Fuel poverty surveys due to get underway

The Braid. BT8-268AC
The Braid. BT8-268AC

Ballymena Council is poised to carry out surveys of households in areas where fuel poverty is most prevalent to determine if they could be eligible for assistance under the ‘Affordable Warmth Scheme’.

Councillors were told at Committee level last week that Ballymena was acting as lead authority for the Mid & East Antrim Cluster of Councils and that a budget of £126,000 to deliver the scheme in the area for 2014-15 had been provided by the Department for Social Development, and a further £153k for 2015-16.

Members were told that the recruitment process for the required staff was underway with surveys scheduled to start during November.

Completed surveys will be passed to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive for the assessment of householder entitlement and to carry out a technical survey to determine the measures that may need to be installed such as insulation, heating, window improvements and/or solid wall insulation.

A household within a targeted area may be eligible if they are an owner occupier or privately renting and their gross annual income is less than £20,000.

Councillors also heard that landlords will have to contribute 50% towards the cost of energy efficiency improvements and that where the cost exceeds half of the grant limit, the landlord will have to pay any excess.

The aim is for Councils to refer a minimum of 1,000 completed surveys, including non-targeted referrals, to the Housing Executive annually.