A project which has brought warmer homes and lower energy bills to hundreds of households in Stockton Borough could continue despite the vast majority of similar schemes elsewhere in the country ceasing.
Tomorrow (17 July) Stockton Council’s Cabinet will be asked to agree the re-allocation of funding to support the on-going delivery of the GoWarm scheme.
In 2007 a partnership was established with Community Energy Solutions (CES) to deliver measures such as Cavity Wall and Loft insulation as well as new boilers. In 2012 this partnership was successful in delivering External Wall Insulation and new heating systems to more than 1800 households through the community Energy Savings Programe (CESP) and in 2013 CESP was replaced by the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).
In the 15 months to December 2012, Stockton CESP schemes delivered 280,000 tonnes of carbon savings, created 500 jobs and attracted £12m of private sector investment.
However, recent changes to Government policy around ECO and the Green Deal have led to the programme slowing down across the country. Consequently Stockton Council’s Cabinet is being asked to agree the following recommendations to complete the scheme in Parkfield & Oxbridge, Newtown and Mandale & Victoria:
- Using the remaining £330,000 originally allocated to fund additional measures to support the programme to complete the project.
- Using £250,000 of Public Health resource.
- Providing a recommendation to full Council for the release of £390,000 resources from Council’s balances.
Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, Councillor Jim Beall, said: “GoWarm is making it easier for people to effectively heat their homes in the winter which is really important as we know that cold homes can lead to serious health conditions and premature deaths. That's why we are proposing to make a significant commitment from public health funds to continue this excellent programme."
Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor David Rose, added: "The GoWarm partnership is unique in England because we are bringing warmer homes, free of charge, to so many privately-owned houses, including many in the most deprived parts of our Borough. We are already seeing the huge benefits it is bringing to households which have undergone energy saving measures. Energy bills are reducing and by taking people out of fuel poverty they have more money to spend on essentials like clothing and food. In addition to all of this the scheme is helping to regenerate streets which is improving the look and feel of our Borough while also reducing our carbon footprint.
“It is disappointing that recent changes to Government policy have caused such difficulties in delivering the scheme, which helps so many, but we are determined to find a solution to try and serve people in these difficult times.
"We will continue to work towards deliverable long-term solutions whatever the national policy position to try and continue this excellent work in some way for as many residents as possible."