Over £1m funding secured to give people warm homes in Perth and Kinross

Perth & Kinross Council has secured over £1m from a national fund to help tackle fuel poverty in local homes.

The funding will form part of a total investment of over £2m to replace old central heating systems and support people who live in remote local areas to heat their homes.

The Council submitted a bid for funding from the Warm Homes Fund in partnership with energy company SSE in February.

The £150m Warm Homes Fund (WHF) was launched by National Grid and Affordable Warmth Solutions in 2017. The fund is designed to support local authorities, and organisations working with them, to address fuel poverty.

The successful bid will see an investment of £1,092,051 by Perth & Kinross Council backed by a further £1,209,303 from the Warm Homes Fund, along with Energy Company Obligation funding of £138,550 from SSE.

Money from the Warm Homes Fund can be used to support the installation of affordable heating systems in fuel-poor households who do not use mains gas as their primary fuel.

In Perth and Kinross over 20% of households in both the private and rented sectors are estimated to be living in fuel poverty. Households in fuel poverty are unable to heat their homes sufficiently to stay warm and healthy. Many of these households face the additional burden of relying on heating systems that are expensive to run or inadequate for their needs.

The money will support the delivery of several locally based projects:

Extensions to the mains gas network and installing 352 (252 Council and 100 private) new gas heating systems in the North Muirton area of Perth.

Installing 63 (43 Council and 20 Private) air source heat-pumps or LPG systems in rural areas of Perthshire which have no current access or any prospect of receiving mains gas.

Helping to identify and engage with people suffering from fuel poverty in Perth and Kinross so that we can deliver resources where it is most effective. This will include providing energy advice visits and debt advice to residents.

Work will now begin to deliver these projects by December 2019. The Council will also consider further opportunities to bid for more WHF funding which could enable the project to be extended.

Housing and Communities Convener, Councillor Peter Barrett, said: "The Council is already working to tackle fuel poverty in Perth and Kinross through a number of initiatives, and the news of this significant funding award, supported by major Council investment and money from SSE, will be a huge boost to our efforts.

"Everyone has the right to live in a warm home that is affordable to heat. This money will help us to target homes that are hard-to-heat or are situated in rural areas that the gas network doesn't reach. It will make a huge difference to lives of hundreds of our residents and I look forward to taking the work forward in partnership with SSE.

""Perth & Kinross Council has a very strong record of partnership with SSE. So much so that other local authorities are now keen to collaborate with us in submitting bids and developing warm homes programs. In this instance we developed a successful consortium bid with Moray Council. We will also be looking for every opportunity to increase the scope of local energy saving and fuel poverty actions if further government funding becomes available."

SSE Head of Energy Solutions, Neil Donald, added: "We are delighted that Perth & Kinross Council has been successful in the latest round of the Warm Home Funds programme. This grant, alongside match funding from the Council and SSE Energy Solutions, will help some of the most deserving fuel poor households in the region to improve their heating systems and energy efficiency of their homes. Having worked with Perth & Kinross Council on a number of fuel poverty programmes in recent years, I can say with confidence that this yet another shining example of how collaborative working between local authorities and industry can produce long-term, sustainable benefits for the customers that need it most."