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Friday 1 February 2013

Cheshire East successful in ‘fuel poverty’ bid



Shocking statistics show hundreds of vulnerable people die during the winter cold snap simply because they can’t afford to heat their homes properly.

It is estimated that around 28,000 are in ‘fuel poverty’, leading to around 220 deaths each year across Cheshire East.

But now Cheshire East Council has successfully bid for around £450,000 from the Government to tackle the problem.

Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member in charge of prosperity and economic regeneration, said:  “It is estimated that cold and damp private sector housing costs local health services in excess of £1.6m per year.

“Cold and damp homes have a hugely negative impact on people’s health and, in its most extreme form, contribute to winter deaths.

“It is appalling that in this day and age, vulnerable people are dying because they simply cannot afford to heat their homes.

“The funding will go a long, long way towards helping improve the life chances of these victims.”

The Department for Energy and Climate Change made £40m available to local authorities from three specific funds:

A £25m Fuel Poverty Fund, with the aim of supporting improvements to the thermal efficiency of homes among low income and vulnerable households.

A £10m ‘Green Deal Pioneer Fund’ to help kick-start local Green Deals to help save carbon emissions.

A £5m Cheaper Energy Together Fund to support collective switching schemes.

Cheshire East Council successfully bid for £181,400 from the Fuel Poverty Fund. The bid promised to provide insulation and heating measures to low income and vulnerable households.

A total of £197,500 was bid for from the Green Deal Pioneer Fund. This will create a portfolio of householders who are ready to enter into Green Deal plans, with a focus on urban Macclesfield.

A total of £71,000 was bid from the Cheaper Energy Together Fund and will help deliver a collective switching scheme for low income and vulnerable households to help drive down household energy costs.

The funds will be distributed as follows:

  • Warm Zone is a not-for-profit community interest company who also work in Cheshire West & Chester, Stoke and Newcastle. They received a grant of £155,000 to help vulnerable people in Cheshire East to make their homes warm and reduce fuel poverty.
  • Macc2020 is a community group committed to limiting the effects of climate change in Macclesfield and they received a grant of £155,000 to generate interest in the Green Deal, the Government’s flagship home energy improvements programme launched today.
  • Cheshire Community Action is a registered charity and has been given a grant of £6,800 to tackle rural fuel poverty.
  • Energy Projects Plus is an environmental charity working across Cheshire and Merseyside. They received a grant of £23,650 to provide energy efficiency advice, and support vulnerable households to take part in collective switching to help people lower their energy bills.
  • Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service received a grant of £8,450 to their ‘Home Safety’ team to identify households in fuel poverty and support vulnerable households to take part in collective switching to help people lower their energy bills.

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