Green Homes Grant will improve conditions for 150 Oxfordshire households
At least 150 homes across Oxfordshire will be made more energy efficient thanks to a successful bid for £1.5 million of government funding.
Oxfordshire County Council was awarded the Green Homes Grant by the government. The council will be working together with expected delivery partner the National Energy Foundation (NEF) to help less well-off households retrofit their homes with energy saving equipment – cutting families’ fuel bills while at the same time helping to reduce the county’s carbon footprint.
Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “For families with limited disposable incomes, affording the necessary improvements to make their homes more energy efficient is especially difficult. This welcome government grant allows us to reach out to some of these householders in our area, helping to make their homes more environmentally friendly and saving money on energy bills too.”
The grant, part of the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme, was awarded after a competitive application process to help lift families out of fuel poverty. This is when a household has above average fuel costs and these costs would take their residual income below the official poverty line.
There is a strong link between properties with poor energy efficiency and fuel poverty and respiratory illnesses.
In Oxfordshire, 20 per cent of properties fall into the worst energy efficiency categories, according to the Energy Saving Trust. In 2017, 8.5 per cent of Oxfordshire households were in fuel poverty, while respiratory conditions are estimated to affect 50,000 people.
As well as improving the quality of life of the individual households, the scheme will also help the council work towards its goal of enabling Oxfordshire to become zero carbon by 2050. Residential carbon emissions make up 25 per cent of emissions in the county.
NEF, a registered charity with expertise in energy efficiency and fuel poverty, will work with the county’s five city and district councils (Cherwell, Oxford City, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire) to identify properties that fit the criteria. Eligibility factors include low household incomes and low energy efficient homes. Areas of deprivation will be targeted.
Lord Callanan, the Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility, said: “Local counties across south-east England are already taking strong action on climate change. Our funding today will help the region meet these ambitions and build back greener, helping people to heat their homes cleanly and cheaply while securing green employment across the area.
“The funding for these exciting housing schemes is levelling up in action. Households across the southern region will enjoy warmer homes, save money on their bills and reduce their carbon footprint in the process, all while supporting and protecting over 8,000 green jobs across the country.”
Cllr Catherine Webber, Cabinet Member Climate Emergency and Environment at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “This fund will help a significant number of families on low income to improve the energy efficiency in their homes and we have already identified the homes that will be able to benefit from this support in the Vale.
“As a council we are focussed on doing what we can to tackle the climate emergency and making our homes more energy efficient has a key role to play in to reducing our carbon emissions.”
The scheme will focus on insulation as a method of improving energy efficiency, with each chosen property receiving work worth up to £10,000.
Although households will be targeted and cannot directly apply for this Green Homes Grant funding, other services are more widely available. These include the Better Housing Better Health Service delivered by NEF that provides general warmth and wellbeing support to Oxfordshire – go online at bhbh.org.uk for more information. There is also a parallel Green Homes Grant scheme that households can apply direct to: gov.uk/apply-green-homes-grant.