Leeds City Council has secured £2.9 million of funding to provide targeted energy efficiency improvements such as cavity wall insulation, air source heat pumps, and external wall insulation in areas with high levels of fuel poverty and inefficient homes.
The work, which is funded by a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy grant, will save 385 private and council-owned households an average of £366 on their fuel bills every year and cut the city’s annual carbon footprint by 518 tonnes once complete.
The targeted works will be available to low-income households with a low energy rating and will take place in areas of Swarcliffe, Seacroft, the Weston estate in Otley and the Bodmin estate in Middleton and will be undertaken according to covid safety guidelines.
In Leeds, more than 34,000 households are classed as living in fuel poverty which means that a household has above average fuel bills and paying these bills would result in pushing them below the poverty line.
Eligible residents will be contacted directly by Leeds City Council and their contractor, Better Homes Yorkshire.
Further information on the scheme can be found on the Better Homes Yorkshire webpage.
Separately to the council scheme, homeowners in Leeds are also being encouraged to check their eligibility for discounted energy efficiency measures as part of the government’s ‘Green Homes Grant’ scheme.
As part of the national scheme, most homeowners and residential landlords can apply for vouchers covering two-thirds of the cost of eligible measures (up to £5,000) that make buildings more sustainable and cheaper to heat. Some benefit recipients can apply for vouchers that would cover 100% of the costs (up to £10,000).
However, residents who apply for the government’s scheme will not also be eligible to apply for the Leeds City Council scheme.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: “It’s fantastic that Leeds has secured new funding to help hundreds of residents experiencing fuel poverty to save money by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
“While the council’s scheme will be ringfenced to help those who need it most, I’d strongly encourage all residents to check their eligibility for the national voucher scheme.
“These improvements are particularly important when household incomes are under increased pressure due to the ongoing pandemic. The scheme will make it more affordable for people to keep warm in their homes.”
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development, said: “I welcome this new funding that will help the council accelerate our existing work to improve the energy efficiency of housing in Leeds and reduce our impact on the environment.
“Around a quarter of the city’s carbon footprint comes from the energy used to heat homes, partly because too many residents live in properties that do not effectively retain heat and are forced to pay too much to stay warm.
“The Green Homes Grant is a great opportunity for residents. Given that it is a limited-time national offer and likely to be extremely popular, I would encourage every Leeds homeowner to check their eligibility as soon as possible so that they don’t miss out.
“The council will continue to encourage the government to provide stable, long-term incentives that can help to reduce the carbon impact of all homes in Leeds.”
Steve Batty, Head of Sustainability for Better Homes Yorkshire, said: “Better Homes Yorkshire was created to help residents across the region pay less for energy and live in warmer, healthier homes. Over the last five years, we’ve worked in partnership with Leeds City Council to improve the energy efficiency of over 3,000 local households.
“This new scheme is a great opportunity for people in the area to not only save energy but also live in a warmer home at a reduced cost to them, so I’d urge anyone who is eligible to take advantage of the offer.”