Council secures £2.8m grant for private homes' energy improvements


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Householders in Runnymede could soon benefit from grants to improve the energy efficiency of their home after the Borough Council secured more than £2.8m in funding from central Government.

Supporting the climate is one of Runnymede Borough Council's priorities and bringing government funding to local people means a variety of low carbon energy efficiency measures can be brought into homes.

Two types of homes will be targeted by the grant funding: park homes and electrically heated solid wall homes.

The Borough has around 1,000 'park' homes, one of the largest concentrations in any inland borough in the UK. They are often poorly insulated because of their design. Only a fifth of these homes currently have an EPC rating and, of those, 91 per cent are in the lowest E, F or G categories. The works which these grants could fund has the potential to bring the EPC rating up to grade C, a significant benefit for the householders.

The grant funding will also be targeting solid wall electrically heated homes, with a view to offering sold wall insulation, air source heat pump first time central heating and solar panels.

Council staff expect that around 250 homes could benefit from the funding.

Councillor Marisa Heath, Chair of Runnymede Borough Council's Environment and Sustainability Committee, said: "We're absolutely committed to supporting practical action to improve our environment, so it's pleasing we can now work with local people on measures they will notice a real difference from.

"Reducing the amount of energy people have to use to heat their homes not only supports our ambitions for protecting the climate, it should also reduce people's bills.

"Securing this grant is a significant success for the Council on behalf of residents. It's a prime example of using our local knowledge of how specific types of homes in the Borough could be improved, to help people in a very tangible way."

The £2.8m funding has come from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The grants support Government efforts to reduce fuel poverty, and the incidence of cold related illnesses, in turn reducing the impact on the NHS.

Following its confirmation, Surrey County Council has pledged a further £68,000 to provide extra grants in a smaller number of cases where the government funding does not cover individual needs.

Grant applications and works will be managed by Happy Energy, the Council's delivery partner. Happy Energy is already delivering other energy efficiency work in the Borough, supporting other types of homes.

Homeowners in the target groups will be contacted by Happy Energy in the coming months inviting them to apply for the grants before an assessment of their home is carried out.