04/07/2024 - Permalink

Shropshire Council celebrates Rural Housing Week with £2.5m investment in off-gas homes

Related topics: Climate change / environment / Housing

Shropshire Council is marking Rural Housing Week (1-5 July 2024) by highlighting the achievements of its Affordable Warmth and Energy Efficiency (AWEE) team, who have invested over £2.5million in insulation and heating upgrades to rural off-gas homes through the Sustainable Warmth Shropshire scheme.

Person engaged in retrofitting work

Installing insulation

The council’s Affordable Warmth and Energy Efficiency team have delivered over 270 insulation and heating measures to rural households through the Sustainable Warmth Shropshire scheme.

Sustainable Warmth Shropshire

The scheme, which is funded by the Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) from the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero, is one of the largest of its kind in England and Wales. It aims to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of rural homes that rely on expensive and carbon intensive heating fuels such as oil or LPG gas.

Many households receiving support have health conditions that are affected by cold weather, furthering the importance of retrofitting our rural homes. The scheme offers clean-heat measures, such as air source heat pumps, which provide more efficient and less carbon intensive heating, and insulation measures, which reduce the amount of energy and heat needed to maintain a safe temperature in colder weather.

Sustainable Warmth Shropshire scheme has been very positively received so far, and over 600 households have been deemed eligible and are being progressed through the scheme.

Partnership with Shropshire Rural Housing Association

An element of the HUG funding has been delivered through a fruitful partnership between the council and Shropshire Rural Housing Association (SRHA). The partnership is enabling the installation of new and efficient air source heat pump systems in 77 homes across a number of rural communities in the county, ranging from Ightfield to Cockshutt.

One tenant who has benefited from the scheme said:

“We have already noticed a reduction in our electricity consumption – we think we are using about 25% less than this time last year, which is a massive improvement. The team who installed it were great, very respectful and took care while working in our property. We have had lots of support from Shropshire Rural too, with people coming out to make sure the system has been set up properly – we are really happy with it.”

Jane Trethewey, Assistant Director for Homes and Communities at Shropshire Council said:

“We are delighted to celebrate Rural Housing Week by showcasing the fantastic work of our AWEE team and our partner SRHA. The Sustainable Warmth Shropshire scheme is a key part of our commitment to tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions in our rural communities. We are proud to have secured this significant funding from the government and to have delivered over 600 insulation and heating upgrades to some of the most vulnerable and hard-to-heat homes in the county.

We urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible for the scheme to get in touch with the Keep Shropshire Warm service as soon as possible, as this is a time-limited opportunity that could make a huge difference to their health, comfort and finances.”

How to apply

Sustainable Warmth Shropshire scheme applications are due to close shortly, but residents are being encouraged to apply now before it’s too late as places on the scheme are still available.

If you live in a rural, off-gas home, we want to hear from you. 

Apply for the scheme now at https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/sws

The Sustainable Warmth scheme runs until March 2025, and is targeting the upgrade of over 500 homes in total, with total investment worth around £10m. Residents across Shropshire can find out more and receive free and impartial energy advice by contacting the Keep Shropshire Warm advice and referral service:

You can find out more about Rural Housing Week at National Housing Federation – Rural Housing Week