MIDDLESBROUGH HECA PROGRESS REPORT 2015

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1 MIDDLESBROUGH HECA PROGRESS REPORT 2015 March 2015

2 INTRODUCTION MIDDLESBROUGH HOME ENERGY CONSERVATION ACT (HECA) PROGRESS REPORT 2015 Middlesbrough s HECA Further (First) Report 2013 was published on the Council s website on 31 March 2013 with a copy forwarded to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The Council is required to publish progress updates at two yearly intervals until 31 March 2027 BACKGROUND The Further (First) Report 2013 identified the partnership approach to tackling fuel poverty and providing affordable warmth through the Affordable Warmth Steering Group, comprising of a number of statutory and voluntary Organisations and chaired by Middlesbrough Environment City (see Appendix 1). The Group developed the Affordable Warmth Action Plan (see Appendix 2), setting out four key aims: Key Aim 1 - adoption and promotion of the Affordable Warmth agenda; Key Aim 2 - promoting energy efficiency across all housing stock; Key Aim 3 - income maximisation and debt advice; and, Key Aim 4 - improving health and wellbeing. The HECA Progress Report 2015 continues to focus on the objectives in Key Aim 2 related to housing but acknowledges links with Key Aims 1, 3 and 4. Key Aim 1 ensures senior level buy in to the programme while improvements in the energy efficiency of the property will help to support the objectives in Key Aims 3 and 4, in relation to household income, debt advice and health and wellbeing. KEY AIM 2 PROMOTING ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN THE HOUSING STOCK ACROSS ALL TENURES OBJECTIVE 1: Establish baseline data for the housing stock across all tenures. Middlesbrough Environment City is developing a database (UNO) for the collection of energy efficiency information across all housing stock in Middlesbrough. The Council and other partner/members of the Affordable Warmth Steering Group are supporting this development and updating of the database through information shared across the Services. The data will highlight numbers of properties and areas populated with poorly insulated housing stock that require energy efficiency measures to improve thermal comfort. ACTION Members of the Affordable Warmth Group will continue to support the development of the database (UNO) to provide a strong evidence base for the delivery of future energy efficiency schemes and a targeted approach to ensure efficient use of available funding. OBJECTIVE 2: Continue to monitor fuel poverty across Middlesbrough. 2

3 Local authorities can access fuel poverty data on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) website. Fuel poverty in England is measured by a Low Income High Cost definition, i.e. household requires above average fuel costs but, in spending this amount, would be left with a residual income below the poverty line. The data identifies 15.1% of Middlesbrough s households as being in fuel poverty (Table 1) 1. The previous formula was based on a 10% income spend 2 with 19.6% Middlesbrough households below the poverty line (Table 2). TABLE 1: Comparison of fuel poverty levels within the Tees Valley using low income high cost indicator (LIHC) 2012* Local authority Total number of Number of fuel Percent fuel poor households poor households Middlesbrough 56,144 8, % Darlington 45,813 5, % Hartlepool 39,671 4, % Redcar & Cleveland 58,500 6, % Stockton 77,665 8, % * DECC statistics 2012 sub-regional fuel poverty data LIHC published June 2014 TABLE 2: Comparison of fuel poverty levels within the Tees Valley using under 10% indicator 2012* Local authority Total number of Number of fuel Percent fuel poor households poor households Middlesbrough 56,144 11, % Darlington 45,813 8, % Redcar & Cleveland 58,500 10, % Hartlepool 39,671 6, % Stockton 77,665 11, % * DECC statistics 2012 sub-regional fuel poverty data under 10% published June 2014 ACTION Using statistics provided by DECC, the Council will continue to monitor levels of fuel poverty to direct and support initiatives that will improve the energy efficiency of properties across all tenures and lift households out of fuel poverty. OBJECTIVE 3: Significant energy efficiency improvements to the housing stock across all tenures. The Council and its partners have engaged with local providers of Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to maximise uptake and improve the energy efficiency of the housing stock within town boundaries Fuel poverty is a household needing to spend more than 10% of its income to maintain an adequate level of warmth. 3

