New team aims to double number of retrofitted homes on peninsula after funding approved

By Derek Davis

4th Oct 2022 | Local News

Energy retrofit homes increase plan
Energy retrofit homes increase plan

A new team dedicated to retrofitting in Suffolk will work to double the number of homes made more energy efficient in its first year.

The Suffolk's Public Sector Leaders Group approved the creation of a £1.27 million Fuel Poverty Retrofit Delivery Team today, with the aim to increase the number of retrofitted homes to 500 in its first year and 750 in its second year.

The current rate is 250 a year.

The move comes after it emerged 38% of Babergh homes, including some on the the Shotley peninsula, have an energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings of C or above while the level across England was 42 per cent..

Green Party councillor Andrew Stringer, leader of the Green, Liberal Democrat and Indepenent group of councillors at Suffolk County Council, said: "We are glad there is at last a move to work across the county to deliver a retrofit programme.

"It is a shame it has taken a massive energy price shock to focus attention on this, which highlights the shortfall of skills and government funding to make sure our houses are fit for the future – to not only insulate us from extremes in weather but also inevitable further future price shocks.

"Now Suffolk is working together, we need the government to help fund this further by introducing windfall taxes on the unplanned profits of energy producers.

"At the current rate of us retrofitting homes, it will take over 250 years to lift everyone out of fuel poverty."

Retrofitting through this scheme will be free for households with a total income of less than £30,000, and targeted at those houses with energy performance certificate of D, E F or G. See Warm Homes Suffolk for more details: https://www.warmhomessuffolk.org.

Suffolk County Councilorl, Andy Drummond, said: "This will not only address the climate crisis, but also the cost-of-living crisis.

"The challenge across Suffolk is acute, as a higher proportion of households have lower energy efficiency ratings here than the national average."

The agreed funding includes £366,000 of direct funding and £390,000 earmarked for three years of work by the new team – paid for mainly through Suffolk County Council's Public Health Directorate.

It is expected the new team will save householders a combined figure of just under £4.8 million after three years.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), between April 2020 and 2021, the proportion of dwellings with energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings of C or above were around 44 per cent in Ipswich, 42 per cent in West Suffolk, 41 per cent in Mid Suffolk, 38 per cent in East Suffolk and 38 per cent in Babergh. The level across England was 42 per cent.

As well as organising the retrofitting of homes, the team would be responsible for identifying vulnerable households to target, enforcing minimum energy efficiency standards for landlords, creating a loan fund for those just above financial eligibility for retrofitting, and bidding for funding.

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