Agenda item - Sustainable Warmth Funding

Agenda item

Sustainable Warmth Funding

This report is due to be pre-scrutinised at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board scheduled to take place on Tuesday 15th February 2022.  Any recommendations on this subject arising from this meeting will be reported for Cabinet’s consideration in a supplementary pack.

 

The Background Papers for this item have been published in a separate Background Papers Pack for this meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

The Head of Community and Housing Services presented a report on the subject of Sustainable Warmth Funding.  Cabinet was informed that the Council was due to receive £429,000 for a sustainable heating grant, which was designed to help fund actions that could be taken to improve the energy efficiency of properties in the district with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating D – G. 

 

The Head of Community and Housing Services drew Members’ attention to the 2 components to this funding, as detailed on page 24 of the main agenda report:-

 

·                Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) Phase 1 – these grants were intended for properties that were not connected to the mains gas system.

·                Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Phase 3 – these grants were intended for properties that were connected to the mains gas system.

 

Cabinet was advised that there had been a typographical error (on page 25 of the main agenda report), the maximum average grant per property was £10,000 for LAD3 and £25,000 (not £15,000 as shown) for HUG. 

 

There were a range of measures that could be funded, including cavity wall insulation, roof insulation and air source heat pumps.   

 

The Council was working with Worcestershire County Council and Act On Energy in respect of the administration of the funds and promotion of the funding to eligible residents.

 

After the report had been presented Members discussed the following points in detail:

 

·                The deadlines for expenditure of the grant funding and the extent to which the Council was likely to be able to ensure that all funding was spent by those deadlines.  Officers clarified that the HUG Phase 1 and LAD Phase 3 funding needed to be spent by 31st March 2023 whilst the deadline for expenditure of the previous LAD Phase 2 had been extended to 31st July 2022.  Members were advised that Officers were anticipating that these deadlines would be met.

 

·                The potential for park home owners to apply for the HUG Phase 1 and LAD Phase 3 funding, following a change in regulations which meant that they could not apply for LAD Phase 2 funding.  Members were informed that park homes were not eligible for HUG Phase 1 or LAD Phase 3 funding, but officers were monitoring any future funding opportunities that might become available for park home owners.

 

Cabinet was further advised that action would be taken to promote the funding to eligible members of the public, and that the Council was aiming to target low income households.  A targeted approach to communications was considered preferable in order to ensure that the Council was not inundated with requests and that the funding was provided to those most in need. Support would be made available locally to help eligible households apply for the funding.  Officers explained that Act On energy would be providing this type of support to eligible households and would also be able to help householders identify the most appropriate funding for them and if required would also support householders in obtaining an EPC rating.

 

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board, Councillor C. Hotham, commented that the report was widely welcomed at the Board meeting and Members were pleased to note that officers were using external support to monitor and ensure that the funding was spent.

 

The Head of Community and Housing Services highlighted that, as detailed in the preamble above, that the report was presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Board on 15th February 2022.  Board Members had raised a number of questions and officers had agreed to provide answers and further information to the Board.  The following information was provided to Board Members in response to the questions raised: -

 

Current Energy Rating

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

Grand Total

46

4054

5988

9392

3959

816

196

24451

 

 

Total number of

households

Unknown

proportion

38,800

14,349

 

“There was little difference in the LADS 1, 2 and 3 programmes. The eligibility criteria was the same it was just the next tranche of funding but this latest  Sustainable Warmth competition included the Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) for off gas properties”.

 

“Air Source heat pumps cost around £6k - £8k to install so should be affordable within the scheme. Average max cost is £10,000 for LAD3 and £10,000 for EPC D up to £25,000 for EPC G for HUG”.

 

“We will work with Act on Energy who had been procured as the customer journey provider to assist in targeting applicants. A communication plan was being developed with the Midlands Energy Hub to have targeted communication but would also utilise traditional methods such as social media and EPC data, Communications would also go out through partners such as County to those residents that received free school meals etc”.

 

The Leader took the opportunity to express sincere thanks to officers for a comprehensive report. 

 

RECOMMENDED that

 

a)    the Capital and Revenue Budgets be increased to receive Bromsgrove District Council’s Sustainable Warmth scheme allocation of £429,000;

 

b)    and that delegated authority be granted to the Head of Community & Housing Services following consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing and Climate Change to administer the funding received in line with the grant conditions.

 

 

 

Supporting documents: