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Wyre Forest District Council Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) Report

Last updated May 2019

Introduction

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change requires local authorities in England to provide an update report every two years setting out the energy conservation measures that the authority considers practicable, cost-effective and likely to result in significant improvement in the energy efficiency of residential accommodation in the area. This report builds on previous reports setting out how Wyre Forest District Council intends to help householders take advantage of financial incentives such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), Feed in Tariff (FIT) and any other schemes that became available. In addition it will also provide information on funding sourced and provided by the council.

Since HECA was first introduced the council has submitted annual reports to the Secretary of State from 1997 until 2011 defining any progress made towards the assumed target of a 30% improvement in energy efficiency in domestic property in our district. With the introduction of additional specific targets under Local Area Agreements we delivered programs and works for energy efficiency, fuel poverty and carbon performance.

We are now in our fourth reporting stage for the revitalised HECA and this report will detail projects and work we have delivered since the last report in 2017 and will also detail our plans for the next two years to address home energy related issues across our district.

HECA Reporting 2019 Questions

Name of Local Authority: Wyre Forest District Council

Name and contact details of official submitting the report: Name: Jennifer Moreton Email: Jennifer.Moreton@wyreforestdc.gov.uk Phone Number: 01562 732569

Job title of official submitting the report: Principal Health and Sustainability Officer

 

Headline and Overview Questions

1 Does your Local Authority have a current strategy on carbon reduction and/or energy efficiency for domestic or non-domestic properties?

Yes

2 If yes, please provide a link to your current strategy here:

Links to the relevant strategies are available at www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/sustainability

As a second tier authority, Wyre Forest District Council is also an active partner in county-wide partnerships and have developed the Worcestershire Housing Partnership Plan, the Worcestershire Energy Strategy and Worcestershire Climate Change Strategy, which can all be accessed via these links:

https://www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/media/3645353/Worcestershire-StrategicHousing-Partnership-Document-FINAL-.pdf

https://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/info/20235/sustainability/1092/county_st rategies/2

3 a. What scheme(s) has your local authority implemented (or planning to) in support of energy saving/carbon reduction in residential accommodation (such as owner-occupied, privately rented and social housing) or non-domestic properties since 2017? (if you have not implemented any scheme, please enter ‘N/A’)

The council works with partners to deliver and develop a range of projects that support our residents and provide both energy and carbon reduction along wider outcomes for residents of increased incomes, improvements in health along with a improved housing stock and rising EPC’s. Since 2017 we have delivered the following:

Housing Assistance Policy

The Housing Assistance Policy sets out the basis on which Wyre Forest District Council will offer financial assistance (“Housing Assistance”) for works of adaption, 6 repair or renewal in the private housing sector. This policy supports the Council’s overall aim to secure health and community well-being. It supports the Council’s Housing Strategy and is set in response to both local identified needs and issues and national housing strategies. Financial support available through this policy includes Disabled Facilities Grants and Home Repair Assistance. Funding is also available for Private Sector Measures; projects are agreed on an annual basis and typically include measures to improve conditions in the private rented sector where the works are above what can be reasonably expected of a landlord and are of benefit to the tenants, for example improved insulation, efficient heating systems and ventilation. Details of energy efficiency measures delivered are provided later in the report.

Parkway Pilot Project:

Through this pilot project funding was provided for energy efficiency measures in low income, energy inefficient properties in a target area within the district, identified by stock surveys/ EPC data and local knowledge.

Warm Homes Fund

In partnership with the county council have a successful bid to deliver a category one programme for first time gas extension in homes across district. Details of the programme are detailed later in the report.

Specialist Energy Advice Line and Support

As a Council we feel that advice provision for residents is essential. For us that advice is delivered locally through our energy advice partners Act on Energy, who offer a combination of quality telephone advice through to community based and even in home support so that we can rest assured that our residents have access to the right support to allow them to make ongoing decisions about energy usage, from switching through to physical measures with funding sourced through ECO/ECO Flex or other industry initiatives. Since our last report they have provided support and advice to over 500 residents across our district.

Wyre Forest Big Energy Switch

Several successful collective energy switches have taken place since 2017; publicity has encouraged residents to save through energy efficiency as well as by switching tariffs.

