Housing Minister Nelson McCausland has visited one of the Affordable Warmth scheme pilot teams in Cookstown.
The Affordable Warmth pilots are currently underway in two areas in Northern Ireland. The first one is in Mid Ulster council cluster of Cookstown, Magherafelt and Dungannon and the second one in Newtownabbey Borough Council. The pilots involve a team of Project Officers calling at people’s homes to complete surveys to see if they qualify for energy efficiency improvement measures.
During his visit to the Mid Ulster cluster team, the Minister said: “Tackling fuel poverty is a key priority for the Northern Ireland Executive and my Department. The Affordable Warmth pilot is a unique approach delivering energy efficiency improvements to homes in small concentrated areas using a targeting tool which has been developed by the University of Ulster. This targeting tool identifies those homes most at risk of fuel poverty.
“The pilot schemes in Mid Ulster and Newtownabbey have been a success. The pilot will offer energy efficiency measures and energy advice to over 1,200 householders and has created employment and experience for nine environmental science graduates who are carrying out the surveys.”
He added: “Having met the project officers and team co-ordinator involved in the Mid Ulster pilot, I was very impressed with their dedication and enthusiasm. Project officers have carried out almost 1,100 surveys so far and are well on target, having called with hundreds of householders to date in both these areas to achieve this impressive success rate.
“The results of this pilot project will shape the Department’s future approach to tackling fuel poverty and improving the energy efficiency of low income households.”
The Department for Social Development is working in partnership with the councils involved and the local Housing Executive offices to target and deliver energy efficiency improvements to households most affected by fuel poverty in the area.
Householders in the two pilot areas can find out more information on the Affordable Warmth scheme by contacting the following numbers: 028 86762205 for the Mid-Ulster Pilot and 028 90340140 for the Newtownabbey pilot.
Notes to Editors:
1. Photos can be viewed later today on the DSD Flickr page at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/niexecutive/collections/72157626632064777/