Fund to tackle rural fuel poverty

A £150m fund to install affordable heating solutions in fuel poor homes could benefit rural households.

The Warm Homes Fund was unveiled by the National Grid and its partner company Affordable Warmth Solutions.

It is split in to three categories focusing on urban, rural and health-related solutions to help supplement traditional funding streams.

Applications are open to bids from local authorities and housing associations.

Hastoe Group chief executive Sue Chalkley said: “Rural fuel poverty is a big concern for Hastoe and I am delighted that this programme has a rural category.

“As many rural households do not have mains gas, they have to rely on expensive electric storage heaters or oil to heat their homes.

“Often tenants have a limited fixed budget for heating, so are at risk of poor health through under heating their homes.

Ms Chalkley said Hastoe was working to address the issue by building new homes to super energy efficient standards.

It was also investing in older homes to bring them up to Hastoe's "Green Homes Standard".

Since 2014, Hastoe has also been working with Groundwork UK to offer a ‘Green Doctors’ scheme to tenants.

This scheme provides energy efficiency and thermal comfort advice on a one-to-one basis.

Ms Chalkley said: “This has helped customers to save thousands of pounds, improve energy efficiency and stay warm and safe in their homes."

The Warm Homes Fund comes as the government unveiled a plan to give homes and businesses more control over their energy use.

Ms Chalkley said: “Government plans to create a smarter energy system is good news for rural communities.

She added: “It is also good news for the renewable energy supply chain which has been suffering and needs this boost.”

For further details about the fund, click here.


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