Oxfordshire County Council approves extra funding to tackle fuel poverty
People in Oxfordshire struggling with fuel poverty in poor energy efficient homes will soon benefit from a new £6.4 million county council programme.
On 24 January, the council’s cabinet approved the programme, which aims to carry out home retrofit upgrades of over 300 properties in the county over the next two years. The funding comes from phase two of the government’s Home Upgrade Grant scheme, announced in October 2022. It is subject to a funding award from central government, following a bid for £6.4 million that the council's climate action team submitted back in November 2022.
Councillor Mark Lygo, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Equalities, said: “Those who live in poor quality housing are more likely to suffer from long-term health conditions such as respiratory illnesses and struggle with fuel poverty. We know that the risk of fuel poverty is, unfortunately, increasing as the cost of living crisis continues.
“Therefore, we hope that the programme will help to expand on and complement the work we are already doing, such as through our Better Housing Better Health service, to make vital home improvements to reduce fuel poverty and improve health conditions.”
Councillor Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “A quarter of carbon emissions in the county come from our homes. The poorest energy efficient homes not only tend to be more expensive to run but also have a greater carbon footprint as a result.
“However, this retrofitting service will allow residents in some of the least energy efficient homes to get improvements required to not only reduce their fuel costs, but also carbon footprint.”
The programme is available to residents who own their home or privately rent, do not use mains gas for heating, and have a combined household income of less than £31,000. Homes should also have an energy performance certificate rating of D or below.
For those wishing to find out more, an expression of interest form is available at oxfordshire.gov.uk/retrofit.
Oxfordshire County Council, in collaboration with the districts and City, also funds the Better Homes Better Health (BHBH) service. This service supports residents with energy efficiency advice, accessing grant funding and improving access to eligible benefits to reduce fuel poverty and improve health conditions. Residents can call the advice line on 0800 107 0044.
Further information, including eligibility, will be added to Oxfordshire County Council’s website nearer to the project start, April 2023. The retrofit team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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