4 Middlesbrough Environment City has been involved in: Eco Easterside scheme The scheme saw 393k of funding from the Low Carbon Community Challenge fund spent on fitting a range of energy efficiency measures along with the monitoring of electric and gas usage within identified households over the lifetime of the scheme. The evaluation of the project, which was undertaken by Oxford Brookes and the University of Oxford over 4 years, was concluded with a final end of project conference in March 2015 in Oxford. Properties that were fitted with electricity and gas monitoring equipment had final assessments completed and results made available prior to equipment being removed. Over the period of this evaluation, the project was continually supported by a member of staff from MEC, who liaised with the Oxford Brookes team and also negotiated with the relevant power companies on claiming the Feed in Tariff payments and other related issues. Attendance at the periodic Advisory Board meetings and focus groups was maintained during this period. Carbon mapping and shared learning workshops were attended to supplement the three community events in Easterside with residents and schoolchildren. Thermal imaging on the exterior walls of selected properties highlighted any inefficiency in the insulation and the results were given to the respective householders. A final report was published by the Oxford Brookes team and made available for consultation. Middlesbrough Environment City and partners have supported the delivery of energy efficiency measures worth over 1.9m between April 2013 and March 2015 through the Middlesbrough Warmer Homes Project. Middlesbrough Warmer Homes Project Works Number of households Cavity Wall Insulation 127 External Wall Insulation 147 Loft Insulation or top ups 198 Heating Systems Number of households Energy efficient boilers fitted 265 Central heating repairs completed 175 In addition, funding available through the Affordable Warmth Steering Group partners has provided a range of measures to vulnerable households. Items Number distributed Cold Alarms 230 Carbon monoxide alarms 275 Low energy light bulbs 6,200 Computer power down adaptors 125 TV power down adaptors 72 4

5 Middlesbrough Environment City has supported schemes delivered by members of the Affordable Warmth Group with funding through the Winter Affordable Warmth Programme Affordable Warmth Programme Stay Safe and Warm (short term emergency interventions e.g. boiler repairs and signposting/advice) Cleveland Fire Brigade. Macmillan Home Energy visits (cancer patient and family receive advice on tariff/supplier switching, fuel debt alleviation, energy advice, grants and discounts, etc.) Tadea. In addition, Middlesbrough Environment City has been successful in: securing Big Energy Saving Network 3 funding from October 2014 to March 2015 to offer advice and targeted training to 980 residents; securing Community Energy Savings Competition 4 funding to offer draught proofing, reflective radiator panels and LED bulbs; training for 43 frontline staff; and, specific training for 9 individuals from BME groups; and, gaining recognition for its commitment to helping the most vulnerable residents to access insulation and boiler grants, reduce energy bill and stay warm in their homes. The Warmer Homes Officer won Fuel Poverty Champion of the Year 2014 in the UK Community Energy Awards conducted by Energise London while the Warmer Homes project won the Community Action Award sponsored by the National Energy Action charity. Private Rented Sector The Council s Community Protection team has a Tenancy Referencing Service, which provides information and support to landlords in the private sector. This Service provides opportunities to engage with private landlords and private rented sector tenants to promote energy efficiency measures in the home. Promoting energy efficiency in the private sector Landlord engagement through: a circulation list of approximately 500 private landlords for mailing out advice /information on a range of issues, including energy efficiency measures; 122 landlords received advice on affordable warmth measures; support for a private Landlord s Club; routine inspections and licensing of all three storey houses in multiple occupation offer engagement opportunities; complaints (approximately per year) providing an opportunity for random visits/inspections to private sector properties; and, a private Landlords Forum, which is run annually. 3 To support eligible organisations and community groups to deliver energy advice sessions to householders and front line workers to help them reduce energy costs; increase consumer confidence to switch energy companies and take up energy efficiency offers. 4 Targeting various vulnerable households, supporting community groups and not-for-profit organisations in England to develop innovative energy saving ideas that could help to slash energy bills. 5

6 Tenant engagement through: 136 post-tenancy visits in which tenants identified the need for advice on affordable warmth measures; and, 5 referrals made to British Gas relating to boiler repair, or replacement. Staying Put Agency (SPA) Middlesbrough s Home Improvement Agency (HIA), continues to work with Social Care and other organisations to provide a service that supports older people, people of all ages with disabilities and those who are vulnerable, to remain and live more independently in their own homes. Supporting independent living and affordable warmth Resident engagement through: 2,436 home visits of which 129 residents identified the need for advice on affordable warmth measures; Disabled Facility Grants 220 separate works completed costing 1,123,086; Council funded 12 separate works through loans totalling 89,507; and, Joint funded boiler scheme 15 separate works supported by the Council and Foundation s Independent Living Trust funding of 10k. Local Development Framework Core Strategy The Local Development Framework (LDF) Housing section has been reviewed but this did not cover policies CS4 and CS5, which remain relevant to the HECA and form part of the development plan. All developments will be required to contribute to achieving sustainable development principles, where appropriate. The Council will work closely with its partner organisations to ensure the successful delivery of such developments, which will include consideration of energy efficiency measures (see below). Policy CS4 (Sustainable Development) criteria (p): incorporating within developments of 10 dwellings, or a floor space of 1,000 sq.m; more onsite renewable energy facilities, or energy saving technologies (for example, combined heat and power systems, photovoltaic cells and wind turbines) that provide as a minimum 10% of energy requirements. There should be no demonstrable harm to bio diversity interests or on visual or residential amenities or by way of pollution generation. Where such harm is likely, it will be necessary to demonstrate that this is outweighed by the benefits contributing to diverse and sustainable energy supplies and reducing carbon emissions; provision should be made to mitigate or compensate for any such harm. All development proposals will be required to demonstrate a high quality of design in terms of layout, form and contribution to the character and appearance of the area. Proposals will be required to contribute to achieving the following design criteria (see below). 6