4 What has been, or will be, the cost(s) of running and administering the scheme(s), such as the value of grants and other support made available, plus any other costs incurred (such as administration) as desired? Please provide figures and a brief narrative account if desired.

Free text response to question 4 - please outline in no more than 100 words

Schemes delivered under the WFDC Housing Assistance policy (Disabled Facilities Grants, Home Repair Assistance, private sector measures and Parkway project. In 2017/18 and 2018/19 135 grants totaling £307k were provided for a range of energy efficiency measures including boiler replacements, insulation and kitchen/ bathroom extraction.

The Worcestershire Warm Homes Fund project has a value of £600,000. Admin for the project is £22,500 which includes EPC’s. Target of 150 homes.

Energy advice line – annual service level agreement to provide phone line and support for residents to assist access to funding such as ECO, plus switching etc.

5 What businesses, charities, third sector organisations or other stakeholders do you work with to deliver the scheme(s)?

Free text response to question 5 - please outline in no more than 100 words

We work with a number of partners to ensure we offer a quality support to our residents and to deliver our programmes including Act on Energy, Age UK, local Transition groups, Simply Limitless (local Wellbeing Centre), the County Council Public Health and Sustainability Teams, and other district councils across the area. We actively participate in local networks such as the Wyre Forest Health and Wellbeing Partnership and the Multi-Agency Group and ensure that the many stakeholders represented are kept up to date. We are members of West Midlands ALEO and attend a local consortium of LA’s run by Act on Energy to share best practice and work together on combined schemes such as the Warm Homes Fund.

6 What has been the outcome of the scheme(s) (e.g. energy savings, carbon savings, economic impacts such as job creation and/or increased business competitiveness, societal impacts such as alleviation of fuel poverty and/or improved health outcomes etc.)?

This does not have to be measured against national data or benchmarks, but rather focuses on the local authority’s own monitoring and evaluation.

Free text response to question 6 - please outline in no more than 200 words

We provide advice and support in a number ways and outcomes are often driven by the criteria that is set through the funded programmes available through ECO or WHF

We have delivered through our schemes the following for residents

WHF

This scheme is still being delivered but we have a target of 150 installs across the county with a focus on first time central heating.

Wyre Forest Big Energy Switch

We have run 3 switch collective energy switches over the last two years. In total 312 Wyre Forest households switched provided total bill savings of £72k which can be used by residents and help boost the local economy.

Energy Advice Service

Our local energy advice service provides quality and impartial advice to residents. In additional to financial support and energy saving the support also

No of Events/measures Clients receiving 121 advice Energy Saving Kwh Monetary Savings Events (saving based on 33% take up of advice includes switching) 44 335 £29,164 Presentations (saving based on 33% take up of advice includes switching) 2 38 £3,308 Front line staff training 2 30 £7,9143 HVs 18 18 £4,748 Heating Measures 61 ECO/flex 224,907 £10,370 Loft insulation 9 ECO/flex 11,124 £504 Cavity wall insulation 1 ECO/flex 2,606 £155 Telephone Line (saving based 0 208 £18,108 9 on 33% take up of advice includes switching)

 

In addition, the schemes supported by Act on Energy have improved health and wellbeing outcomes for residents whilst also supporting the west midlands economy by using the local supply chain where possible.

7 What lessons have you learned from delivering this scheme(s)? Although levels of fuel poverty Free text response to question 8 - please outline in no more than 100 words

Although levels of fuel poverty in the district are lower than other LA’s in the West Midlands we do still have areas of significant fuel poverty and the demand for support is high and we are only able to offer support to households working within considerable funding constraints and therefore can only focus on those most in need. It has also become increasingly difficult to find eligible households that have not already had low cost measures (loft/cavity wall insulation) already installed under previous schemes.

Local Communications Strategy

8 Does your local authority provide any advisory service to consumers (and businesses) on how to save energy? 

Yes

9 If yes to question 8, please briefly outline how this is undertaken (or enter ‘N/A’ if appropriate)

Free text response to question 10 - please outline in no more than 100 words

We provided a specialist energy advice line through local charity Act on Energy who have over 20 years experience of providing impartial energy efficiency advice. They provide support including advice on all aspects of energy and assistance for residents with accessing funding support through ECO/ECO Flex, Industry Initiative Schemes or our own schemes. We also provide information on our own website and through newsletters to promote energy saving switching etc.

