Council wins cash to warm up residents

A total of �220,000 has been secured to help warm-up residents in West Dorset.

A total of �220,000 has been secured to help warm-up residents in West Dorset.West Dorset District Council successfully bid for the cash, which will be used to provide loans to improve energy efficiency in some of West Dorset's older and more unusual homes.The money, awarded by the South West Regional Housing Board, will initially be targeted at residents on low incomes in homes that are harder to heat or insulate. These homes may be in rural areas, off the mains gas network, or they could be older solid wall properties that have not been able to benefit from the widely promoted cavity wall or loft insulation grants. The funds could be to pay for the installation of solar thermal panels, solid wall insulation or improved heating systems.Robert Gould, Leader of West Dorset District Council, said: "I am delighted that we have secured this money to help people heat their homes. This is even more important now, as the economic downturn has left many people struggling with the cost of keeping their homes warm."We have promoted energy saving schemes for many years, but they haven't always catered for the large number of older or more unusual properties in West Dorset. For example, many of these homes have solid walls or attic rooms so haven't been able to benefit from standard cavity wall or loft insulation. "These loans may be used to introduce more innovative ways of heating and insulating these properties. Measures could include heat pumps, which capture heat outside and bring it inside, or new types of solid wall insulation that can be fitted inside or outside a property. The district council has been working hard to encourage people to insulate their homes. Since April 2008 some �748,000 worth of energy saving measures have been installed in homes across West Dorset.The money comes from utility companies, which are required by the Government to fund energy saving work. The district council's role is to advise householders of the subsidised cavity wall and loft insulation measures that can be provided by these schemes. For more information about cavity wall and loft insulation contact the Dorset Energy Advice Centre on 0800 975 0166 or for the loans available contact the district council's Private Sector Housing Team on 01305 251010.