7 Policy CS5 (Design) criteria (j): incorporation of features in terms of layout, design and specification to achieve high levels of energy and environmental efficiency. All new residential developments should be completed to a Building Research Establishment (BRE) Eco Homes rating of very good or, excellent, and all new nonresidential development should be completed to a Bream Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating of very good or excellent. Development should also meet the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Standard and conform to the Code of Sustainable Homes. When pre-application discussions take place, the Planning team encourages developers to incorporate the above energy saving features. Examples of new developments being built to achieve the Code of Sustainable Homes level 3 in 2013 to 2015 were: Table 3: Developments achieving Code of Sustainable Homes Level 3 Location Developer Number of dwellings Code of Sustainable Homes Level 3 Castle Gardens Fabrick Group 30 Yes Former Marton Erimus 44 Yes Grove School site Amersham Road Home Group 13 Yes Stonefolds Gentoo 79 Yes Registered Providers Local Registered Providers were asked to provide information on: energy efficiency improvements to their housing stock in Middlesbrough; planned improvements and intentions to install other renewable energy measures; supporting schemes that include zero carbon homes; and, intention to build to Home and Communities Agency Code of Sustainable Homes level 4 and above. The majority of responses showed that continuing to build at level 3 reflects greatly reduced grant rates being offered. Registered Providers would require additional funding to achieve level 4 for future developments (see Appendix 3). ACTION The Council will encourage energy efficiency improvements and the raising of standards for properties across all tenures, through engagement with local housing providers and housing developers across the town. This will result in lower fuel bills and health benefits for all householders. OBJECTIVE 4: Promotion of energy efficiency measures, including Green Deal. Improving the energy efficiency of all residential accommodation is an integral part of delivering the One Planet programme, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and significantly reducing the financial burden on households while having a tremendous impact on the health and wellbeing of residents. Middlesbrough Environment City 7

8 and other partners work closely with the Council to promote energy awareness in homes across the town. Middlesbrough Environment City has worked with private companies to install measures through ECO and has also promoted the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. ACTION The Council will promote energy efficiency measures through partnership working. OBJECTIVE 5: Using area based and street by street initiatives to deliver energy efficiency improvements. The Council identified a significant number of solid wall/hard to treat properties across the town and, to date, 1,500 properties have already received external wall insulation and other energy efficiency measures through CESP and ECO (Table 4). A further 6,420 properties require external, or internal, wall insulation plus other measures to improve the efficiency of these poorly insulated homes. As external wall insulation is an expensive measure when compared to loft/cavity wall insulation, match funding has been sought to support previous schemes. Potential sources of funding to support a scheme are ECO, Clinical Commissioning Group or Prudential Borrowing. Tenant/owner contributions are a much less likely source as the majority of people in the areas identified for works are fuel poor and need financial assistance to complete the works. TABLE 4: Number of properties fitted with external wall insulation and those remaining Location Number of solid wall/hard to treat properties External wall insulation fitted Gresham 3727 (minus 150 to demolish) University Middlehaven 1238 (minus 200 to demolish) North Ormesby Total 6420 Properties needing external wall insulation A third scheme planned to complete works to approximately 5,000 properties across Middlesbrough using Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Community was in negotiations when the Government reviewed its policy on carbon reduction obligations and made a number of significant changes that led to the provider/company withdrawing from negotiations. Empty Homes Round 2 10 empty properties have recently been brought back into use with funding from the Government s Empty Homes Round 2 initiative. The works included fitting new boilers, double glazing, and loft insulation. 8

9 Making informed choices regarding energy efficiency improvements Advice is available for residents in the private sector before signing an agreement with an individual contractor to fit energy efficiency measures, for example, external wall insulation, or PV solar panels. Middlesbrough Council s Trading Standards has prepared information on making an informed choice on any works while the Staying Put Agency can offer advice on dealing with companies selling solar panels. Community Hubs The Community Hubs and other local community centres have been used for events to engage with the community regarding energy efficiency schemes and are available to help distribute information. ACTION The Council will continue to provide support and appropriate information to allow residents to make informed choices with regards to energy efficiency improvements for their properties. FUTURE ACTIONS Members of the Affordable Warmth Steering Group meet on a quarterly basis to monitor progress on Objectives within the Action Plan and continue to deliver new initiatives intended to reduce fuel poverty and provide affordable warmth by improving energy efficiency in all housing stock. Work has already commenced on the refresh of the Affordable Warmth Action Plan. A two day review workshop in partnership with British Gas through their leadership programme has started to redevelop the group s vision and priorities. Work on refreshing the plan will continue in May 2015, as government priorities are identified, with the intention of having a finalised Action Plan by September This Progress Report 2015 will be placed on the Council s website alongside the Further (First) Report 2013 with subsequent reports being delivered every two years up to

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