From a business perspective our partners at County have been running a ERDF funding programme’ Business Energy Efficiency Programme’ BEEP which support SME’s across the county with free energy and resource efficiency reviews and grants up to £20,000. Small businesses are faced with high and fluctuating energy costs, the Business Energy Efficiency Programme will help local businesses to manage and reduce these costs, while improving their environmental impact.

BEEP helped over 300 businesses across the county to manage and reduce these costs, while improving their environmental impact. (April 2019)

BEEP is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and is administered by Worcestershire County Council, in partnership with Herefordshire Council, Telford and Wrekin Council, Worcestershire Councils, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce and Shropshire Chamber of Commerce.

10 How do you communicate or encourage energy saving amongst domestic consumers and/or local businesses? (if you do not, please enter ‘N/A’ and move on to the next section ‘Local Green Supply Chains’)

Free text response to question 10 - please outline in no more than 100 words

Information is available through a variety of sources including the following:

  • Council website
  • Act on Energy Website
  • Leaflets across the borough to promote our schemes
  • Leaflets on specific issues such as heating, damp, switching
  • Newsletters
  • Local charities
  • Social media
  • Letters to residents to promote schemes e.g. WHF
  • Promotion at events
  • Information at flu clinics
  • Provided energy advice clinic at job Centre and library
  • Training to staff of council and other frontline services

Local Green Supply Chains

11 Does your Local Authority promote the use of energy efficient products amongst consumers (and businesses)? (if you answer no please move onto the next section ‘Private Rented Sector’)

Y

12 If yes to question 11, please briefly detail how this promotion work is undertaken.

Free text response to question 12 - please outline in no more than 100 words

Promotion through our energy advice partner Act on Energy and wider through our LEP work where energy is a key priority.

13 What engagement (formal or informal) does your local authority have with local businesses/supply chains involved in promoting energy efficiency products or carbon reduction?

Free text response to question 14 - please outline in no more than 100 words

We are partners in the County Energy Strategy which enables engagement with the wider supply chain and promotion of energy efficiency. In addition our energy advice partners work with local supply chain to deliver efficiency schemes.

Through the North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration team, energy efficiency/ low carbon grants and opportunities are promoted to local businesses via newsletters, conferences, breakfast meetings etc.

Domestic Private Rented Sector (PRS) Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Regulations (the Regulations) apply to all privately rented properties in England and Wales. As of April 2018, all such properties are legally required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of at least an E before they can be let on a new tenancy. This requirement will then extend to all such properties by 1 April 2020, even if there has been no change in tenant or tenancy (please see BEIS’s published guidance documents for the full details on the standard).

The PRS Regulations give enforcement powers to local authorities, and authorities are responsible for ensuring landlord compliance within their area.

14 Is your authority aware of the PRS Minimum Efficiency Standards which came into force in April 2018? (if you answered no, please move on to the next section ‘Financial Support for Energy Efficiency’)

 Y

15 Which team within your authority is responsible for, or will be responsible for, leading on enforcement of the PRS minimum standard? Please provide the contact details of the person leading this team.

Free text response to question

The housing team within the council are looking to work together with other districts and trading standards and utilise the guidance that BEIS will develop through its current pilots to develop cohesive approach to enforcement of MEES

16 What method or methods does your authority use to communicate with landlords and tenants about the standards and other related issues?

Free text response to question 18 - please outline in no more than 100 words

The Council communicate with landlords through the Council Website and the Landlords Forum. The council also communicates with local letting agents about energy efficiency schemes and regulations.

17 Do you directly target landlords of EPC F and G rated properties? If yes, how? If no, please explain.

Y

18 Free text response to question 17 - please outline in no more than 100 words

EPC data has been obtained and a stock condition survey carried out. Private sector housing initiatives are targeted towards properties/ areas with poor EPC ratings. Letting agencies are approached when F/G properties are advertised.

Financial Support for Energy Efficiency

19 What financial programmes, if any, do you have to promote domestic and non-domestic energy efficiency or energy saving? If applicable, please outline the sums, where such funding is sourced, and where it is targeted.

