More Bucks homes to benefit from funding to improve energy efficiency

Even more less well-off households in Buckinghamshire are set to benefit from new funding to make their homes more energy efficient following a successful, joint bid for central government funding.

With rising fuel costs and the country braced for an announcement on an increase to the cap on energy prices later this month, the news will be welcomed by hundreds of households in Buckinghamshire, many of whom are at risk of being pushed into fuel poverty as a result of the increases.

The BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) Sustainable Warmth competition which ran last year invited bids from local authorities for a share of the available funding. Buckinghamshire Council joined forces with other regional authorities under the umbrella of the Greater South East Energy Hub (GSEEH). The funding allocation has just been announced and Buckinghamshire has received £4.9m to support local households.

The new funding brings together two schemes to help local authorities tackle fuel poverty on a local level. The grants are generally used to install energy saving upgrades and low carbon heating in households on low incomes. Adding in the new funding, since October 2020, Buckinghamshire Council has received £7.3m to help improve poorly insulated homes in the county.

Peter Strachan, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment said: “We are delighted to hear that our funding bid has been successful. This is great news for both householders and our wider community. Improving your home’s energy efficiency translates into lower heating bills and the wider benefits of cleaner energy help to reduce our carbon footprint so it’s good news all round.”

Eligible home-owners can find out more about how to access the funding via the GSEEH website. The scheme will benefit both home-owners and those who rent privately. The new grant funding will potentially help more than 400 households in the county and includes properties that are ‘off grid’, currently using an alternative energy supply such as oil.

Nick Naylor, Cabinet Member for Housing, Homelessness and Regulatory Services said: “With so many residents experiencing real difficulties with their household bills at present, and the certainty that costs are only going to rise, we are extremely grateful to colleagues at our local Energy Hub for securing us this new funding and helping us to improve the lives of residents. The majority of people want to do their bit to help the environment but when money is tight, it's not always easy to put those thoughts into action. With the help of this funding we can do something about that.

“Our housing and climate change teams will work together with colleagues at the Hub to ensure all those who are eligible know about the scheme and are given the opportunity to benefit.”

For owner occupiers, the work will be carried out for free. However, for rental properties (whether private or social), the landlord will be expected to pay at least one third of the cost towards the work.

For more information on the funding visit the GSEEH website.

Anyone worried about their energy bills can access free advice and information via the Big Energy Saving campaign being run jointly by Citizen's Advice and the Energy Saving Trust. It includes ideas on how to save energy at home and advice on what to do if your energy supplier goes bust.

An image of a builder installing external wall insulation.