Tackling Nottingham’s cold homes and high energy bills

A new fuel poverty strategy is being launched today by the City Council to improve the lives of people living in Nottingham. It brings together work across the city to create affordable warmth and healthy housing for all.

Nottingham City Council and partners have developed the strategy with the aim to reduce energy bills, improve energy efficiency and maximise household income so that there will be an increase in comfort and well-being in the coldest and most vulnerable homes. The document has contributions and feedback from the public, and partners such as Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham Energy Partnership, Advice Nottingham and Age Concern.

Fuel poverty occurs when households cannot afford to keep adequately warm because the costs of heating their home are higher than average and paying for those costs leave them below the poverty line. This affects the lives of more than 18,000 Nottingham households and is one of the top five priorities for Nottingham City Council. Work across the city, including the city council’s Greener HousiNG programme, has reduced the fuel poverty rate from 22% in 2011 to just over 15% but there is still much more work to be done. Fuel poverty affects not just finances, but can lead to many health and wellbeing issues for residents, including hospital admissions and winter deaths.

Much of this reduction has been due to the large cross-city energy efficiency scheme – Greener HousiNG – that the City Council has delivered with Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham Energy Partnership. To fund these schemes, Nottingham City Council secured one of the highest shares of Government funding of all UK councils. Over 7,000 hard-to-heat private and social houses have had external wall insulation in the city, as well as fitting solar panels to provide free electricity to 4,000 NCH tenants. Robin Hood Energy, a not-for-profit company, was also set up by the City Council in 2015 to help tackle fuel poverty.

The strategy’s new vision sets out the ambitions for the city, with a whole-house and citizen focussed approach that will tackle the issue more effectively. It embraces the challenge of empowering citizens and partners, as well as the Council, to tackle the challenge in a sustainable approach to give the city the best chance of success.

The strategy is being launched at a national fuel poverty conference, taking place in Nottingham this week. The conference is organised by leading fuel-poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA). It will have a range of expert speakers, including senior representatives from Government, national charities, leading academics and practitioners. This major event, with over 300 professionals expected to attend, will explore key issues and help those working in the area share knowledge to better tackle fuel-poverty around the country.

Councillor Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, said: “Nottingham City Council is determined to create a city that is fair for everyone and where we all have an equal and positive chance to succeed. Tackling fuel poverty will be a key step towards achieving this. We’re really pleased to be launching our strategy at this event and that National Energy Action has once again chosen Nottingham as a location for its prestigious conference.”

“Whilst Nottingham has taken some great steps in recent years, with its District Heating Network, Robin Hood Energy and innovative retrofit work, we want to ensure we continue to tackle the challenge in a sustainable way. We have a bold vision to build on our successes, to embrace new technology and innovations to ensure we do all we can to tackle this important issue.”

“Robin Hood Energy has consistently protected prices for pre-payment customers – those most likely to experience fuel poverty. Soon the City Council owned company will also be launching a discount on all new credit tariffs exclusively to people with a Nottingham City Council postcode. This means Nottingham City prepayment and credit customers will get money off their bills with Robin Hood Energy.”

To celebrate the launch of the strategy there will be an energy bill advice event at Trinity Square for Nottingham citizens on Monday 17th September between 10:30am and 3:30 pm. The event will centre around a Fantastic Homes vehicle from Marches Energy and their specialist staff to advise citizens about making their home energy efficient and getting the best energy deal. Cllr Longford will be joining the event in the afternoon to sign the City Council’s pledge to tackle this issue.

More information on the strategy and the council’s work to tackle fuel poverty can be found here www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/warmhomes

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