(If you do not have any financial assistance programmes, please enter ‘N/A’ and move onto the next section ‘Fuel Poverty’)

Free text response to question 19 - please outline in no more than 200 words

We have funding for the following physical intervention programmes:

Housing Assistance initiatives (DFGs/ Home Repair Assistance/ Private sector measures) are delivered subject to current funding availability. £307k worth of energy efficiency measures were delivered through these schemes over the last two years.

Warm Homes Fund – Category 1 bid to provide first time central heating to residents. The bid was for just over £600,000 and is for delivering heating measures to 150 homes across the borough with 50/50 social/owner occupier split.

ECO – we also offer support though ECO but levels are funding are not fixed and dependent on supplier/installer offers.

Energy advice and Support – funding provided by the council to support the delivery of ECO and schemes such as WHF along with energy advice support to residents.

Fuel Poverty

20 Does your local authority have a fuel poverty strategy?

If yes, please describe the scope of the strategy, and the support that is available for low income and vulnerable households to help tackle fuel poverty in your local area. Please also provide a link to your strategy if published.

Y

Free text response to question 20 - please outline in no more than 300 words

Fuel poverty is embedded within a number of key documents including the Wyre Forest Climate Change Strategy and the Worcestershire Housing Partnership Plan.

The Council is also a partner of the Warmer Worcestershire Fuel Poverty Plan. This is supported through public health and feeds into the aim and objectives of the Health and Well being Board and takes in to consideration the work of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment JSNA. The plan is a 5 year one that commenced in 2016 and is reviewed on annual basis to ensure that it supports the delivery and works alongside the cold weather plan.

The council is also a partner of the LEP Energy Strategy which also has fuel poverty as one of its key priorities along with carbon reduction and increased renewable energy generation across the county.

The purpose of the strategy is to guide the Council and partner agencies in committing resources to four linked objectives:

  • Access to affordable, clean energy
  • Clean economic growth
  • Overcoming economic and infrastructure and development barriers
  • Promoting low carbon transport and active travel

21 What steps have you taken to identify residents/properties in fuel poverty? (enter ‘N/A’ if not appropriate)

Free text response to question 21 - please outline in no more than 200 words

Residents that are more likely to be in fuel poverty have been identified through a number of different approaches:

  • The Government’s annual fuel poverty statistics have been used to identify areas in the city with the highest levels to be targeted with letters offering assistance for WHF.
  • Use of off gas data from cadent to target potential homes along with data from Fortis
  • We have also had a recent stock survey which will help us to target homes most likely to be at risk of fuel poverty
  • Through partnership arrangements with frontline services such as GP practices, home care providers, Age UK, hospital discharge services, social workers and children’s centre staff, as they are in a position to identify clients as being fuel poor.

22 How does fuel poverty interlink with your local authority’s overall carbon reduction strategy? (enter ‘N/A’ if not appropriate)

Free text response to question 22 - please outline in no more than 200 words

This area of work sits within the wider county wide work provided through the county climate change strategy and the LEP Energy strategy to provide a coordinated delivery. There are three key measures that we will aim to deliver :

  • Reduction in carbon emissions of 50% on 2005 levels by 2030
  • Double the size of the low carbon sector by 2030
  • Tripling energy production from renewable generation by 2030

The Wyre Forest Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan is aligned to the county strategies and aims to deliver locally in partnership with local community groups.

23 a. What measures or initiatives have you taken to promote fuel cost reduction for those in fuel poverty? And if so what partnership with business or energy providers have you undertaken? (enter ‘N/A’ if not appropriate) (enter ‘N/A’ if not appropriate)

Free text response to question 23 - please outline in no more than 200 words

We utilize our energy advice partners Act on Energy who are able to access both energy suppliers and local contractors to deliver our energy efficiency works and support vulnerable residents in our communities.

The Council works with its business partner, iChoosr, to deliver the Wyre Forest Big Energy Switch annually in the winter months.

The Energy Company Obligation

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is an obligation on energy suppliers aimed at helping households cut their energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by installing energy saving measures. Following the Spring 2018 consultation, the Government set out in its response that ECO3 will fully focus on Affordable Warmth – low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households.

The recently introduced ECO “flexible eligibility” (ECO Flex) programme allows LAs to make declarations determining that certain households in fuel poverty or with occupants on low incomes and vulnerable to the effects of cold homes, are referred to ECO obligated suppliers for support under the Affordable Warmth element of ECO. LAs involved are required to issue a Statement of Intent that they are going to identify households as eligible, and the criteria they are going to use; and a declaration that the LA has been consulted on the installation of measures in a home.

