To receive a report from the Public Health and Professional Services Manager providing an update on the fuel poverty strategy and initiatives for residents in Mid Devon.
The group had before it, and NOTED, a briefing paper * from the Public Health and Professional Services Manager providing an update on the Fuel Poverty Strategy and initiatives for residents in Mid Devon.
The contents of the report were outlined with reference to the following:
· Mid Devon had a higher than average number of people living in fuel poverty who were unable to keep their homes warm at a reasonable cost. It was felt that this was systematic of the fact that Mid Devon was a rural area and had a mild temperate climate. There was a preference for open fires, fresh air and there was a low turnover of properties meaning less home upgrades.
· The Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA) required local authorities to produce a plan to achieve improved home energy efficiency.
· Common health conditions caused by fuel poverty included a wide range of both physical and mental health impacts. Fuel poverty was also socially excluding as often people were less mobile because they were trying to keep themselves warm and less likely to invite people into their home.
· The Council together with the County Council and all other non-unitary councils worked in partnership with the Cosy Devon (E-On) who were part of the Government backed ECO scheme. If a resident was on income related benefits they could also be eligible for free loft insulation, free cavity wall insulation or a replacement boiler.
· There was also a local energy advice programme which could help with such issues as draft proofing or radiator foils. There was also the option of a low cost Wessex loan.
· Implementation of the energy switching scheme was now well advanced and under final contract review.
Note: * Briefing paper previously circulated; copy attached to the signed minutes.