HUNDREDS of North-East jobs are being created by a pioneering energy efficiency scheme.
The £200m scheme, launched today by British Gas and nine North-East councils will create 75 call centre jobs in Newcastle, as well as support up to 500 further contractors jobs across the local supply chain.
The 75 strong Warm Up North team will tackle fuel poverty, and will help to lower energy bills and make keeping warm more affordable for thousands of North-East homes and businesses.
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Local small to medium-sized companies will be identified as contractors to complete the installation work, organisers of the scheme said.
Eligible householders could benefit from free measures that could be installed in their homes making them more efficient and reducing their energy consumption. Measures could include hard to treat cavity wall, solid wall and loft insulation, new A-rated boilers, and boiler repairs.
The North East is the first region in the country to benefit from a scheme of this scale, as Warm Up North is the largest and most advanced regional response to the Government’s Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO).
The ground-breaking initiative will cover private and rented homes, and social housing as well as extending to publicly owned buildings, including offices, health and educational properties.
The Warm Up North partnership comprises of nine local authorities: Darlington, Durham, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Newcastle, Northumberland, Redcar and Cleveland, South Tyneside and Sunderland and is supported by the Association of North East Councils (ANEC).
Jon Kershaw, head of Warm Up North, said: “Warm Up North will make a difference to up to 50,000 homes over the coming years. With the winter months approaching, now is the time to contact us free* on 0800 294 8073 to see how we can help. Warm Up North will provide advice and home improvements to those most in need.
“We are committed to helping those most in need across the North East heat their homes for less; a lot of people who are struggling to heat their homes may not even realise the difference that making small changes can make, for example, just insulating a loft could save up to £145 a year on heating bills.”
“We are also helping to create high quality new jobs throughout the region providing apprenticeships, training and skills opportunities, focusing especially on helping long-term unemployed and young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs).
“As we will be using local companies to undertake work on the ground, we are helping to set the foundations for further stimulus in the North-East economy, providing work opportunities for local tradesmen.
“We’re very much looking forward to working with our nine partner local authorities to tackle fuel poverty, help reduce energy bills and make heating more affordable for homes and businesses operating in the area.”
Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic regeneration at Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted to be part of this ground-breaking regional partnership which will not only benefit thousands of householders but will also bring significant investment and jobs to the North-East.
“The Warm Up North scheme will help families by making their homes warmer and cheaper to heat and it will reduce fuel poverty and the impact this can have on people’s health.
“Through the scheme householders on lower incomes and those in hard to treat properties, such as those without wall cavities, will receive help to make their homes more energy efficient.
“In County Durham we have already seen how this kind of scheme can benefit residents following successful projects in Craghead and Easington Colliery to improve homes through measures such as the installation of external solid wall insulation and energy efficient heating.”
To find out more about how Warm Up North could help make your home more energy efficient call the team on free* phone 0800 294 8073 or visit www.warmupnorth.com
Local businesses who are interested in finding out more about the opportunities available working for British Gas on the Warm Up North scheme can attend a meet the buyer event being held locally. To find out more visit www.warmupnorth.com.