Forest of Dean District Council wins award for vital work supporting low income and vulnerable households to reduce energy costs
The Forest of Dean District Council’s flagship fuel poverty support service - Warm and Well - has taken first place in the Vulnerable Customer Support category at this year’s West Midlands Energy Efficiency Awards while the Council has been commended for its investment in energy efficiency across the district.
The Council was recognised by industry professionals and peers at the West Midlands Energy Efficiency Awards for its impactful work supporting local communities and households to be more energy efficient, for the priority it gives to supporting those living in fuel poverty, as well as the high level of expertise the Council has within its team.
In addition to a well-earned commendation in the Local Authority of the Year category, the Council’s Warm and Well programme - delivered by local sustainability charity Severn Wye Energy Agency - was named Vulnerable Customer Support programme of the Year.
In the last nine months of 2021 alone, Warm and Well has supported 364 households in the Forest of Dean, bringing in almost £500,000 to the district to improve the energy efficiency of residents’ properties. The Forest of Dean had the highest level of fuel poverty in Gloucestershire – even before the energy crisis – with many homes of non-traditional construction, or still relying on solid fuels for heat. With this award, the Council has been recognised for its investment in tackling this issue and its efforts to transform some of these hardest-to-heat properties in its district.
Councillor Chris McFarling, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency at Forest of Dean Council, said: "It’s fantastic to see the Council acknowledged for the impact its energy efficiency and fuel poverty projects have had in local communities right here in the Forest. This isn’t just an award, it’s recognition of the effect our work is having on the quality of life of our residents – especially at a time where energy bills and climate anxiety are so important.”
The Council has growing ambitions to support even more people across the region to become more resilient to these rising energy prices. In recent months, the Council has worked with Severn Wye to offer free energy efficiency surveys to local landlords, to bring their properties up to the necessary Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings to meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.
This work should reduce tenants’ bills, improve their quality of life and help towards lowering the district’s carbon emissions. Dozens of private landlords have already responded to this offer, so the Council has extended the opportunity to benefit even more private rentals.
From this month, a significant grant fund will open to applications that will see the Council deliver an even greater range of energy efficiency upgrades to the district’s least efficient homes. The grant funding of almost £5 million will improve 100 urban and 200 rural homes across the county.
Forest of Dean Communications Team
Notes to editors
The Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire home energy advice programme, Warm and Well, is delivered by Severn Wye Energy Agency on behalf of Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean District Council, Gloucester City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Stroud District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council.