Nearly £18 million will be invested in Aberdeenshire to help reduce fuel poverty for people living in private and council properties.
Investment in external wall insulation and loft insulation will help lower fuel costs for Aberdeenshire residents in both private and council properties. The energy efficiency measures, which could make improvements to more than 2,300 properties, were considered by members of the Policy and Resources Committee last Thursday, 14 November 2013.
Members heard that the council has been awarded £4.4 million from the Scottish Government towards improving energy efficiency in private sector housing across Aberdeenshire.
The funding from the Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland: Area Based Schemes (HEEPS:ABS), will be primarily dedicated to external wall insulation projects in areas most at risk of fuel poverty.
Through the HEEBS:ABS scheme, council officers are also working to access Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding which is available for energy efficiency measures in both private sector and council properties.
That funding will be used to address energy issues in the most challenging council-owned properties. This could apply to mixed tenure flatted properties, where units have been sold to private owners under the “right to buy” scheme, which may previously not have been able to access council upgrades.
Councillors heard that a total of £17.9 million is expected to be spent on improving energy efficiency, funded by HEEPS:ABS, ECO and the council.
Meeting the Scottish Government target of eradicating fuel poverty, as far as reasonably practical, by 2016 is a key priority for the council under its Fuel Poverty Strategic Outcome Statement & Action Plan.
This is being done in a number of ways, including improving energy efficiency in housing, maximising household income and reducing fuel costs for residents across Aberdeenshire.
Speaking after the meeting, committee chair, Councillor Jim Gifford, said
Fuel poverty is a serious issue for some of the most vulnerable people across Scotland and something we want to eradicate in Aberdeenshire. Helping to improve the efficiency of people’s homes and lower the costs of their bills is a big priority for the council and I am pleased to see that we are accessing a variety of funding options to make this possible.
Committee vice-chair, Councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes, said
This is a positive step forward towards meeting Scottish Government targets of eradicating fuel poverty within the next few years. This funding will help us to target a wide range of Aberdeenshire residents, in both private and council properties, including some who may not have been able to benefit from previous funding schemes.