be non-carbon, helping towards our climate emergency targets.
“Severn Wye Energy Agency are in place to offer free, independent advice to those who may be struggling with bills or want to know what they can do to keep warm while reducing their costs. I would encourage anyone worried about themselves or perhaps a neighbour or relative to get in touch with them to get help and information.”
From January, eligible households will be invited to apply to take part in the programme and will receive the most appropriate measures to improve the efficiency of their property. Funding for work on properties on the gas network is delivered through the Government’s Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme; while off-gas properties will receive funding through the new Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) scheme.
Work is expected to be completed by March 2023, by which point 300 South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire homes will be warmer, healthier and more energy efficient. Households can register their interest in receiving funding towards efficiency improvements by calling the Warm and Well advice line on freephone 0800 500 3076.