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Breakthrough in solving fuel poverty problem for Marlborough’s social housing tenants

The problem of fuel poverty, affecting the lives of hundreds of social housing tenants in the Marlborough area, is set to be solved by making use of the government’s CERT funding scheme, whose existence too few of them know about. 

CERT – the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target – ensures that all the major energy providers can utilise generous grants on offer for loft and cavity wall insulation and enables people to switch to more energy efficient and flexible heating systems. 

To date this generous funding has been drastically under-utilised in the county, despite Wiltshire Council identifying 985 dwellings in the Marlborough area that have inadequate heating and insulation.

This makes them more vulnerable to rising energy costs, creating fuel poverty if more than 10 per cent of the household income is spent on energy.

Members of Transition Marlborough set up a meeting with town councillors, a local tenant, Wiltshire Council’s SEACS energy ambassadors and Aster Housing Association's energy and asset manager officers, which produced some startling statistics.

They discovered that of Aster’s 911 local properties, some 591 have an average SAP energy rating of 55 out of 100, which means that are moderately to highly inefficient, in terms of energy conservation.

As a result of this meeting and Transition Marlborough’s discussions with families in fuel poverty plus investigations of the most appropriate schemes available, a plan is now being prepared by Aster's energy manager and British Gas to take advantage of the CERT funding, before it runs out at the end of December.

And this will result in all of Aster's local tenants considered to be vulnerable, will have the energy efficiency of their homes improved, free of charge.

“This is an amazing breakthrough,” Marlborough town councillor Richard Pitts, who is also a member of Transition Marlborough, told Marlborough News Online.

“People suffering in these austerity times need  help and by involving Aster directly in the process up to 600 homes can be insulated, not only saving an average of £175 per year in energy bills but also by contributing to the government’s greenhouse gas emissions saving target of 293 MtCO2e (Metric Tonne CO2 equivalent).”

He added: “It seems that the CERT funding has not been taken up by individual families because of the lengthy form filling process. So we are delighted that Aster managers have agreed to take on this task here in Marlborough, so that we can take advantage of the help that is on hand for those in serious need.

“And that is very much thanks to the determination and effort of Dr Sam Page and the Marlborough Transition group in seeking ways to provide help and support to those under the cosh of rising energy bills.”

Members of Transition Marlborough will be displaying information about the CERT scheme, the Warm and Well Scheme and the Warm Home Discount Scheme, along with free draught-busting kits at Sunday’s communities market in Marlborough High Street.

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