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Castlereagh tops Economy 7 list

Castlereagh has the largest number of homes still fitted with Economy 7 heating it has emerged.

Currently the local borough has 1,088 homes still reliant on the electric tariff-based heating system, the most in any part of Northern Ireland.

The figures were revealed by Margaret Ritchie, the Minister for Social Development, following a question in the Assembly from Daithi McKay, MLA for north Antrim.

However it is unlikely this number will be significantly reduced until at least 2014.

Speaking to The CT, a spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: “Funding for the heating installation programme has been reduced in recent years, and it is likely that this objective will not be achieved until 2014.”

Across Belfast, Castlereagh has over 200 more homes using the old systems than north Belfast, second on the list with 862 homes.

While west Belfast has 471, east has 473 and south Belfast has 390 homes still relying on Economy 7.

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Castlereagh Councillor Michael Copeland said he was “outraged” by the figures, adding Economy 7 is the most common problem he is approached about.

“One of the most constantly raised issues of Housing Executive tenants is the problem with Economy 7,” he said.

“The systems are old. They are expensive to run and expensive to maintain.

“Castlereagh needs funding made available to fix this problem.”

A spokesperson for the Housing Executive added: “The Housing Executive remains committed to achieving decent homes standard for all its properties.

“Although less than 2 percent of the Housing Executive stock fails the decent homes standard in terms of unfitness and disrepair, 14 percent of Housing Executive homes still lack programmable heating systems.”

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