HEEPS of heat for thousands of city homes

Posted on 19/03/2014 by




Up to 3,500 homes in the capital are to be insulated over the next year in a bid to make them cheaper to heat and reduce fuel poverty. Homeowners and private tenants will benefit from an estimated £12m of available funding through the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programme (HEEPS) and funding from the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO).

The £60m fund to help households living in fuel poverty to to make their homes warmer, more environmentally friendly and cheaper to heat was announced by Housing Minister Margaret Burgess earlier this month.

The investment, which is targeted at fuel poor households across Scotland, will be used for the installation of energy efficiency measures such as solid wall, cavity and loft insulation. Around £42 million will be split between the 32 councils while the remaining £18 million will be made available to local authorities to develop larger scale schemes.

Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess said: “This £60 million investment will help households in fuel poor areas stay warm and reduce their energy bills. In total, the Scottish Government will spend almost a quarter of a billion pounds over a three year period on fuel poverty and energy efficiency.

“Rising energy bills remain a huge concern for this government. Today’s funding will see thousands of homes across Scotland receive new measures like solid wall insulation and help to drive down the number of people living in fuel poverty.

“This funding will be distributed across all of Scotland’s local authorities, including our rural and island areas and will include specific provision for households in rural areas currently finding it difficult to access the measures.

“The investment will also support and sustain the insulation industry in Scotland, generating work and supporting jobs.

“We are doing everything we can within our limited powers to provide a wide range of energy efficiency measures to individual households and to local authorities.

“We are actively working with councils and energy companies to ensure that Scotland continues to get its fair share of funding for efficiency programmes like these.

“Only with the full powers of independence can we fully tackle all the causes of fuel poverty. We made our position clear about how ECO and Warm Homes Discount would be funded in an independent Scotland. These costs would be met by central resources. Based on current arrangements this would reduce energy bills by around five per cent – or around £70 per year.”

 Liz Marquis, the director of the Energy Agency which manages the energy efficiency measures in South Ayrshire, said: “The installation of energy efficiency measures such as external wall insulation makes a huge difference to people struggling to pay their fuel bills.

“The continued support from the Scottish Government is vital to help people in properties which are particularly difficult to heat. Combined with effective energy advice and support, these locally-delivered programmes are well proven to remove households from fuel poverty. The funding also stimulates the insulation industry providing valuable jobs and support for our communities.”

In Edinburgh, the city council, working with the Energy Savings Trust and Changeworks, will provide loft and cavity wall insulation to thousands of households across the capital who are at risk of being affected by fuel poverty.

Private homes are, on average, less energy-efficient than Council homes and have poorer energy performance ratings. Council tenants benefit from a comprehensive investment programme which has seen around £30m invested over the last five years in improving the energy efficiency of Council homes.

Housing Convener Cllr Cammy Day said: “The rising cost of heating is hitting poorer households hard. This initiative will make a major contribution to making homes for some of the worst affected households cheaper to heat. This initiative is a major part of the Coalition’s commitment to ensuring that the city’s people are well housed in quality accommodation, whether this is within our own stock or in privately owned homes.”

Householders who would like to know more about this and other Scottish Government funded offers can contact the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Scotland hotline on 0808 808 2282 or visit http://www.homeenergyscotland.org.