Plans to insulate 50,000 draughty North-East homes hanging by a thread

The Northern Echo: Ed Davey Ed Davey

AMBITIOUS plans to insulate 50,000 draughty North-East homes - and cut household energy bills - are hanging by a thread after a Government U-turn.

Council chiefs are poised to dramatically downgrade the £200m project after funding was slashed in what has been dubbed a "dirty deal with the energy companies".

Energy efficiency improvements, including replacement boilers, loft and wall insulation, double glazing and under floor heating, were due to be installed in around 50,000 homes.

And the project also promised a jobs boom, creating and safeguarding up to 575 jobs with British Gas and its supply chain, including many apprenticeships.

The areas in line to benefit included:

  • Darlington - 1,500 homes
  • Gateshead - 3,450 homes
  • Newcastle - 2,000 homes
  • South Tyneside - 1,100 homes

But the 'Warm Up North' project has hit trouble because of David Cameron's controversial decision, last December, to remove some so-called 'green levies' from energy bills.

Under fierce pressure after Labour's pledge to freeze bills, the prime minister was reported to have ordered aides to "get rid of all the green crap".

As a result, the energy company obligation (ECO), an insulation scheme delivered by major energy suppliers, was cut back, taking £30 to £35 off bills.

However, Labour has now uncovered 46 schemes around the country - including the one in the North-East - which will be scrapped or scaled back, as a result.

A spokesman for Warm Up North said: "The potential implications of changes to ECO are being reassessed by the regional partnership.

"A view on the future direction of the programme, and its delivery mechanism, is not likely to be confirmed until the full detail of changes to ECO are known and implemented."

The project started last September as part of the much-criticised 'Green Deal', allowing the cost to be repaid through the household's energy bills.

Embarrassingly for Energy Secretary Ed Davey, it was launched after he visited the region in 2012 - to urge it to get behind the Green Deal.

Across the UK, at least 54,000 homes will not now be insulated, according to freedom of information responses from 146 local authorities.

The cutbacks were condemned by Caroline Flint, Labour's energy spokeswoman, who said: "Thousands of households will be left in the cold because of the Government's dirty deal with the energy companies.

"The best way to cut people's energy bills is to invest in insulation and save the energy that escapes through our windows, walls and rooftops.

"But, instead of making the energy companies honour their obligations, David Cameron has let them off the hook."

But the department of energy and climate change (DECC) defended the changes to ECO, which will now run until 2017, instead of finishing next year.

A spokesman said: "Those changes will ensure that energy efficiency measures are more effectively targeted at homes which will benefit most."

Comments (9)

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2:31pm Sun 16 Mar 14

bones26 says...

this goverment has had more u turns than a factory that manufactures them
this goverment has had more u turns than a factory that manufactures them bones26
  • Score: 3

2:53pm Sun 16 Mar 14

David Lacey says...

Manufactures what?
Manufactures what? David Lacey
  • Score: 0

4:05pm Sun 16 Mar 14

loan_star says...

bones26 wrote:
this goverment has had more u turns than a factory that manufactures them
A bit like Labour and the u-turns over what the bankers bonus tax will pay for. Must have been around half a dozen different schemes this tax is meant to be paying for already!
[quote][p][bold]bones26[/bold] wrote: this goverment has had more u turns than a factory that manufactures them[/p][/quote]A bit like Labour and the u-turns over what the bankers bonus tax will pay for. Must have been around half a dozen different schemes this tax is meant to be paying for already! loan_star
  • Score: -2

4:07pm Sun 16 Mar 14

loan_star says...

Also, this "controversial decision to remove the green levy from energy bills".

On one hand they get criticised, usually by Merrick, for the high cost of energy, and yet when they do something to reduce the bills the same useless left wing hack still criticises them.

Typical left wing rubbish from Merrick yet again.,
Also, this "controversial decision to remove the green levy from energy bills". On one hand they get criticised, usually by Merrick, for the high cost of energy, and yet when they do something to reduce the bills the same useless left wing hack still criticises them. Typical left wing rubbish from Merrick yet again., loan_star
  • Score: -3

4:48pm Sun 16 Mar 14

David Lacey says...

