National Grid and Community Interest Company, Affordable Warmth Solution (AWS) have established a £150m Warm Homes Fund (WHF) designed to support local authorities, registered social landlords and other organisations working in partnership with them, to address some of the issues affecting fuel poor households.
Around 4 million UK households are in fuel poverty, unable to heat their home to the temperature needed to stay warm and healthy. As well as being on low incomes many of these households are also faced with the additional burden of relying on heating systems that are expensive to run and/or inadequate for their needs. Furthermore, because of their circumstances or property type they may not currently be able to benefit from existing mandated schemes.
In 2014 the UK Government introduced a statutory target to ensure fuel poor homes in England achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 31 December 2030, with targets in Scotland and Wales also set by the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly respectively. NEA’s Annual Fuel Poverty Monitor reports that without additional investment and ambition these targets may not be realised.
The WHF is a £150million fund administered by AWS across England, Wales and Scotland, primarily designed to address some of these issues by incentivising the installation of affordable heating solutions in fuel poor households who do not use mains gas as their primary heating fuel. It is envisaged that the fund will be used to supplement local strategic plans and other funds available.
The fund is split into three broad categories:
- Category 1: Urban homes and communities – we anticipate this will involve new gas heating systems which provide space heating and domestic hot water. It could also include heat network solutions. Under this category new gas connections will continue to be undertaken by Gas Distribution Networks and funded through the Fuel Poor Network Extension Scheme. The WHF is therefore targeting the ‘in-house’ systems.
- Category 2: Rural homes and communities – some of the most severely fuel poor households are those without a mains gas connection in rural locations. This category will therefore primarily focus on ‘non-gas’ solutions which may include air source heat pumps, oil and LPG.
- Category 3: Specific energy efficient/health related solutions – this may involve national or regional programmes which bring together relevant organisations and charities to promote energy efficiency and/or health related programmes in relation to fuel poverty. This is not intended to fund new central heating systems.
To maximise the impact of the WHF, all properties are expected to be insulated to the recommended industry standards and bidders and their partners are encouraged to seek additional funding to ensure these standards are met. The aims of the fund are to reduce bills, increase comfort in non-gas fuel poor households, and improve health outcomes for some of the most severe levels of fuel poverty.
Further information about the bid process and the requirements for a successful bid can be found within the relevant tabs on this website.