A £200m investment programme has been set in motion by British Gas in collaboration with nine North East local authorities as part of the UK’s largest energy efficiency project.
The multi-million pound Warm Up North scheme will initially create 75 direct job opportunities regionally, as well as creating up to 500 further jobs in the local supply chain.
Based in Newcastle, the 75-strong Warm Up North team will tackle fuel poverty and help to lower energy bills and make keeping warm more affordable for thousands of North East homes and businesses.
Local SMEs will be identified as contractors to carry out necessary work to help firms and families, which could include hard to treat cavity wall, solid wall and loft insulation, new ‘A-rated’ boilers, and boiler repairs.
The regional 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).
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 initiative will cover private and rented homes, and social housing as well as extending to publicly owned buildings, including offices, health and educational properties.
Jon Kershaw, head of Warm Up North, said: “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.
“We are also helping to create high quality new jobs throughout the region providing apprenticeships, training and skills opportunities, focusing especially on helping longterm 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.”
Coun Gerald Bell, cabinet member for investment and development at Newcastle City Council, added: “We are delighted to welcome another new private sector employer to the city who will bring business and employment opportunities and support the local economy.
“British Gas will be creating 75 much needed jobs for local people and providing a valuable service which will help lower fuel bills, tackle poverty and improve the energy efficiency of tens of thousands of homes in the city and the region.
“The City Council is working hard to support business, encourage growth and create investor confidence in the city as part of our working city agenda and the Warm Up North scheme, the largest of its kind in the country, is an important part of this strategy.”
Businesses 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