A new £2.9m programme is set to help more than 700 households across Leeds City Region lower their fuel bills and keep their homes warm, following approval from West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Part-funded by National Grid, the Leeds City Region Warm Homes programme will install gas-fired central heating systems and gas connections in eligible privately-owned and privately-rented homes in Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York as well as eligible social housing properties in Leeds.
The scheme is being funded through National Grid’s £150m Warm Homes Fund (£1.6m) alongside local authorities, EON, Northern Gas Networks, Housing Leeds and private landlords. It was approved to progress at the Combined Authority’s Board meeting on Thursday 14 December.
Leeds City Region residents who own or privately rent their home and wish to find out if they are eligible for support should call Better Homes Yorkshire – the only council-backed home energy efficiency and heating provider in the Leeds City Region – on 0800 597 1500. Applicable residents must not have a central heating system already installed and struggle to heat their home.
If approved, householders will be offered new heating systems on a first-come, first-served basis. Qualifying owner occupiers will receive the system at no cost, while landlords with qualifying tenants will be offered heavily discounted systems.
Eligible residents in Housing Leeds homes will be contacted directly by Housing Leeds.
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “By progressing the Warm Homes programme in partnership with National Grid, the Combined Authority is showcasing its commitment to inclusive growth and helping more people across Leeds City Region benefit from our work.
“We know that residents who live in fuel poor homes are more vulnerable to ill health and less likely to take part in training and employment opportunities. Thanks to the funding approved, we can tackle this head on and support even more people in the City Region.”
Studies show that more than 140,000 homes across Leeds City Region (10.8%) are classed as being fuel poor. This is higher than the national average of 10.4%.
Many of these homes do not use gas mains to heat their homes and improving heating methods is a key part of the Leeds City Region Warm Homes Programme.
Keepmoat Regeneration, part of the ENGIE Group, and Housing Leeds will carry out the works, which is expected to be completed by April 2019.
Steve Batty, Framework Director for Better Homes Yorkshire, said: “We’re excited about this new funding from National Grid, which will tackle fuel poverty by providing gas-fired central heating systems across the UK. Over the last three years, Better Homes Yorkshire has delivered over 3,000 energy efficiency works to residents homes across the region, and this funding will give us further opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and sustainability, said: “This initiative will make a huge difference to people living across the Leeds City Region, giving them some extra support in heating their homes more efficiently. I really welcome this project as it will have a tangible impact on our ongoing efforts to tackle fuel poverty.
“We have heard recently that Leeds has the largest number of people switching energy providers in the country, proving that reducing energy bills is a real priority for residents. New programmes such as this that provide further help for people to do so are of huge benefit.”
National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund is being administered by Affordable Warmth Solutions CIC and is funding other similar schemes to tackle fuel poverty across England, Scotland and Wales.
Jeremy Nesbitt, Managing Director of Affordable Warmth Solutions, said: “We are excited about this investment from National Grid. Solving the issues associated with Fuel Poverty continues to challenge many of our stakeholders and the feedback we’ve already received provides evidence of how the Warm Homes Fund will make a positive difference to thousands of homes throughout the country.”
In addition to the Warm Homes Programme, around 1,200 households across the Leeds City Region are being supported out of fuel poverty thanks to investment into energy efficiency measures through the Better Homes Yorkshire scheme. A total of £6m has already been committed to improving heating in hard-to-insulate homes in Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, York and Wakefield.
Better Homes Yorkshire also provides high quality and affordable gas boilers and central heating systems for all residents, regardless of financial status, across the Leeds City Region. Market-leading boilers come with up to 10-year warranties and could save households up to £350 a year.