An initiative to address fuel poverty, improve energy efficiency in homes and cut carbon emissions is to be launched by Mendip District Council.
The fuel poverty awareness push, approved by Cabinet on Monday (November 2nd), will be intensive, personalised and will stretch across an 18-month period to include the winter months, and beyond.
It will deliver on Mendip’s climate and ecological commitment by encouraging and supporting residents and landlords to make their homes more energy efficient. And it satisfies the Council’s priority to ‘make Mendip a fairer place’ by engaging with agencies, charities, community groups and other partners to seek solutions to address deprivation, social needs and community health issues.
The initiative aims to encourage people to maximise their benefit entitlements, help them address their debt problems and promote the take-up of existing energy efficiency grants, loans and funding assistance available from Government, the Council and its partners.
Funding such as the Green Homes Grants where homeowners or landlords can apply for vouchers for green home improvements. The Safer Homes Grant, which offers up to £10K towards essential works, including energy efficiency upgrades. Plus there’s Lendology Loans of up to £25K available towards renewable energy solutions in the home.
Residents living in properties with a low Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating will spend more on fuel to keep their home adequately heated and are more likely to be fuel poor. Those with an EPC of D or lower can get £500 towards energy improvement works to improve their rating. And there’s up to £1000 available for landlords where the tenant is on qualifying benefits.
Cllr Richard Pinnock, Portfolio Holder for Housing Services, said: “Residents need assistance to understand what they can achieve, the impact of the savings they can make and where to go for support to help them achieve the changes they want to make.
“We plan to do this by increasing knowledge and education through promotional activities to improve engagement and achieve sustainable change.
“Our aim is to increase the take up of energy saving measures in Mendip, raise awareness, and ensure those most in need of energy improvements are able to access financial assistance and support.”
More than 4,700 Mendip homes – 9.4% of households on the district – are considered to be living in fuel poverty. That’s just below the national and Somerset average. Fuel poverty means that it costs more for a household to heat their home and their remaining income after fuel costs puts them below the poverty line. This can be caused by low income, fuel prices and poor energy efficiency putting families at greater risk of ill-health associated with the cold.
As further COVID lockdown restrictions are poised to be implemented this week, more people could find themselves pushed in to fuel poverty, especially as winter approaches. Wellbeing and physical and mental health issues are also ongoing concerns which could affect job retention and income.
Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, said: “It’s 2020, and no-one in Mendip should be worrying about warming their homes. Add to that the worry and uncertainty of a national pandemic and we know people are struggling financially – and with their health.
“We must ensure residents are supported and prepared as the cold weather approaches. People need help and comfort. We urge them to contact us because there’s lots of assistance available. Do get in touch as we really can help.”
For information on grants and loans visit: www.mendip.gov.uk/financialassistance
The Private Sector Housing Team on 0300 303 8588 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Save energy and money – take a look at Mendip’s Home Energy Checklist pages:
Published 3rd November 2020