Fuel poverty scheme brings affordable warmth to Huddersfield street
Published by Penny Allison for Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing in Housing and also in Environment, Health
The new heating system has made a huge difference to Rita Porter
Things are heating up for residents of one Huddersfield street following the launch of a successful fuel poverty scheme.
More than 60 households at Croftlands, Newsome, have been connected to the local gas mains free of charge as part of a £145,000 gas network extension project run by Northern Gas Networks and Community Energy Solutions (CES).
Following the successful completion of the project, which has seen engineers lay over 700 metres of resilient plastic pipe, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) is now in the final stages of installing new gas central heating systems, offering tenants a simple and controllable way of keeping warm at an affordable cost.
Among the first to feel the benefit is elderly couple Rita and Cyril Porter, who have lived in a one bedroom bungalow in Croftlands for the past eight years.
Prior to this scheme their home, like many on the street, was fitted with electric storage heaters and they often had to resort to extraordinary measures in order to keep warm.
Rita, who suffers from a range of health problems, including angina and rheumatoid arthritis, said: “I have to take a number of medications, including Warfarin, which thins the blood and really makes me susceptible to the cold. That, coupled with the fact that our end-terrace home often bore the brunt of any bad weather, meant we usually had to sit with hot water bottles just to make things bearable”.
“In fact it got so bad that we were thinking seriously about moving because we couldn’t afford to replace the storage heaters and couldn’t bear the thought of another freezing winter.
“Thanks to this new central heating system our lives have changed completely and I would like to thank everyone involved for helping us to stay in the home we love.”
In total more than 700m of new plastic gas pipe was laid as part of the Croftlands network extension scheme, with the £145,000 cost being fully-funded by Northern Gas Networks as part of its on-going programme to tackle fuel poverty across the regions in which it operates.
John Peacock, Connections Programme Manager at Northern Gas Networks, said: “We are committed to lifting as many households as possible out of fuel poverty and feel passionately about helping customers like Rita and Cyril to improve their home energy efficiency and take greater control of their finances. By connecting communities such as Croftlands to our gas network we are giving customers access to affordable and manageable home heating solutions and helping to make life more comfortable for those who live in off-gas areas.”
New gas central heating systems are now being installed by Kirklees Building Services on behalf of Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing. These are expected to cut carbon emissions by an average 1.4 tonnes per year, per property, with householders benefitting from savings on their energy bills, as well as the increased comfort offered by an efficient and easy to control heating system.
Cllr Peter McBride, Joint Kirklees Cabinet Member for Place, said, “This project is a fantastic example of how organisations can work together to tackle a problem such as fuel poverty and it’s great to see the difference its making to residents like Rita and Cyril Porter.”
The Croftlands gas network extension is the latest in a series of similar fuel poor projects successfully carried out by Northern Gas Networks and Leeds-based Community Energy Solutions.
Chris Sowerbutts, Project Manager for CES, said: “The partnership between CES and Northern Gas Networks has already benefitted thousands of homes across Yorkshire and the North East and we’re delighted to now count the residents of Croftlands among them.
“Building on this success we’re working with KNH to develop other similar schemes in Kirklees, but I also urge homeowners who aren’t connected to gas, but think gas mains are nearby, to get in touch to see if we can help, as they may be eligible for a free connection.”
To find out if you may be able to apply for a gas connection please visit www.ces-cic.org or call 0113 237 2720.