£8.5m To Tackle Fuel Poverty In West London

Local Authorities join forces with Powergen to ease to burden of fuel bills


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More than 7,000 homeowners in West London are to be targeted in an £8.5 million venture to improve energy efficiency and reduce the impact of fuel poverty, a major factor in premature deaths across the capital.

Aimed at private homeowners in seven boroughs, the Heatstreets project identifies homes that fail to meet decent homes targets for energy efficiency and deliver improvements to insulation and heating controls.   A fuel poor household is one that needs to spend more than 10% of income to adequately heat and light their home. Current estimates suggest between 4 and 6 million households in the UK are fuel poor.

Run in conjunction with Powergen, the project will operate in the Boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Kensington and Chelsea.  Powergen will conduct a street-by-street campaign within each of the seven boroughs to install a number of efficient energy saving measures. These will include insulation for cavity walls and lofts alongside improved heating controls and advice for homeowners on improving efficiency and saving money.

Hounslow's executive member for housing, Krishan Chopra, thinks that there are thousands of homeowners who suffer because they own their homes and aren't aware of the schemes available to tackle fuel poverty.

Speaking on behalf of the seven boroughs, he said,"Tens of thousands of homeowners in West London are suffering from fuel poverty, either through ill-health as a result of living in cold conditions, or because they are wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds trying unsuccessfully to heat their homes.  This scheme aims to reduce the number of people living in these conditions whilst also identifying those who would benefit from heat efficiency measures".

Latest figures show that up to 20% of all privately owned homes are not energy efficient, with thousands of pounds of money being wasted on heating bills because of poor insulation.

Charles Pipe, Energy Efficiency Co-ordinator for Hounslow Council, said, "For people living in fuel poverty, many of whom are older people, around 10% of their income is spent on heating their home.  This situation is critical because there are links between poor heating efficiency and ill-health, especially asthma and other respiratory problems.  By working with Powergen over such a large area of west London we can tackle the most severe cases of fuel poverty and also gain a better understanding of the extent of the problem.�"

The Heatstreets scheme is funded for two years through a £3.65m grant from the London Housing Board and the Government Office for London, with additional funding of £3.5m from Powergen.  Additional funding is also available from the seven Council's through a number of energy efficiency schemes.

April 28, 2004