Residents living in Calderdale’s coldest homes are set to benefit from a £1.4 million scheme to improve their heating and insulation.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will discuss the project on Monday 14 December, which aims to make homes warm at an affordable price for the most vulnerable people in the borough, to help protect them from ill health caused by being cold.
This comes after the Council’s Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel did an in-depth review of the effects of the environment on health and wellbeing.
On the Panel’s recommendation, the Council looked into research by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Building Research Establishment, which said that targeting Calderdale’s coldest homes through a £1.4 million scheme could save an estimated £4.65 million in healthcare costs for people over 60 years old.
Cllr Simon Young, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Wellbeing and Engagement, said:
“It is tragic that every year, people are dying early because their homes are too cold in winter. The World Health Organisation says that about 30% of additional deaths from December to March are caused by cold indoor temperatures. Last winter in England and Wales the number of additional winter deaths rose drastically from 17,460 to 43,900. This has to stop, and we are working with other organisations like the NHS to help those who are affected most in Calderdale, including elderly people, young children and people with health conditions made worse by the cold.”
Cllr Jenny Lynn, Cabinet Member for Skills and the Environment, added:
“We know where the coldest homes are in Calderdale and how residents are affected, after carrying out consultation work and considering data from the Building Research Establishment about the cost of cold homes. We are now looking to step up our existing work to help make people’s homes more energy efficient and cut their heating bills to make it cheaper and easier for them to stay warm.”
The plan is to focus the work on four main areas, which the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel found to be the key ways to tackle cold homes:
- Improving energy efficiency – providing loans to improve heating and insulation
- Energy price and switching support – to provide access to cheaper energy tariffs where possible
- Providing advice on keeping warm at home
- Maximising income – helping families to access welfare benefits that they are entitled to
An Affordable Warmth Board, made up of all Council departments, has been set up to deliver the three-year scheme. The £1.4 million funding for the scheme was agreed at Budget Council in February 2015.
The proposals will be discussed at the meeting of Cabinet on Monday 14 December at Halifax Town Hall from 6pm.