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Gloucestershire Business News

Park homes to receive £1m winter energy efficiency boost

One hundred and fifty of the region's coldest homes will receive improved insulation and heating through the government Green Home Grant scheme, funded by the Secretary of State.

As people across the county shelter or recover from the effects of Covid-19 this winter, it will be more important than ever to live in a warm, healthy home. With this in mind, the county's six district councils in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council have secured £1 million from the government scheme to improve the homes of 150 households living in hard-to-heat properties this winter.

Some of the hardest residential properties to keep warm are park homes. Often without insulation and located in areas beyond the gas network, heating these properties is expensive and inefficient. NHS data shows that park home residents are more likely to have long-term health conditions than those living in other property types.

£748,000 from the Green Home Grant's Local Authority Delivery scheme will cover the cost of fitting external wall, loft or floor insulation to the park home properties of 100 low-income households across the region. A further £250,000 will be combined with existing grant funding from the Warm Homes Fund to convert the least efficient off-gas rural properties from space heating or solid fuel heating systems to central heating, using air source heat pumps.

It is estimated that the health benefits to these households will save the NHS £140,000 per year.

Mary Morgan, housing, health and care programme director at NHS Gloucestershire, said: "This is great news for the region. Our data shows people in park homes often have poorer health outcomes in comparison to the rest of the population. These are linked to cold and damp conditions due to inadequate insulation and/ or heating, so the improvements will make a huge difference to people's lives, similarly those people in rural areas in cold homes."

It is also good news for the region's net zero carbon targets. Inefficient housing stock is one of the biggest challenges to achieving low carbon living - and these efficiency improvements are expected to save over 11,500 tonnes of CO2.

The region's home energy advice service, Warm and Well, will deliver the scheme on behalf of the local authorities.

Rob Hargraves, project lead, said: "The Local Authority Delivery scheme included in the Green Homes Grant makes it possible to ensure that funding reaches those living in properties that need it most. Park homes and rural properties frequently fall outside other funding schemes, so helping them to improve their energy efficiency is fantastic news for our NHS, our most vulnerable residents and the environment."

Work has already and is expected to be completed by the end of March 2021, by which point 150 Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire homes will be warmer, healthier and more energy efficient.

Photo credit: Des Blenkinsopp

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