He really is an embarrassment to the Echo and to the North East. He lives in London and writes the same column for other papers - in the impoverished north of course - where the thicko Labour bunch lap it up.
He really is an embarrassment to the Echo and to the North East. He lives in London and writes the same column for other papers - in the impoverished north of course - where the thicko Labour bunch lap it up. David Lacey
  • Score: -2

4:54pm Sun 16 Mar 14

stevegg says...

This is and always has been a scheme which only those retired or on benefits actually gain from. Millions of hard pressed workers have never been eligible under this scheme even though many earn less than the retired gold plated baby boomer generation who have the luxury of very generous final salary schemes and those on benefits who in a lot of cases get far more income than those on low wages thanks to over generous benefits. Another scheme which penalised those in work!
This is and always has been a scheme which only those retired or on benefits actually gain from. Millions of hard pressed workers have never been eligible under this scheme even though many earn less than the retired gold plated baby boomer generation who have the luxury of very generous final salary schemes and those on benefits who in a lot of cases get far more income than those on low wages thanks to over generous benefits. Another scheme which penalised those in work! stevegg
  • Score: 7

5:26pm Sun 16 Mar 14

Smig62 says...

stevegg wrote:
This is and always has been a scheme which only those retired or on benefits actually gain from. Millions of hard pressed workers have never been eligible under this scheme even though many earn less than the retired gold plated baby boomer generation who have the luxury of very generous final salary schemes and those on benefits who in a lot of cases get far more income than those on low wages thanks to over generous benefits. Another scheme which penalised those in work!
What a load of cobblers!
Where I live, there has been hundreds of house that have been externally clad. As it happens, most have been houses owned by private landlords so a "business" is actually benefitting from an improvement to their property.
It has absolutely nothing to do with whether you are retired or on benefits, these schemes are based on the actual build quality of the houses themselves not the financial status of those in them.

As for saying that those on benefits get more income than those working, I refer the honourable gentlemen to my first paragraph.
[quote][p][bold]stevegg[/bold] wrote: This is and always has been a scheme which only those retired or on benefits actually gain from. Millions of hard pressed workers have never been eligible under this scheme even though many earn less than the retired gold plated baby boomer generation who have the luxury of very generous final salary schemes and those on benefits who in a lot of cases get far more income than those on low wages thanks to over generous benefits. Another scheme which penalised those in work![/p][/quote]What a load of cobblers! Where I live, there has been hundreds of house that have been externally clad. As it happens, most have been houses owned by private landlords so a "business" is actually benefitting from an improvement to their property. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether you are retired or on benefits, these schemes are based on the actual build quality of the houses themselves not the financial status of those in them. As for saying that those on benefits get more income than those working, I refer the honourable gentlemen to my first paragraph. Smig62
  • Score: -5

5:44pm Sun 16 Mar 14

grandmab says...

I am retired but do not receive any benefits. My pension is NOT generous. It pays my bills and that's about it. I am not eligible for any of the grants to do this work. My house is also unsuitable for the type of insulation offered. I cannot source the type of insulation I need to do internal work in the UK. If I insulate with the types offered it will destroy the brick. Even the external cladding is useless because the air bricks are blocked and bricks need to breath or they will deteriorate. If any of you know where to get 'ECO Wall Tight' spray insulation I would appreciate a contact. This is not the yellow stuff the cowboys try to spray under your slates. The number I called for the UK distributor had a foreign voice on the end of a mobile phone. They did not bother to call me back. Thank"s
I am retired but do not receive any benefits. My pension is NOT generous. It pays my bills and that's about it. I am not eligible for any of the grants to do this work. My house is also unsuitable for the type of insulation offered. I cannot source the type of insulation I need to do internal work in the UK. If I insulate with the types offered it will destroy the brick. Even the external cladding is useless because the air bricks are blocked and bricks need to breath or they will deteriorate. If any of you know where to get 'ECO Wall Tight' spray insulation I would appreciate a contact. This is not the yellow stuff the cowboys try to spray under your slates. The number I called for the UK distributor had a foreign voice on the end of a mobile phone. They did not bother to call me back. Thank"s grandmab
  • Score: 1

11:06am Mon 17 Mar 14

Pritchk says...

Grandmab - try this company www.matildasblanket.
co.uk
Grandmab - try this company www.matildasblanket. co.uk Pritchk
  • Score: 0

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