Householders looking forward to a warmer Christmas indoors thanks to investment into tackling fuel poverty

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A total of 179 homes in Bradford and Barnsley have been helped out of fuel poverty in time for Christmas thanks to almost £1.475m of investment into energy efficiency measures from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and local match funding.

Homes across the two boroughs – 138 in Bradford and 41 in Barnsley – have benefitted from a range of energy efficiency measures including cavity wall, external wall and loft insulation that will save householders a combined £2.1m in heating bills over the next 40 years.

The works carried out are part of the Combined Authority’s £6m push to tackle fuel poverty across the Leeds City Region. Homes supported in this latest round of works had previously been difficult or impossible to insulate leaving householders with higher than average energy bills, particularly difficult during the winter months.

Leeds City Region has a higher than average number of fuel poor homes with affected householders often living in cold and damp conditions and increasingly vulnerable to poor health.

The insulation programme has been coordinated by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Better Homes Yorkshire team, the only council-backed home energy efficiency and heating provider in the Leeds City Region. Spending will across the City Region will eventually help almost 1,200 fuel poor households in Leeds, Selby, Harrogate, York, Craven, Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield, as well as Barnsley and Bradford.

Racheal Lorenza, a resident from Cemetery Road, in Barnsley, was one householder to benefit from new insulation through the scheme. She said it was helping improve her physical and mental health as well as her home:

“A typical day [before the insulation was fitted] would be where I’d get home from work and I would have to put my coat on. When I was walking in the kitchen before there was always an ice-cold breeze. I’d thought about having [the works carried out] before but it was finances that stopped me from doing it.

“When it’s really cold [inside your home] you feel quite demotivated and it’s quite depressing. But since having the insulation, it’s definitely made me feel a lot more homely and comfortable.

“I am warmer, I’m comfortable, and I’m not suffering with my asthma as much as I was as well.”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said:

“Investing in tackling fuel poverty is a positive example of how councils and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority are delivering inclusive growth to communities that need it most this winter and beyond.

“We want everyone to benefit from the positive changes being made to jobs, skills and the economy and by helping to keep houses warmer – and heating bills lower – more residents of the City Region will be able to enjoy better health and improved finances this winter.”

Cllr Roy Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place at Barnsley Council, said:

“Through obtaining this funding we have been given the opportunity to make a real difference to local people’s lives in Barnsley.

“The improvements on Cemetery Road [in Barnsley] will raise energy efficiency levels and keep homes warmer. One home owner has already reported savings on their gas bills of up to £80 a month, whilst another has seen their asthma symptoms reduce.

“The work has not only enabled residents to save money but also improve their health and enable them to enjoy spending time in their homes over the cold winter months.”

Keepmoat Regeneration, part of ENGIE Group, based in Doncaster, and Fortem, from Rotherham, are private sector partners, which are delivering the Better Homes Yorkshire scheme.

Steve Batty, Head of Sustainability at Keepmoat Regeneration, said:

“Through the Better Homes Yorkshire Framework, we have been given the opportunity to carry out improvement work to the homes of those who need it most. We hope that the works carried out across Barnsley and Bradford will have a real positive impact on the lives of residents by creating warmer and healthier homes, as well as reducing their fuel costs.”

Better Homes Yorkshire was launched by the Combined Authority in March 2015 with the first homes approved for support within the Tackling Fuel Poverty programme in June 2016.

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