Low Income Households to Benefit From More Energy Efficient Homes

THE Council’s drive towards creating a net-zero carbon Reading by 2030 has been boosted by a successful £555,000 funding bid to improve the energy efficiency of 85 low income homes in the town.

Following a successful bid, Reading Borough Council has been awarded the money by Government’s Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme to help tackle fuel poverty in the town and further reduce the town’s carbon footprint.

The Council has already slashed its own footprint by 62.5% since 2008/9. Reading Borough also boasts the 4th best cut in carbon emissions in UK (2018 BEIS data excluding motorways and trains) since 2005, at 47%.

This new funding stream will now help the Council build on that success by targeting low income tenants who suffer from fuel poverty in some of the deprived parts of Reading, who will benefit from warmer homes and help to reduce bills.

The Council’s ‘green homes’ project involves:

  • Norcot: Targeting ‘fuel poor’ tenants who live in  ‘hard to insulate’ 1920’s built homes, the project will see the external insulation of 10 Council homes and 20 privately owned homes, initially on a trial basis by the end of March 2021.  It is then intended to expand to greater number of low income households as part of a second phase of the project in 2021-22, subject to further funding
  • Granville Road: Replacing high carbon gas and electrical heating with air source heat pumps (ASHP) by March 2021, starting with 40 this year, and benefitting 200 separate dwellings overall subject to further funding.
  • Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s): A new ‘match funding’ scheme for HMO landlords to bring their properties up to agreed energy efficient levels (EPC C or above), starting with three properties this year (20-21) and more to follow next year.
  • Winter Watch: Expanding the Council’s established ‘Winter Watch’ scheme to include 12 additional owner occupied homes this year, increasing to even more in 21-22. The scheme currently offers support to low income households with home energy checks, draught proofing, access to grants for insulation, provision of emergency heaters and emergency energy payments.

John Ennis, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“This is tremendous news for hundreds of low income families and individuals who currently live in fuel poverty and in poorly insulated homes.

“In Norcot we will trial external insulation on Council homes which are now 100 years old and therefore difficult to insulate. On Granville Road  40 separate homes will have gas and storage heaters replaced this year with air source heat pumps, which are already in operation elsewhere in Reading.

“The work will mean warmer homes and help to reduce energy bills for Reading residents. It also sits alongside a new match funding scheme for HMO landlords and the expansion of the Council’s successful Winter Watch scheme for homeowners, which means this is a Council scheme to benefit residents across the range of tenures in Reading.”

Tony Page, Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, added:

“This is yet another example of the Council successfully bidding for external funding to directly benefits its residents.

“This Council is already leading by example by cutting our own carbon footprint by 62% in just 12 years. As a town, Reading also boasts the 4th best cut in carbon emissions in the UK since 2005, at 47%. The new funding will help insulate many homes and make them more energy efficient, which will further reduce both our own and the town’s carbon footprint.

“The Council is making huge strides towards its net-zero carbon target in less than 10 years’ time and the project will play an important part in helping us to achieve our ambition.”

Oscar Mortali

For media enquiries about this release email oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2301