The Highland Council has been successful in attracting a further tranche of grant aid from the Scottish Government for a Universal Home Insulation Scheme aimed at helping private householders to reduce their fuel bills and their carbon footprint.
The Council has been allocated £385,000 to be spent in the current financial year on loft and cavity wall insulation. More details will be released in the coming weeks but it will target the wards of North, West and Central Sutherland and Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh. These two wards currently experience high levels of fuel poverty and have not been targeted by insulation schemes before.
Over the coming weeks, the Council will be writing to householders to make them aware of the scheme and will also be tendering for a contractor to deliver the home insulation contract.
Over the past year, the Council has attracted £669,000 from the Universal Home Insulation Scheme to award grants to private householders in Skye, Badenoch and Strathspey and East Sutherland and Edderton.
Of the 16,766 households who were contacted, 1,617 households benefited from at least one insulation measure being carried out to their home.
The scheme offers free surveys and free installation to private households identified as needing cavity wall and loft insulation. Householders are also be offered a free home energy audit and free impartial advice to help reduce fuel bills through the Scottish Government’s Energy Assistance Package.
Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Housing and Social Work Committee, said: “Our performance in delivering the first tranche of energy efficiency grants was very good indeed and this has helped attract this very welcome further support from the Scottish Government This will help reduce fuel poverty in our area and reduce our carbon footprint.
“It is our hope that the Scottish Government will extend the Universal Home Insulation Scheme in future years to allow the Council to target all wards in Highland and allow all homeowners the opportunity to apply for the free measures available under the scheme.”
Even if people do not live in areas currently covered by this scheme help is still available. Anyone who wants advice on improving the energy efficiency in their home should contact Energy Saving Scotland Advice Centre (Highlands and Islands) – freephone 0800 512012 or visit www.energysavingtrust.co.uk
The Council is also spending £10million on energy efficiency measures in Council houses as part of its target to achieve the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015.