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£1.7M ENERGY SAVING GRANTS FOR RURAL PARK HOMES

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A new energy saving scheme has been launched for residents of park homes in Herefordshire and Powys, which is part ...
A new energy saving scheme has been launched for residents of park homes in Herefordshire and Powys, which is part of a£1.7m project to tackle fuel poverty and wasteful energy use in rural park homes in England and Wales.

Residents are being offered up to£5,000 each towards heavily subsidised insulation and heating systems for their park homes. The list of available park home improvement measures includes new roofs and roofing insulation, high efficiency boilers, external insulation, pipework insulation and new heating controls, as well as low-energy light bulbs and advice packs designed specifically for park homes providing information on saving energy.

The initiative is a result of Herefordshire and Powys Councils, working with their four partners, Marches and Mid Wales Energy Agencies and two energy efficiency advice centres, to implement an initial feasibility study and implementation plan, which is managed and part-funded by the Energy Saving Trust's (EST) Innovation Programme. The keys aims of the project are:

* To minimise carbon emissions by reducing energy demand through energy efficiency and through sourcing energy from renewable technologies instead of fossil fuels

* To improve quality of life for residents who are often on low incomes, through various energy efficiency measures

* To provide a flagship project which can easily replicated in other parts of the UK

* To contribute towards future park home site design

Rachel Strivens, project co-ordinator, said:

'By the time of its completion in 2006, the project will have provided a sizable number of park homes with new environment-friendly heating and hot water systems, and nearly 200 units with improved loft and wall insulation. It is hoped that these measures will improve the quality of life and comfort of the residents, who typically include a large number of elderly people.'

Welcoming the initiative, Matthew Knight, innovation programme manager, at the Energy Saving Trust said:

'I am delighted that Herefordshire and Powys councils are demonstrating their commitment to improving energy efficiency in this often neglected, yet growing housing sector. Park homes often have poor thermal retention and so can use large amounts of energy, particularly for heating. Not only will these improvements benefit the residents, they will also ensure significant savings in carbon emissions, helping to improve the wider environment and ensuring that park homes are doing their bit to tackle climate change.'

Notes

1. Energy Saving Trust

The Energy Saving Trust was set up by the UK government after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and is one of the UK's leading organisations addressing the damaging effects of climate change. The goal is to achieve the sustainable and efficient use of energy to cut the carbon dioxide emissions, which are the key contributor to global warming. The trust is a non-profit organisation funded by the government and the private sector. The Energy Saving Trust is funding the Innovation Programme http://www.practicalhelp.org.uk/innovation

2. A combination of issues, such as an aging population, falling pension values, the growing popularity of home equity release schemes and rising house prices (bricks and mortar), are leading to an increase in the number of inhabited park homes and there is significant development of new sites across England and Wales.

3. Herefordshire Council and Powys County Council have 547 and 379 park homes respectively.

4. Under government legislation the 'Home Energy Conservation Act 1996', gave responsibilities for Local Authorities to publish a strategy to reduce the fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 30% within all housing sectors over a 10 to 15 year period. Within the Act (Circular 2/96) park homes are identified as a target group where energy efficiency improvements could be made.

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