A multi-million pound energy efficiency scheme that will reduce energy bills and create 500 jobs in the region has been launched today in a bid to tackle fuel poverty.
Up to 50,000 households and businesses in the North East are set to benefit from the Warm Up North project, which is worth £200m and aims to save people money by making their properties greener.
Delivered by energy giant British Gas, it will create an estimated 500 jobs, including in the supply chain, apprenticeships, training and skills opportunities and 75 posts to manage delivery of the scheme.
Starting in September, the scheme will make the North East the first region in the country to have entered into a multi-area partnership of this type with Warm Up North being the largest and most advanced example in the country of a regional response to the Government’s Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) initiatives.
The partnership includes eight local authorities – Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, Durham, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Darlington and Redcar and Cleveland and is also supported by the Association of North East Councils. Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Warm Up North is a fantastic scheme that will help tens of thousands of homes in the North East become more energy efficient. The Coalition is committed to helping hardworking families and Warm Up North will mean warmer homes in the winter months and help for people to reduce their bills by using less energy. It will also provide a real boost to the local economy, creating skilled jobs and apprenticeships.”
Eligible residents may, following an assessment of their energy use, benefit from a range of energy efficiency measures, including solid wall insulation, boiler replacements, double-glazed windows and loft insulation.
Many will be part or fully funded by British Gas’s Energy Company Obligations and those opting for a Green Deal Plan can make repayments through energy bills with those repayments determined by the “golden rule” of being less than the projected savings from the improvements.
Warm Up North will cover all types and ownership of residential property and extends to publicly-owned buildings such as town halls, offices and health and educational properties.
Martin Walker, project director for the Warm Up North Partnership, said: “This is a great opportunity and puts this region at the very forefront of domestic energy efficiency. This scheme will help tens of thousands of households with their energy bills, help thousands of people struggling with fuel poverty, and create hundreds of jobs in the region.”
Coun Gerald Bell, cabinet member for investment and development at Newcastle City Council, said: “Warm Up North will make a significant contribution to a number of our priorities in Newcastle – by tackling fuel poverty, it will help to reduce inequalities; by improving energy efficiency, it will help create decent neighbourhoods; and by creating job opportunities, it will help to create a working city. “