Warm Homes Scheme tackles fuel poverty

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A number of homes in the Limavady area have been identified as being eligible for for loft insulation and or a boiler service under a Warm Homes Scheme.

The move to tackle fuel poverty in the borough is part of efforts by the Department for Social Development (DSD) with initiatives including the scheme, winter fuel payments and heating replacement schemes. More recent schemes include a pilot boiler replacement scheme, fuel allowance payment and pay as you go for oil.

As part of its new 2011 Fuel Poverty Strategy the DSD decided to look at the four key areas - targeting resources, improving energy efficiency, achieving 
affordable warmth and building stronger partnerships. They have adopted a pilot project under the banner of Affordable Warmth with the aim of increasing energy efficiency awareness and implementing heating and insulation measures in owner occupied homes.

Limavady is one of 19 councils participating in the pilot project. The geographic areas were identified using research work carried out by the University of Ulster, which used multiple indicators of fuel poverty.

In Limavady the Environmental Health Department’s two volunteers started the doorstep survey of home owners and private renters in specific areas of need on 1O ctober and completed the target of 125 properties by 12 December.

“The completed survey forms were sent to the University of Ulster which analysed the information. On receipt of final analysis report the Department referred 74 of those surveyed to the Warm Homes scheme and the remainder will be eligible for loft insulation and/or a boiler service. Some of those have also been forwarded to Social Security for a benefits check which may in turn make them eligible for the Warm Homes Scheme,” a Council spokesperson said this week.

“The 48 properties eligible for a boiler service have been notified in writing of the procedure for claiming up to a maximum of £50 as a contribution to the cost of the boiler service. Once the boiler has been serviced the claim form must be forwarded to NIHE for processing. Information on the Boiler Replacement scheme has been enclosed with the letter.

“Twenty one homes may be eligible for loft insulation/top-up insulation up to a maximum value of £1500 payable by DSD. These properties will require a technical survey of their roof space to determine what will be required and this will be carried out by Council’s Building Control Officers.”

Council says the pilot project has not been without its “teething problems, but ultimately has resulted in an excellent example of partnership working between DSD and local councils, and has demonstrated a commitment on the part of Limavady Borough Council in helping to tackle fuel poverty in its area”.

Volunteers Esther Toner and Emma Toner (Student EHO) conducted the survey.