HUNDREDS of homes across the Wellington and Wiveliscombe areas could benefit from a new project to help make them warmer and cheaper to heat.

The scheme has been designed to improve neighbourhoods with a large proportion of council-owned homes.

The Neighbourhood Energy Efficiency Project will launch on Thursday and is being delivered over the next four years in partnership with energy firm E.ON and its installer JJ Crump.

Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) has secured £20 million of energy company obligation (ECO) funding to upgrade the least energy efficient homes across the district.

The range of efficiency measures could include external wall, cavity wall, and loft insulation, solar photovoltaics, air source heat pumps, first-time central heating, and smart heating controls.

Eligible households within the first project area will receive letters from Thursday explaining how to be involved.

SWT housing portfolio holder Cllr Fran Smith said: “With the recent energy price increases, there has never been a better time to assess our housing stock with a view to rolling out an energy efficiency programme.

“Not only will it help residents feel the benefits of a warmer home, but it will also help cut the amount of energy used to stay warm, as well as reducing carbon emissions.

“The scheme will be rolled out to neighbourhoods in phases.

“Phase one will look at hard-to-treat properties in the TA1 area which have yet to benefit from insulation improvements.

SWT council housing homes energy efficiency Wellington
Somerset West and Taunton Council properties which could benefit from a new energy scheme. ( )

“In conjunction with the neighbourhood projects, we will review existing insulation levels within our housing stock to determine whether these can also be improved.

“Any measures identified will be installed by JJ Crump and will go a long way towards helping people reduce their energy consumption.”

The team behind the projects will continue to identify subsequent neighbourhoods which could benefit from energy efficiency upgrades and once a project has been completed, the team will move on to the next pre-agreed area.

Although the neighbourhood scheme will focus on council housing, a county-wide scheme administered by The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) will also be available for private homes which meet the qualifying criteria for owners to self-refer.

SWT climate change portfolio holder Cllr Dixie Darch said: “Improving energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions in our council homes is an important action in our carbon neutrality and climate resilience plan.

“Given the rise in energy prices, fuel poverty is also a huge challenge and people living in the least energy-efficient homes often suffer from reduced household income.

“This project therefore brings dual benefits.

“This is a great initiative that will benefit both social and private households, and our alliance with E.ON and JJ Crump means that thousands of people can look forward to living in warmer homes with reduced energy usage, more disposable income, and, ultimately, better health.”

Details of the CSE scheme are available by visiting SWT’s saving energy webpage.