A new scheme to improve energy efficiency in the most vulnerable homes is piloting across Newtownabbey by the Department for Social Development in conjunction with Newtownabbey Borough Council. Around 125 homes will be surveyed in the coming months in order to identify a range of energy efficiency improvements. The improvements could include loft insulation, cavity wall insulation or a new energy efficient boiler.
Extensive research identified homes which will benefit the most through energy efficiency improvements. Mapping information developed by Professor Christine Liddell from the University of Ulster was instrumental in this process as it highlighted fuel poverty prevalence across Northern Ireland and mapped it by census output area.
Encouraging those householders identified to participate in the pilot scheme, DSD Minister Nelson McCausland said:
“In April 2011, the Department published Warmer Healthier Homes: A Fuel Poverty Strategy for Northern Ireland which placed significant emphasis on the partnership approach required to tackle fuel poverty. Since then we have been working with the University of Ulster and a number of local councils to develop maps which highlight the areas most affected by fuel poverty.
Councils participating in the scheme have been issuing a letter to those householders advising them of the scheme and offering each a Home Energy Check to discuss the range of energy efficient improvements that may be available to them.
I would encourage all those who receive a letter to avail of this offer as research shows that by improving the energy efficiency in your home you can reduce your energy bills and ultimately improve your health and wellbeing.”
The Minister continued:
“The Department for Social Development is committed to helping householders improve the energy efficiency of their home. Tackling fuel poverty is also a priority for the Northern Ireland Executive and we will continue to work with others to identify those most vulnerable and in need.”
Newtownabbey Borough Council is issuing letters in the coming weeks to those homes within the target areas. If you receive a letter, you can then expect a representative from the council to visit your home and offer to carry out a survey. All council representatives will have passes and will provide a phone number to enable the householder to confirm their identity.
For more information on the pilot scheme, please contact the Council’s Environmental Services team on 028 9034 0140.