24 Has your local authority published a Statement of Intent (SoI) for ECO flexibility eligibility? If yes, please include a link to your SoI below.

Link to Statement of Intent (SoI)

25 Please use the following space to provide any further information you feel might be of benefit to BEIS, in helping us to understand ECO Flex delivery in more detail. For example, the number of declarations signed versus the number of households helped.

Free text response to question 26 - please outline in no more than 200 words

We deliver ECO Flex through a countywide SOI with the six other district councils and the county council along with our trusted and impartial partner Act on Energy who assess each case individually to ensure the need and eligibility of the resident. Referrals for the scheme come though our promotional work and through trusted partners. During ECO2T we help residents with the installation of 61 boilers. In addition, Flex has enabled us to help residents access Industry Initiative Schemes and Warm Home Fund.

Smart Metering

26 Please provide a brief statement outlining your current or planned approach to:

Engage and support your residents (including those in vulnerable circumstances or with pre-payment metering) to promote take up of smart meters and achieve associated benefits (e.g. ability to control energy use, identify best value tariffs)? Please detail any work undertaken or planned 17 with local/community groups, housing associations, micro businesses, Smart Energy GB under their Partnership Programme and energy suppliers.

Free text response to question 27 – please outline in no more than 150 words.

WFDC hosted a National Energy Action Smart Meter Training session which was attended by frontline staff and volunteers from within the council and from external organisations.

Through our partners Act on Energy we have been able to access support and training for both residents and frontline staff with training.

27 Please provide a brief statement outlining your current or planned approach to:

Integrate your approaches to delivering energy efficiency improvements in residential accommodation with the opportunities presented by the installation of smart meters, drawing upon materials from the Smart Meter Energy Efficiency Materials Project or other sources of independent information.

Free text response to question 28 – please outline in no more than 150 words.

Our partners use a joined up approach to energy efficiency so will look at the whole house and householder to maximise the support that is provided. They utilize material produced by themselves and through others such as Smart GB portal for leaflets and information this is then circulated though out the borough in a varity of formats

28 Please detail any:

Resources/ support (e.g. services, funding) available to residents who have had an appliance(s) condemned for safety reasons and cannot afford to replace it (e.g. during visual safety checks conducted during their smart meter installation or otherwise).

Free text response to question 29 – please outline in no more than 150 words.

Where a resident’s gas boiler has been condemned, they could potentially be helped through the Council’s Winter Warmth project if they meet the eligibility criteria and funding is available. In addition our partners Act On Energy are due start a reactive response programme with NEA and Cadent to repair/replace condemned heating appliances.

29 Please detail any:

Existing relationships with energy suppliers to help ensure that the opportunities presented by vacant properties under your control are effectively utilised (i.e. gaining access to install a smart meter).

Free text response to question 29 – please outline in no more than 150 words.

N/A WFDC does not own any housing.

Future Schemes or Wider Initiatives

30 Please outline any future schemes or wider initiatives not covered above that your local authority has carried out or is planning to undertake to improve the energy efficiency of residential accommodation or businesses in your area, for example, within your Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Energy Strategy (if you do not plan any future schemes currently, please enter ‘N/A’).

Free text response to question 30 - please outline in no more than 500 words

LEP Energy Strategy

As mentioned earlier the LEP has recognised the significance of energy to local economy and with funding through BEIS has developed a Energy Strategy.

Worcestershire is currently a net importer of energy, we need to increase local energy generation in Worcestershire, with an ultimate focus on zero carbon emissions. Worcestershire has a number of local assets which enable us to do this, and we also have a healthy low carbon sector operating in the county which we can learn from, develop and work with to scale up benefits across the county. This strategy provides the evidence base and priorities for Worcestershire to focus on, looking ahead to 2030. The LEP has set up a working group to develop key projects that can be delivered to fulfil the objective of the strategy.

Business Energy Efficiency Programme BEEP

This programme is due to be extended to support business with both energy audits and grant funding for measures.

Public Energy Efficiency Programme

This is new programme to support the energy efficiency improvements in public building and is funded through ERDF

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