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Suffolk: Creating a ‘Fuel Poverty Retrofit Team’ to support vulnerable residents in energy-inefficient homes

Warm Homes Suffolk is an initiative shared across Suffolk’s county, district and borough councils, has been granted funding to assemble a ‘Fuel Poverty Retrofit Team’ to support residents most affected by the cost of living.

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The Fuel Poverty Retrofit team will help secure funding and address resourcing challenges for energy efficiency retrofit and ensure a consistent workflow for installers. Measures could include the installation of insulation, fitting air source heat pumps and replacing single glazing. It will also enforce minimum standards for the private rental sector, create a loan fund for those who are just above the financial eligibility cap, and support the installer supply chain.

The initiative was unanimously supported by Suffolk’s Public Sector Leaders in September 2022, when they pledged £366,000 to create the new team to tackle the challenges, with a further £390,000 of funding underwritten. The scheme was propelled further by the recent award of £8.6mn in HUG2 funding.

The challenge

More than 62,000 properties in Suffolk are thought to have the worst Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) of E, F or G. An estimated 28 per cent of homes – 95,000 households – are in fuel poverty, almost double the number in 2019.

The solution

The creation of a fuel poverty retrofit team to support residents in energy-inefficient homes, struggling most to afford rising energy bills.

The impact

The projected value of the work completed is set to be £50m, with combined potential savings for householders of nearly £4.8m. The number of installations could now rise the current average of 250 a year, to 500 in the first year, 750 in the second, and eventually reach up to 1,500 annually. As well as reducing residents’ fuel bills, the Warm Homes Suffolk initiative will also help the county towards its target of Net Zero by 2030, as making homes more energy efficient will mean less carbon is released into the atmosphere. This is in line with the wider ambitions set out in Suffolk’s Climate Emergency Plan.