Portsmouth City Council will lead a consortium of nine local authorities for the delivery of first time central heating systems in vulnerable households.
The authority and its partner AgilityEco have been successful in attracting £4.65m from the Warm Homes Fund, with a further £2.8 million to be brought to the project from other energy efficiency funding streams bringing the total amount to £7.4 million.
The grant funding will be administered through a Community Interest Company named Affordable Warmth Solutions; and is made up from fines levied on energy companies and networks for rule violations.
The money is to be allocated over three years, with the first installations for the project beginning in August. The scheme intends to deliver 1,500 free central heating installations during this time.
Typical eligibility criteria include those on low incomes, those in receipt of means-tested benefits, those with long-term health issues or those in vulnerable situations.
Where it's recognised that a household is having central heating for the first time, changing for example from systems such as panel heating or storage heaters, other secondary energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall and loft insulation can also be installed for them.
Those receiving their first central heating system will also receive a free connection to the gas grid, where this is required. The total value of a gas connection and central heating system typically equates to £6,000.
Around 10% of the funding can be used in social housing, but the vast majority is to be used in the private sector where fuel poverty is most prevalent; both for homeowners and private rental.
The website Warmerhomes.org.uk gives further information regarding the scheme, eligibility criteria and how to apply.
Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Darren Sanders said "This funding is excellent news for the residents of Portsmouth and will ensure that many of the most vulnerable in our city don't have to suffer when winter arrives. Fuel poverty is a growing problem in our city. This funding means we can take proactive action to help those who need it the most, I couldn't be prouder that Portsmouth is leading the consortium on this project.
AgilityEco's Chief Executive Officer Gearóid Lane said “We’re delighted to have helped Portsmouth City Council and its consortium partners to secure this valuable grant funding, enabling hundreds of people in Portsmouth to replace their expensive, inefficient heating systems with new and efficient gas central heating. We’re looking forward to working with the councils to deliver this valuable help and support to those that need it most. We urge residents without gas central heating to visit the website or call the free helpline number and get their applications in before the coming winter.”
The consortium partners are:
- Portsmouth City Council
- Gosport Borough Council
- Peterborough City Council
- Bournemouth Borough Council
- Ealing Council
- Enfield Council
- Poole Borough Council
- Rutland County Council
- Southend-on-Sea Borough Council